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The Big "Are My Grades Good Enough for Cambridge?" Thread (Mk1)

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    Hi, I'am a prospective applicant to Peterhouse Cambridge. After expressing a strong interest in applying and gaining the backing of my headmaster I have decided to try for a place.

    However I'am hesitant due to my AS grades.
    Economics -A (Paper 1 100%) (Paper 2 88%)
    French -A (uncertain regarding individual results, but I have been led to believe this was a strong A)
    English A (Paper 1 82%) (Paper 2 93 %)
    History B (Paper 1 98%) (Paper 2 Grade E)

    Considering I want to apply for History do you think the B is a serious obstacle when judged in the light of my other results? My AS were the best in my year.
    My school has no history of sending boys to Cambridge and I'am the youngest pupil in the Upper 6th.
    In addition, if you think I should apply what advice would you give?

    Thanks and I would really appreciate your honesty.

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    (Original post by LZ_Dan)
    Hey all, I wish to apply to Cambridge for a course in Law but I'm concerned that my grades may not be good enough to get in, I've just concluded my GCSE's but I'm about to study for my A-levels, the subjects I'm planning to take are English Lang, Sociology, History and Psychology

    These were my GCSE results:

    Religious Studies - A
    English Language - B
    English Literature - B
    Mathematics - B
    French - B
    Science (year 10) - B
    Geography - C
    Business Studies - C
    ICT - C
    Science (year 11) - C

    If I do well enough in my A-levels and get all A's (and even the new A*) Would it be possible for me to get accepted into Cambridge? Also would it be reccomended that I get some work experience within various Law firms to show my interest in the subject? And finally, wouldCambridge dislike it if I retake the examinations for the GCSE subjects that I didn't do so well in?

    Thanks a ton!
    Obviously your AS grades and A2 predictions are really a lot more important than GCSE, so it is certainly something for you to aim for. If you've got strong predictions and results in sixth form and you really want to go for it - the worst that can happen is they say no.. and you'll never know if you don't try. You may be put at a disadvantage because you don't have any A*s at GCSE and I have heard of people being rejected based on GCSE grades... but I don't know how likely this is and I don't know what they think about GCSE retakes.
    You may want to pick some stronger AS subjects for Cambridge Law though? History is obviously a great option.. they do seem to prefer English Literature or Lang and Lit to pure Language, and whilst Sociology and Psychology aren't the weakest subjects, there are certainly stronger options available... economics? a language? maths? a science?
    That's my just my opinion though, and you should most certainly do subjects you feel you will achieve the best in :o:
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    (Original post by giorgioncgs)

    Hi, I'am a prospective applicant to Peterhouse Cambridge. After expressing a strong interest in applying and gaining the backing of my headmaster I have decided to try for a place.

    However I'am hesitant due to my AS grades.
    Economics -A (Paper 1 100%) (Paper 2 88%)
    French -A (uncertain regarding individual results, but I have been led to believe this was a strong A)
    English A (Paper 1 82%) (Paper 2 93 %)
    History B (Paper 1 98%) (Paper 2 Grade E)

    Considering I want to apply for History do you think the B is a serious obstacle when judged in the light of my other results? My AS were the best in my year.
    My school has no history of sending boys to Cambridge and I'am the youngest pupil in the Upper 6th.
    In addition, if you think I should apply what advice would you give?

    Thanks and I would really appreciate your honesty.

