Results are out! Find what you need...fast. Get quick advice or join the chat
Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free to post

Are my grades good enough for Oxford?

Announcements Posted on
    • Thread Starter
    • 15 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I’m sure many people are getting slightly weary of the constant influx of “Are my GCSE grades good enough??”

    I pick out GCSEs especially because there seems to be a rather simplistic view going around that because Oxford does not ask for AS UMS like Cambridge, they must necessarily put much more emphasis on GCSEs. While it may be true that they have a slightly greater emphasis (slightly being the operative word) I think a lot of applicants forget that GCSEs are only one part of a wealth of information that Oxford receives It would be foolish of them to discount a candidate solely because of a B at GCSE in an unrelated subject, or even a related subject.

    So if you’re slightly worried about GCSE grades then please have a look at this first before making another thread

    Disclaimer: I do not profess to be an expert in all things concerning Oxford admissions, but I think these general points are relatively uncontroversial for people who have gone through the process.

    First question that pops up a lot: What are average GCSE grades of an Oxford student?

    The truth is it probably differs a lot from subject to subject, with anecdotal evidence suggesting anything from 4A*s to 7A*s. The important thing to take away is not one ‘golden number’ of A*s that you need. Don’t worry – the average is not 14+A*s or something like that – though obviously some candidates will have these grades.

    For example, for Medicine, one of the most competitive courses and the course that frequently pops up as an example where GCSEs are important for the application, the average number of GCSEs was 10.45 and the mean proportion of A* grades was 0.91 for successful candidates – so around 9A*s. (Note: average does not mean minimum!)http://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/med...cal/statistics

    I believe that GCSEs for Medicine is a different case than for other subjects in that Oxford explicitly states, “Initial short-listing was based heavily on available GCSE and BMAT data (both quantitative and objective measures)”.


    Things to consider:


    1: How did your school do on average?
    Oxford makes use of contextualised data, so if you performed under the Oxford average but did much better than your peers in your school/local area then this will be taken into account.
    http://www.ox.ac.uk/about_the_univer...tual_data.html

    2: How did you do at AS/A2?
    If you demonstrate a clear upward progression from GCSE to AS then often this balances out the poorer GCSE performance. Oxford would be foolish to see a B in Biology at GCSE and disregard an A at Biology AS.
    I’ve seen several posts asking whether it’s worth retaking an A at GCSE to get an A* - this is very probably not necessary and concentrating on your AS levels rather than getting hung up on one GCSE grade would probably be more productive.

    3: Extenuating circumstances
    If you underperformed due to illness/another valid reason then you should let Oxford know.
    From Oxford’s FAQ:

    “…each application to Oxford is considered carefully on its individual merits, so if you feel that you have not performed, or will not perform, to the best of your ability because of extenuating circumstances, please explain this on your application form. It would be helpful if your academic referee could also mention these circumstances when they write your reference. Tutors would take your personal circumstances in to account, but would need to be confident of your abilities to cope with your degree course.”

    4. Is there an admissions test?
    Another example of the wide variety of data Oxford uses for applications.
    While Oxford doesn’t ask for UMS, they do use their own admissions tests for many subjects, which are better indicators of potential for your subject than the shallow nature of GCSEs.
    http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under..._oxford/tests/
    Good performance on these tests will probably, like upward progression at A level, balance poor GCSE performance.

    5: Do you need to submit written work?
    It’s a bit unclear how important written work is for different subject, but the same principle as above applies – it’s yet another way to impress tutors and to show that you are more than your GCSE grades suggest.

    http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...ork/index.html

    6: The interview

    There’s been a recent thread about the importance of the interview where the general consensus is that it is pretty damn important. A good interview can tip the balance in your favour despite an average paper performance, while a bad interview has been the doom of many people who, on paper, seem ideal. There was a radio documentary last year called “How to get into Oxford” where an English applicant’s feedback noted that he got one of the top marks for ELAT at his college and one of the top scores for his submitted essay, but he ranked near the bottom for interviews and subsequently did not get an offer. This is just one example of Oxford seeing past grades to academic potential and passion for the course.

    Conlusion?
    Before you click that new thread button to ask about that pesky B or C at GCSE – please remember the above factors which are all of considerable importance to admissions. Don’t get too hung up on GCSEs – you don’t need perfect grades to consider applying, far from it. It is true that that many applicants will have amazing grades across their years of secondary education, but that doesn't mean they will automatically get in over you.

    tl;dr: GCSEs aren’t everything, please stop worrying about minute details
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    If I underperformed in my GCSEs which I think I did ( I think I got mostly As) but then in sixth form I got straight As at AS level, would I be disadvantaged at getting offered an oxbridge place. (btw I am taking all of the right subjects for the course I wish to pursue)
    • 3 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Wait until you get your GCSE results, and then think about this again.

