The FMSPW can provide professional learning to support teachers helping students to develop problem-solving skills and to prepare for STEP/AEA/MAT examinations.

What is 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 some universities as the basis for conditional offers.

STEP is available to all and there are also a number of candidates who sit the STEP papers as a challenge. STEP papers are an invaluable source of interesting problems.

The support provided by the FMSPW focuses on students developing deeper problem-solving skills based on the content they already know. MEI provides online courses for STEP, MAT and TMUA.

Find out more about STEP on the Admissions Testing Service website.

Another useful website for past papers and solutions is Meikleriggs.

What is AEA?

First examined in June 2002, the AEA in Mathematics aims to challenge able candidates and help differentiate between the most able candidates.

The AEA in Mathematics is accessible to all able mathematics students, whatever the specification they are studying. The examination is based on the specification for A level Mathematics and so it is not necessary to teach any additional content to prepare a student for AEA mathematics.

The support provided by the FMSPW focuses on students developing deeper problem-solving skills based on the content they already know.

Edexcel AEA Mathematics has now been extended until 2017.

Find out more about AEA Mathematics specification on the Edexcel website.

How to Support Students with STEP/AEA?

For a teacher supporting students to prepare for STEP and AEA examinations it is useful to be able to direct students to appropriate resources.

STEP and AEA questions are longer and less-structured than most A level Mathematics and Further Mathematics examination questions and so students might need some help getting used to this style and gaining confidence to tackle them. Teachers play an important role by modeling how to approach an unstructured problem, offering possible approaches or by simply acting as a sounding board for students to discuss their ideas.

Preparing for STEP and AEA mathematics examinations may provide an opportunity to look again at some mathematical topics in greater depth, identifying links between different areas of the course.

What is MAT?

MAT stands for Mathematics Admission Test and was formerly known as the Oxford Entrance Test for Mathematics degrees.

Oxford University and, from September 2013, Imperial College, London require students to take the Mathematics Admissions Test, MAT in addition to their A levels. The MAT is taken in November (of year 13) and the results are used to select candidates to invite for interviews at the universities.

For further information visit the Mathematics Admissions Test website, where you can obtain materials to practise for the test.

Online preparation course for MAT

In September 2016 MEI and the FMSPW are running a series of online sessions to help support students in their preparation for the MAT. This course is designed to equip students, with at least an AS Level in Mathematics or equivalent, to develop their mathematical thinking and so gain confidence in tackling these questions.

For further information please see the MEI website.

The FMSPW provides a series of teacher and student events to support STEP and AEA mathematics and general problem solving.