    Congratulations on your results!
    It isn't so much the B in History but the fact that Cambridge can see you individual module results, and you got an E in one of your History modules, which is the most relevant subject. They may ask for an explanation as to why it went so wrong... clearly you're a good candidate when you got 98% in the other module. If you have a good reason, your other results are certainly good enough to apply imo :yep:
    Obviously other things are taken into account as well... personal statement, your school (which from your description may weigh in your favour), your school reference, your GCSE grades, your interview etc.
    Basically... if you want to go to Cambridge, give it a shot: it's only one of your choices and you won't know until you apply
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    (Original post by becbec :))
    Congratulations on your results!
    It isn't so much the B in History but the fact that Cambridge can see you individual module results, and you got an E in one of your History modules, which is the most relevant subject. They may ask for an explanation as to why it went so wrong... clearly you're a good candidate when you got 98% in the other module. If you have a good reason, your other results are certainly good enough to apply imo :yep:
    Obviously other things are taken into account as well... personal statement, your school (which from your description may weigh in your favour), your school reference, your GCSE grades, your interview etc.
    Basically... if you want to go to Cambridge, give it a shot: it's only one of your choices and you won't know until you apply
    Thank you for your prompt reply. I will be ressitting the 2nd paper unsurprisingly. I have other things working in my favour e.g Dofe Bronze, Silver, Gold, Junior Head Boy, Deputy Head Boy, School Councillor, Young Enterprise, Lessons from Aushwitz project and a completion of a course in leadership at the Duke of York Royal military school.
    Also, I believe they interview most applicants. Given this and my belief in the quality of the personal statement I have produced, I'am hopeful of an interview. I also got a very strong A* in Gcse History. I hope they will pick up on this. However I'am not very sure why paper 2 went so wrong. All results in our set for this module were low.
    I'am also trying to read around the subject and I'am getting extra lessons of my headmaster. And your right, better to have tried and failed than to have never of tryed.
    Thanks and good luck with your applications!
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    (Original post by becbec :))
    Congratulations on your results!
    It isn't so much the B in History but the fact that Cambridge can see you individual module results, and you got an E in one of your History modules, which is the most relevant subject. They may ask for an explanation as to why it went so wrong... clearly you're a good candidate when you got 98% in the other module. If you have a good reason, your other results are certainly good enough to apply imo :yep:
    Obviously other things are taken into account as well... personal statement, your school (which from your description may weigh in your favour), your school reference, your GCSE grades, your interview etc.
    Basically... if you want to go to Cambridge, give it a shot: it's only one of your choices and you won't know until you apply
    Where are you applying out of interest and what for?
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    (Original post by giorgioncgs)
    Where are you applying out of interest and what for?
    It's in my sig... Law at Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Durham and Kings College London. Not sure what order I rank them all in yet... I'll see if I get offered places before I decide where is my favourite :rolleyes:
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    Thanks for what you said Becbec, but its too late for me to change my A level options, I start on Monday. xD

    I'll still try to find more info on retakes but thanks a bunch. Just gotta hope they'll give me a chance

    I might try to do one of those "A-level at home" courses though, it couldn't hurt trying to get another qualification in there.
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    (Original post by LZ_Dan)
    Thanks for what you said Becbec, but its too late for me to change my A level options, I start on Monday. xD

    I'll still try to find more info on retakes but thanks a bunch. Just gotta hope they'll give me a chance

    I might try to do one of those "A-level at home" courses though, it couldn't hurt trying to get another qualification in there.
    Okay .. we had people changing at our college until October half term though if you do wish to change.
    And you're right.. if you feel up to doing another one, it'd do no harm at all in having another qualification :yep:
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    (Original post by win2kpro)
    Hey, im thinking of applying to either Cambridge or Oxford for medicine, I have been to Cambridge but not to Oxford yet, will be going on the 18th, and therefor I thought I'd ask what my chances are at Cambridge, now obviously there is no machine to calculate this, but an answer of : "Yes you have a chance/ No you dont " would be fine .

    Basicaly, I came from Holland and started my year 10 halfway through march, so I did my Gcse's in a year and a few months. For my Gcse's I got the following: 2A*'s 5A's 4B's and 1D, The D was due to me being ill on the day of the exam, with an A in maths, and double science, only a B in English. ( I was learning english as I was doing my gcse's ).

    I got my AS results and they were alright:

    Maths: 276/300




    Thanks for any advice given
    Yes you have a chance - but think VERY carefully about medicine at cambridge (or Oxford) They are the best two Unis in UK but not necessarily for medicine. The GMC are very against the traditional courses they offer - they both proclaim that their aim is to produce 'medical scientists' the GMC wants courses that focus on medical Practitioners. They both have introduced more patient contact in Years 1 & 2 - but it is minimal - you are not going to be studying clinical medicine until year 4. Remember that the course is 6 years - you have to do a 'regular' degree in Year 3. Your clinical medicine is most likely to be in your original choice of Uni although it is possible to swap between Oxbridge unis and both swap with some London medical schools. If you want to be a patient based Doctor - you will have to think very carefully - if you want to go into research Oxbridge is for you. remember that the extra year which going to oxbridge entails can be very expensive - especially if you have to pay full tuition fees - few LEA's are going to fund such years. they will ask about the D. If you want the experience of Oxbridge - go for it - the figures for entry to medicine aren't bad - if you want a good medical training go elsewhere- your choice - remember you have 4 choices - almost anywhere will ask for at least 2 A's - Cambridge will ask for 3 with an A* in chemistry - and the Bmat exam - Gonville and C's takes most medics - don't try and impress with false reading lists and make sure you have some medical placements to talk about - no medical school will really consider you without. Good luck
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    Hi what constitutes as good GCSE grades for Oxbridge Medicine because I don't know how good they are.

