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AEA, STEP and the Warwick Statistics UG Entrance Prizes (2021 entry)

Please check the Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing for the latest COVID-19 updates regarding STEP examinations. Procedures for 2021 are still being finalised, but it has been decided that STEP 1 will be discontinued.

Students planning on entering the Mathematics and Statistics, MORSE or Data Science degree courses are strongly encouraged to take either AEA or STEP papers, in addition to their A-levels or other qualifications needed to meet our conditional offer. Some reasons for taking such papers:

  • Mathematics at university is more complex than mathematics at school. By preparing for and taking these examinations, you will put yourself in a better position to make a strong start to your degree course. We want to see all of our students succeed!
  • Tackling questions from such papers can be an entirely different experience from solving A-level questions. You typically go through a period of thinking that the question is unsolvable. Take a break and try again the next day.
  • Getting practice in harder questions means that you should find the standard A-level questions easier, so you should also do better in that examination.

It is possible to take the AEA paper in Mathematics and up to two STEP papers.

Advanced Extension Award (AEA)

The Advanced Extension Award in Mathematics is a 3-hour examination paper on the pure mathematics syllabus of the single A level in Mathematics. It contains harder questions than those in the A level mathematics examination. The AEA paper in Mathematics is set by the Edexcel examination board on behalf of all the A-level examination boards. It should be available in all examination centres. Further details about the examination can be found at the AEA web-page. A specimen paper can also be downloaded from the above link.

Preparation for AEA

To help students prepare for the AEA in Mathematics, Warwick Statistics has prepared some extended solutions to past AEA papers. See also the online courses for advanced papers including AEA.

Sixth Term Examination Papers (STEP)

STEP, or Sixth Term Examination Papers, are usually required for admission to the University of Cambridge. STEP papers are set by Cambridge Assessment as explain in their About STEP website. There are three different papers: STEP I, STEP II and STEP III. STEP I is regarded as easier than STEP II, and STEP III requires knowledge of the Further Mathematics syllabus. For specifications and past papers consider the FAQs for test takers.

Preparation for STEP

You want to gain extensive practice in solving mathematical problems. There are many online resources that introduce you to problem solving techniques and that provide practice questions, some with solutions.

Where can I take STEP?

The amount of support offered by schools varies widely. Some offer preparation as well as the sitting the paper, some just the latter, and some are not offering any of this. If your school is unable to help you to enter for STEP, or if you are outside the UK, here is where you can find an examination centre for STEP.


The reasons given above should be enough to convince all of our undergraduate entrants to take either STEP or AEA before they come to Warwick! But as an added incentive, specifically in connection with STEP, Warwick Statistics will give a £2000 prize to each entrant (subject to the conditions below) who achieves a Grade S (Outstanding) in any of STEP I, STEP II or STEP III. Please bring the original copy of your STEP certificate in to the Student Support Office where we will arrange the payment of your prize.

Conditions of these prizes
  1. This offer applies to all students who enter any of the degrees G0L0 MMORSE, GLN0 BSc MORSE, GGC3 MMathStat, GG13 BSc MathStat, G304 MDatSci or 7G73 BSc Data Science in October 2021. They must make the degree their firm choice with UCAS and remain registered on the degree throughout the academic year 2021-2022.
  2. The qualifying Grade S (Outstanding) must be achieved in a STEP examination taken in the summer of 2021.
  3. Only one award per student.
  4. The STEP exams are assessed in the regular (pre-pandemic) way in 2021.