University and Careers

STEP

Summary

For: Students applying for Mathematics
Used by:  Cambridge and Warwick.
Registration by: n/a.
Test Date: Immediately following A-levels.
Fee: n/a.
Test location: School.

STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) Mathematics is a well-established mathematics examination designed to test candidates on questions that are similar in style to undergraduate mathematics.

STEP is used by the University of Cambridge, the University of Warwick and Imperial College London. Please check the details of your course(s) to confirm if you are required to take STEP as part of the application process. If you are in any doubt, please contact the university directly.

Other universities sometimes ask candidates to take STEP as part of their offer – in such cases, the university can advise on which papers to take.

There are also a number of candidates who sit STEP papers as a challenge.

STEP test format

From 2021, STEP 1 will no longer exist and only STEP 2 and STEP 3 will remain.

If you were planning to take STEP 1 as part of your university application, please check with your chosen university to see which alternative option(s) they will accept.

The test consists of up to two 3-hour paper-based examinations: STEP 2 and STEP 3. Candidates are usually required to sit either one or two of the examinations, depending on the requirements of the universities they have applied to.

Graph paper is not needed, as the test requires only sketches, not detailed graphs. There is no longer a formulae booklet for STEP Mathematics examinations.

For more detailed information about the format of STEP, see the 2021 STEP specification.

STEP papers

Paper

Test format

Questions

Timing

STEP Mathematics 2 (9470)

The paper consists of 12 questions.

Candidates choose 6 questions to answer

3 hours

STEP Mathematics 3 (9475)

The paper consists of 12 questions.

Candidates choose 6 questions to answer

3 hours


You are advised to choose no more than six questions to answer, but there’s no restriction on which questions you choose. All questions carry equal marks and your final mark will be based on the six questions for which you gain the highest marks.

Changes to STEP from 2019

The following changes will be implemented for the 2019 examinations:

  • the specifications will be updated to reflect the reforms in A Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics;
  • the number of questions in each paper will decrease.

STEP 1 has now been discontinued.

STEP 2 is based on A Level Mathematics and AS Level Further Mathematics. The paper has 12 questions across three sections: the first contains 8 pure questions, the second contains 2 mechanics questions, and the third contains 2 probability/statistics questions.

STEP 3 is based on A Level Mathematics and A Level Further Mathematics. The paper has 12 questions across three sections: the first contains 8 pure questions, the second contains 2 mechanics questions, and the third contains 2 probability/statistics questions.

The style of the questions will remain unaltered, and most of the STEP questions from previous papers can be used for preparation.

As before, each question will have the maximum mark of 20. In each paper, candidates will be assessed on the six questions best answered; no restriction will be placed on the number of questions that may be attempted from any section and all questions attempted will be marked.

The marking scheme for each question will be designed to reward candidates who make good progress towards a complete solution. Correct answers always receive full marks, whatever the method used.

Questions may test a candidate’s ability to apply mathematical knowledge in novel and unfamiliar ways and will often require knowledge of several different specification topics. Solutions will frequently require insight, ingenuity, persistence and the ability to work through substantial sequences of algebraic manipulation.

STEP dates 2021

DateEvent
15 March 2021STEP registration opens
Centres can register candidates from this date
23 April 2021 at 16:00 (BST)Last date to request modified question papers for STEP
7 May 2021 at 16:00 (BST)STEP registration closes*
Last date to request Access Arrangements for STEP
14 June 2021STEP paper 2 test date**
17 June 2021STEP paper 3 test date**
10 August 2021STEP test results released
16 August 2021 at 17:00 (BST)Last date for Results Enquiries

Please note: we reserve the right to make changes to these dates.

*If the registration deadline falls on a public or national holiday, please be aware there is no extension to the registration period. Therefore, you must ensure your centre registers you for the test in good time.

**In the UK, the test will take place in the morning. For international centres the scheduled start times will vary, depending upon where they are in the world.

STEP costs 2021

CostDescription
£90
Registration fee per STEP paper (UK only)
£125/€145/$173
Registration fee per STEP paper (outside the UK)
£44/€57/$66
Application for Results Enquiries (per paper)
£44/€57/$66
Application for Appeal (per paper)

How to register for STEP

You need to be registered as a candidate by a test centre (you cannot register yourself for the test).

You must take the test at a centre that is authorised to run Admissions Testing tests (for most candidates this is their own school or college). Check with your Exams Officer if your school or college is already registered as a centre that can run our tests.

If you are not able to take the test at school or college, you need to find an authorised open test centre where you can take the test.

If your school or college is not already registered as a centre, they can apply to become a test centre.

If you cannot find a test centre within reasonable travelling distance of your home town, please read our Support Site article.

Follow these steps:

Please ask the Exams Officer at your school/college/test centre to register you and give you your candidate entry number as proof that your registration is complete.

You must provide your centre with the following information:
  • your name, gender, date of birth and UCAS number exactly as they have been entered on your UCAS application
  • the name of your university/ies, course/s and course code/s
  • details of any access arrangements you require, along with the evidence to support your request.


Courses requiring STEP

Candidates intending to apply for entry to one of the following universities and courses listed may be required to take STEP Mathematics as part of an offer:

UniversityCourse name
University of Cambridge (C05)Step is used as part of almost all conditional offers in Mathematics:

Mathematics (G100 BA/Math)
Computer Science with Mathematics (G400 BA/CS)
Mathematics with Physics (G100 BA/Math)

Some colleges may use STEP for other courses:

Chemical Engineering via Engineering (H810 MEng/CEE)
Economics (L100 BA/Econ)
Engineering (H100 MEng/E)
Natural Sciences (BCF0 BA/NS)
See www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/entrance-requirements/step
for more information.

University of Warwick (W20)The following courses may require candidates to sit one or more STEP papers:

Mathematics (G100)
Mathematics (MMATH) (G103)
Mathematics and Business Studies (G1NC)
Mathematics and Economics (GL11)
Mathematics and Philosophy (GV15)
Mathematics and Statistics (GG13)
Mathematics and Statistics (MMathStat) (GGC3)
MMORSE (Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics) (G0L0)
MORSE (Mathematics, Operational Research, Statistics and Economics) (GLN0)

Data Science (Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science) (7G73)
See www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/maths/admissions/ug/offer and www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/statistics/courses/offer for more information.

The following universities encourage applicants to take STEP papers for their Mathematics courses.  Doing so may count towards the entry requirements:

Note that the University of Oxford uses the Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT) but states: 'Whilst STEP papers are in no sense part of Oxford's entry requirements, the University encourages applicants to take these papers'. Imperial College, London also uses the MAT test.

Further information relating to STEP Mathematics can be found here.

STEP scoring and results.