    Maths:A*
    Triple Science: A* A* A*
    English Language:A
    English Literature:A
    ICT:A
    Business STudies:A
    French:A
    Drama:B
    History:A

    Any good advice is welcome (no negative comments)
    Also I would appreciate it if someone could tell me what grades are likely to impress Oxbridge: Medicine admission tutors in regards to UMS marks in Chemistry,Biology, Mathematics and Economics.

    Thanks
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    Are you from a state school?

    Your grades are average, maybe slightly below.

    90%s are competitive. A couple below shouldn't be a big problem.
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    I have the misfortune of being at a grammar school and yes I think I know I did badly I could've done better. Could've, would've, should've makes no difference.

    (sigh) and I take it below average is bad therefore what must I do to compensate for this in regards to getting my application on equal or better footing with the other applicants. Success rate is slim!!!!
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    Don't diss grammars. :0

    Just try hard for AS. Get four 90%s and it should compensate.
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    (Original post by praneesh)
    I have the misfortune of being at a grammar school and yes I think I know I did badly I could've done better. Could've, would've, should've makes no difference.

    (sigh) and I take it below average is bad therefore what must I do to compensate for this in regards to getting my application on equal or better footing with the other applicants. Success rate is slim!!!!
    The average Oxbridge applicant is rejected. That's the truth.

    You can get in with worse GCSEs (I did). You can be rejected with better (a friend was).

    As for what to do. Get good AS grades, write the best PS you can, get a good reference (work hard and diligently, read outside the course), develop an interest in your subject and an ability to talk intelligently about it. Hope you get an interview, and try to impress them there.

    These days, you'll ideally be wanting A*s, or 90%+ UMS scores, but exceptions are always the rule.
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    Thankyou that was indeed sound advice! Yeah its my first day at sixth form and I think I'm going to work very hard this year; especially as the gcse results gave me a kick up the **** and also because I now study subjects I both enjoy and have a desire to succeed in.

    Thanks for the advice again

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    Hi,
    I want to apply for cambridge to read natural sciences (biological) but I am still open to studying at oxford also.

    I got 6A*s 4As at GCSE. Not too bad.

    But at AS I did terrible.
    Chemistry- A
    Biology - A
    Physics - A
    Maths - C (Core 1 81%, Core 2 74%, Mechanics 1 44% )

    I plan on retaking all those modules again in January 2010 but it will be too late for cambridge to know so have I just ruined my chances of getting in?

    Any advice would be really useful now, thank you

    btw. I dont really have an excuse at to why I messed up, i wasnt ill, I have no problems.
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    (Original post by Virgil)
    Maths - C (Core 1 81%, Core 2 74%, Mechanics 1 44% )

    I plan on retaking all those modules again in January 2010 but it will be too late for cambridge to know so have I just ruined my chances of getting in?
    I wouldn't apply to Cambridge this year with those Maths marks - your chances would be slim to none.
    If you really want to study Bio NatSci I'd take a gap year (and do something useful in it) and reapply in the next cycle.
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    Would there be any point in thinking about oxford instead? or are my chances just as slim?
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    (Original post by Virgil)
    Would there be any point in thinking about oxford instead? or are my chances just as slim?
    There is some point in thinking about Oxford, provided that you can still hide your AS grades from UCAS by not certificating them ("cashing them in"). If you can still do that then they'll only have your GCSEs (which are good) and your predicted grades (which I assume will be OK) to go on grades-wise, and so you'll have some chance.
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    Is it still possible to do that these days or has the system changed?
Updated: August 16, 2012
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