Well pitched STEP Maths Tuition by incredible tutors – a great combination.
I attended the STEP Maths Course this summer after finishing my Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and History AS levels. I was amazed at the broad array of topics we managed to get through in the short space of time of three days. For example, we worked on integer problems where we learnt cool tricks and patterns that occur in numbers that helped us tackle problems really quickly that ordinarily would have taken me hours to solve. From simplification and symmetry-spotting problems, to tackling longer problems where you had to solve the questions case-by-case, we seemed to cover everything, including mechanics and statistics questions that appear at the end of the papers. In particular, the part I found the most interesting was learning about how to use contradictions in proofs, or when to use a counterexample to disprove something. What was also particularly useful was the structural break down of how best to answer each question and how to present our answers to ascertain maximum marks, including specifically what we have to write in words, as I’ve always found the written justifications part of higher level Maths questions somewhat frustrating.
The overall structure of the course was very well organised. Before we started, one of the tutors explained the basics; such as, how long each paper is, how many questions you have to answer, how many marks you need to achieve which grade and which universities want you to achieve what level. The tutors were also very receptive to feedback, asking us for feedback at regular intervals as we went along, which they always took action on straight away.
The STEP Maths Tutors always eased us into the question with a few warm up questions, which I really appreciated, as these preparatory questions definitely made the experience less daunting and made you feel like you could actually do it. We worked on problems as a group initially to get us started, but then would have a go individually and I found I surprised myself by how much I could actually do by myself. We also had a traffic light card system where every so often we held up one of our three red, orange or green cards, to let the tutors know how we were coping. These were great as it meant there was no man left behind, plus you could always put your hand up at any point for individual tuition if you were struggling, as there were three STEP tutors for a small group of us which meant there were plenty of helping hands to go around. On the other hand, if you wanted to move at a faster pace, you could go on ahead, as we were all given these fantastic chronological booklets with lots of questions at the start of the course for us to work through.
All of the STEP Maths tutors were very friendly, patient and approachable and clearly very, very clever! This created a really pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, where you didn’t have to worry about asking as many questions as you wanted to, whenever you needed. At the start of the course we also did some starter ice-breaker activities and had to sit next to someone new every day. This meant that by the end of the course, a lot of us had become really quite good friends, including a few people I have even stayed in touch with, as it was really stimulating to meet so many like-minded people who have similar aspirations.
This three day STEP Maths Crash Course had so much packed into it; it was amazing, I couldn’t believe it. Even though the material was intellectually rather intense at times, it was definitely worthwhile as the knowledge I have gained from the course is certainly rewarding. I am sure that when it comes to university interview questions and problem solving in the future, the skills and techniques I have learnt will definitely be beneficial, way beyond just the STEP exams. Therefore, I am incredibly glad that I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to take part in one of these courses, as I think this level of expertise and tuition is truly rare and hard to find.