Cantilever beams with thickness discontinuity and subjected to an impulse load at a point have been analysed. The beam element with two degrees of freedom per node is used for the analysis. Three beam models are analysed for possible reduction of maximum displacement and maximum stress by choosing the discontinuity at different locations. Numerical results are presented for various step-ratios in the thickness. The weight of the beam is kept constant for various step-ratios. It has been shown that the maximum displacement and maximum stress decrease up to a step-ratio of two for certain type of thickness variations presented in this paper. © 1994.