How to Use Advanced Problem Solving

Stage: 5
The STEP prep resources are designed to take you from being a keen mathematics student without much experience in answering STEP questions to being a confident mathematician capable of passing STEP with flying colours and making the transition to studying mathematics at a top university.

If you have come to this page as a Year 12 student, you're in a great position - past STEP candidates often say they wish they'd started their preparation earlier. The early modules of this collection are designed to ease you into problem solving and teach you new mathematical techniques, and should be accessible to anyone who has done the first year of their A levels, or equivalent. Don't worry if you're a little closer to sitting the STEP exams when you start your preparation though - it just means that you might need to work through the modules a little more quickly.

The STEP prep modules consist of a brief explanation of the contents of the module, and then a small selection of resources. These usually consist of an article explaining some mathematics or offering some problem-solving advice, together with a variety of activities including short problems, in-depth investigations and suggested past STEP questions on a particular theme.

It is important to begin your STEP preparation by consolidating your mathematical knowledge and building your fluency and speed, so even if a problem seems straightforward, it's worth working through! As the year goes on, you may find the difficulty level of the problems will increase, so that by the summer, you will be well prepared to tackle full STEP questions.

 We suggest that you get a folder to file your STEP prep work in, so that you can easily look back on your work. Work through the modules at your own pace; our suggestion is one module per fortnight. It is a good idea to look back on earlier modules every few weeks to remind yourself of what you've already learned. This can be a great confidence boost too, as you look back and see how much you've achieved!
Keep aside two or three recent years' STEP papers to use as timed tests for yourself in the weeks immediately before your exams. 

In addition to this general advice, each module will contain lots of helpful tips to help you to become a stronger and more confident mathematician. All that remains to be said here is good luck!