Every year/ticket season is different.
In 2012, STEP worked differently. Among the differences, there was a cap on the number of people in the queue. Once the cap number was reached, the gates were closed back up until enough tickets had sold that they felt comfortable letting more people sign up. In that frenzied year, it took only 20 minutes to hit the cap. The flow of tickets into the program also ended up being so slow that the gates were never opened back up for additional people. Kind of ironic, considering that in that year it was raining tickets once August came around. To be fair, STEP was a new thing, and there were a lot of strange dynamics in the year that led to people not making their decisions to go or not until very late in the game.
Regardless of the program changes from year to year, I still think the majority of those in the STEP queue should prepare for a lengthy wait. Most people who are on the fence don't make their decisions about whether they'll keep their tickets and go or sell their tickets and miss this year until late spring or early summer. That wisdom makes some sense (for those who can afford it), unless you're already committed to an ambitious project that still gives you plenty of time to work on preparation if you do go, and deferring the decision gives them time to sort out the other pieces of the puzzle in their lives (living situations, work situations, relationship situations, etc).
@tatonka - as I see it when people ask questions that are already answered in the FAQ what they're really saying is that they're a miserable slacker who can't be bothered to look the info up for themselves, they'd rather that the community do the work. Doubly so when it's someone who already knows where to get the answer.