University of Cambridge



STEP Prep Summer School

2010 STEP Easter Study School

STEP (the Sixth Term Examination Papers in Mathematics) is used as part of almost all conditional offers for Mathematics at Cambridge. The questions are based on the core A Level Mathematics syllabus material, and are designed to test qualities like insight, originality, and the ability to use standard techniques in unusual ways and situations.

The STEP Prep Summer School is a new initiative to help Year 12 (or equivalent) students who intend to apply to the University to study Maths, and are from non-selective state-maintained schools that offer little or no support for STEP.

The four-day residential Summer School takes place in August, and provides early familiarisation of and preparation for STEP. There are 40 places available and the costs of all accommodation, meals and travel are covered, so it’s free for participants to attend.

The Summer School programme is taught by NRICH team members and assisted by current Cambridge Maths students. The programme is intensive and demanding, and promotes students' development of mathematical skills and understanding that are relevant to the nature of STEP questions There are also social activities offered in the evenings, to allow students to sample life as a university student.

The Summer School is followed by an online course to provide students with ongoing support as they prepare for the STEP exams in year 13.


The residential course programme is delivered at the Centre for Mathematical Sciences, University of Cambridge. Students are accommodated a short walk away at Fitzwilliam College. Each student has their own room. All meals are provided.


Current Year 12 (or equivalent) students who intend to apply to the University of Cambridge in October 2014 to study Mathematics are invited to apply for the Maths STEP Prep Summer School. Only applications from students at non-selective UK state-maintained schools and colleges that offer little or no support for STEP can be considered.

We particularly encourage applications from students who meet some or all of the following criteria:

  • will be the first generation in their family to attend university
  • attend a school or college with low overall progression to Cambridge
  • come from a neighbourhood with low overall progression to higher education
  • are (or have been) looked after, accommodated or in care

In addition to the above criteria, applicants are assessed on evidence of outstanding academic potential, a reference from their Maths teacher and their own statement of interest.

Please be aware that a maximum of one applicant per school or college can be awarded a place.

Application Process

Applications for the 2014 STEP Prep Summer School open on 9 January 2014. Students must complete and submit the online application form by 4pm on 14 March 2014.

In addition, each applicant’s Maths teacher must complete and submit an online reference form by 4pm on 21 March 2014. If an applicant's accompanying teacher reference is not submitted by the deadline it will not be possible to consider them.

We don’t review any applications until after the deadline has passed, and students will be informed of the outcome of their application by email.

Students are able to apply for both the Maths STEP Prep Summer School and the Sutton Trust Summer School in Mathematics if they wish to, as both initiatives are for Year 12 students from UK state-maintained schools. However, applicants can only be selected for one initiative.