About STEP

Student smiling. Photography: Stephen Bond.

About the Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP)

The 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.

The STEP is used by the University of Cambridge as the basis for conditional offers. Other universities sometimes ask candidates to take the 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 the STEP papers as a challenge.

STEP test format

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

A lined answer booklet and a formula booklet are provided for each paper. Graph paper is not provided, as the test requires only sketches, not detailed graphs.

STEP Specification

STEP papers

Paper

Test format

Questions

Timing

STEP Mathematics I (9465)

The paper consists of 13 questions – 8 Pure Mathematics, 3 Mechanics and 2 Probability and Statistics based on A Level Mathematics content.

Candidates choose 6 questions to answer

3 hours

STEP Mathematics II (9470)

The paper consists of 13 questions – 8 Pure Mathematics, 3 Mechanics and 2 Probability and Statistics based on A Level Mathematics content.

Candidates choose 6 questions to answer

3 hours

STEP Mathematics III (9475)

The paper consists of 13 questions – 8 Pure Mathematics, 3 Mechanics and 2 Probability and Statistics based on A Level Further Mathematics content.

Candidates choose 6 questions to answer

3 hours