STEP tuition

STEP, TMUA, MAT

These are further exams, or tests of mathematical ability, that are required in some universities in England — Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College and others. If not strictly required by your target university, doing the tests is nevertheless worthwhile, as a good pass may help you to obtain a reduced offer on a course which has significant mathematical content, which is to say you may not need the usual number of A level or Advanced Higher passes, or grades, to get on the course.

Other than helping with admission to the college you’d most like to attend the tests are a good preparation for university level maths and so are recommended to all students hoping to do maths at university, regardless of where they intend to study.

The tests build on the content of A level maths and examine a candidate’s problem solving skills. Potential candidates from Scotland who have been doing SQA Higher and Advanced Higher Mathematics will therefore need to look at the topics that can come up in these tests and that are in A level but not in Advanced Higher. You need a high level of motivation to do this, however as your tutor I would help with covering these additional topics.

Whilst problem solving skills cannot strictly speaking be taught it is possible to improve one’s skill by having the correct level of support, ie having someone with whom to discuss strategies, and having someone to provide the encouragement to persevere.

Have a look at the Stephen Siklos book (as a free downloadable pdf) to get a feel for the level of knowledge and problem solving skill required. Or try the UKMT Maclaurin Mathematical Olympiad problems (which I am working my way through at my Maclaurin Mathematical Olympiad problems page).

Do not be put off, you can improve!

29/11/21 — my tutee who sat the TMUA earlier this month received his result today, an overall 7 (7 in Paper 1, 6.9 in Paper 2) which places him in the top 15% of candidates. He has interviews lined up next month at Cambridge and Imperial to read Computer Science.