    And of course having great GCSEs is a good thing...and of course if you don't have those good GCSEs then you'll have to 'make up' for that 'weakness' in other areas. But all is certainly not lost.

    University offers are based on a variety of factors, and different institutions/admissions tutors put varying emphasis on each. There's no formula, and no guarantees.
    • 5 followers
    Offline

    Oxford place a great deal of emphasis on the idea of "potential", so underperforming slightly at GCSE but going on to do well at A level is not such a bad thing. They obviously take a number of factors into consideration when deciding whether or not to make you an offer, but it can work in your favour, because it shows that you've progressed since taking your GCSEs, and are perhaps more likely to carry on improving during your degree than someone who might have peaked earlier.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    can a mod please close this thread - this subject has been done to DEATH! :rolleyes:

    op - use the search function
    • 3 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    You only gonna get A's?!?!?!?!?!?!

    Jeeez, that is bad.

    But seriously dude, why you complaining?

    You haven't even got your results back yet...
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    inter company- lighten up.

    yeah I see where your coming from modini but unfortunately oxbridge places usualy go to people with high grades.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I would not worry at all, the advice I got from Cambridge, and Oxford, when I applied is that if you did not perform well at GCSE level (and mostly A grades is certainly not underperforming) they are not overly concerned.

    Oxford and Cambridge tend to pay more attention to your AS grades, predictions, and how you did in any of the 'application papers' you have to sit for Law, History, Medicine etc. anyway. They accept that some people 'academically bloom' late and, although constant high academic performance is a good thing, they are more concerned with your performance when you apply and start the course than your performance at GCSE. As long as your GCSE grades are high enough and respectable, the door is not shut to Oxford or Cambridge! This is something that impressed me about their application process in general, where Durham and the LSE tend to just say ‘6 or 7 A*s or you do not get an offer’ it tends to let people in who may not have significantly shown the skills that are required for a degree.

    There is a lot of debate over whether GCSEs are a good indicator of degree performance, but tbh, as qualifications they are nothing of the sort. Yes doing a wide range of topics can be a good test for degree level but looking back on my GCSEs I could just put a ton of statistics, facts, and have a very poor structure on an essay and still do very well. A-level tests both your skills of knowledge and deployment as well as your ability to write well. This is something, I believe, that makes A-level results more useful as an indicator of degree performance than GCSEs. Anyway, sorry for going off topic of Durham's seemingly ignorant and naive application process but I've known a few people this year get turned down due to GCSEs at Durham who were very good candidates!

    My advice would be, if your GCSE results are not outstanding in terms of performance, that you should not write about how good they are in your personal statement or let your teachers brag about them in your reference. I heard a story from Cambridge where a reference included how they were really impressed with the candidate for achieving a string of A and B grades which didn't really go down very well.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by greenwaytph)
    inter company- lighten up.

    yeah I see where your coming from modini but unfortunately oxbridge places usualy go to people with high grades.
    i don't mean to come across an angry but these threads are posted every week - is it that hard to use the search function as the same answers have to be given every single time :rolleyes:
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    and to the OP - you may be disadvantaged as most people who apply with have performed consistently throughout there academic career
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    OP, this is from the Admissions office themselves:

    Candidates who feel that they under-performed at GCSE may be able to compensate for this by demonstrating clear upward progression at AS-level as well as in predicted or achieved A-level scores.
    Can't hurt to try .
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    getting A's in gcse is not that bad .... come on!!!!
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by greenwaytph)
    If I underperformed in my GCSEs which I think I did ( I think I got mostly As) but then in sixth form I got straight As at AS level, would I be disadvantaged at getting offered an oxbridge place. (btw I am taking all of the right subjects for the course I wish to pursue)
    No, your AS results and application are much more important. Make sure that your A-level choices are "strong" so to speak.
    • 99 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by greenwaytph)
    If I underperformed in my GCSEs which I think I did ( I think I got mostly As) but then in sixth form I got straight As at AS level, would I be disadvantaged at getting offered an oxbridge place. (btw I am taking all of the right subjects for the course I wish to pursue)
    I think you're worrying about this far too early, but anyway...

    It would depend on what subject you're thinking of doing (a lack of A* GCSE grades can often be a deciding factor in medicine applications, for example). I don't think there is any official number of A*s required for any Oxbridge course, but applicants for the Sutton Trust summer schools need a minimum of 6 A*s, so that could possibly be interpreted as an indication of what they expect.

    If you get straight As at AS, there's nothing to stop you from trying. People get offers and rejections for a variety of reasons, so you shouldn't let your GCSE grades prevent you from having a go
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    AAB AS results. Can I study Law at Oxford?

    Hi, I don't know how to use this whole system cos ive only just used it, so please bear with me if im doing things wrong

    I got my AS results yesterday and i had:
    A-History
    A-French
    B-English Literature

    My intention this year coming was to apply to study Law at oxford uni and my results have made me doubt my chances as I would have liked to get 3As. Has this put me at much of a disadvantage? And would they ask to see AS results?

    My GCSE results were 3A*s, 5As, 1B. I sat maths a year early and got an A*. I think that as a whole, realistically, my application would look pretty good, but can anyone help me to clarify whether it would be acceptable at somewhere like oxford? I have been putting a lot of effort into getting some background on law to put towards my application to try and boost it; for example, i have been working in Eversheds solicitors firm all of this week to get some work experience. Whether you know of someone in similar circumstances, or you have encountered the same doubts i would REALLY appreciate any feedback.

    I am willing to work as hard as i possibly need to in order to achieve what would be expected of me, and if anyone could give me constructive advice (whether its negative or positive) so long as it is realistic in terms of what im striving for then i would really appreciate it.

    Thank you for giving your time to read this..
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    I'm not saying whether you could or not, but

    A- What college are you looking at?

    B- Check that it doesn't say that the offer would be "AAA plus an A at AS". That would mean you would have had to have done 4 ASs. I cannot remember if Oxford specifies this or just AAA, so check
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Hey, thanks for the reply!
    I'm looking at applying to St Edmund Hall. just out of interest btw, can you only apply to 1 college?
    And as far as Ive seen so far, the requirement is 3As at A level, so I havent seen anything as of yet regarding 4 Ass.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by SonicDwayney)
    AAB AS results. Can I study Law at Oxford?

    Hi, I don't know how to use this whole system cos ive only just used it, so please bear with me if im doing things wrong

    I got my AS results yesterday and i had:
    A-History
    A-French
    B-English Literature

    My intention this year coming was to apply to study Law at oxford uni and my results have made me doubt my chances as I would have liked to get 3As. Has this put me at much of a disadvantage?

    My GCSE results were 3A*s, 5As, 1B. I sat maths a year early and got an A*. I think that as a whole, realistically, my application would look pretty good, but can anyone help me to clarify whether it would be acceptable at somewhere like oxford? I have been putting a lot of effort into getting some background on law to put towards my application to try and boost it; for example, i have been working in Eversheds solicitors firm all of this week to get some work experience. Whether you know of someone in similar circumstances, or you have encountered the same doubts i would REALLY appreciate any feedback.

    I am willing to work as hard as i possibly need to in order to achieve what would be expected of me, and if anyone could give me constructive advice (whether its negative or positive) so long as it is realistic in terms of what im striving for then i would really appreciate it.

    Thank you for giving your time to read this..

    I have two friends who both got into Oxford to study law yesterday with 3A's. One of them got ABB at AS and the other AAB. They had to re-sit a couple of AS units though. So this would suggest you still have a good chance. You will obviously have to be predicted at least 3A's though.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Ah, well I was asking that ou of the remote chance you were applying where I'm intending to, Corpus Christi

    Yes, you can either apply to one, or make an "open application". I would advice against this, a computer assigns you a college, and if you like St Edmunds, stick with it

    However, you may be interviewed by another college on your last day of interviews. This could be for 3 reasons

    Your college has turned you down because they are oversubscibed, but another college has some spare places

    Your college wants a second opinion on you

    You're a good candidate and colleges are competeing for you (generally least likely of the three)

    So although you do apply to one, you could end up going to another (but the choice of the second is out of your control)

    Perhaps email the admissions tutor regarding the 4ASs, just to be sure
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Do i need to submit AS results and would they ask to see AS results?

Reply

Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. By joining you agree to our Ts and Cs, privacy policy and site rules

  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: November 23, 2014
New on TSR

GCSE mocks revision

Talk study tips this weekend

Article updates
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.