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The official UCL am I good enough / GCSE freak out thread

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Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
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    Honestly, no one knows :/ Part of it is just luck. English is crazy competitive at UCL so you just have to make sure you have a very strong personal statement (as well as getting good grades) and hope for the best.
    Right now though, you don't even have your AS grades yet so it's even harder to say whether or not you have a chance. Concentrate on your exams for now.

    You have 5 options on UCAS after all, so if you want to aim for UCL apply anyway, and have at least 2 other options with requirements you are confident with
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    (Original post by gracemay)
    Well thats not promising :/ If it helps, I go to a grammar school that gets a lot of people in to Oxford and Cambridge every year?
    The fact that you go to a grammar school will probably adversely affect your application with grades like that to be honest, if you went to a sub-standard state school perhaps they'd give you contextual factors. Sorry to break it to you, but for English, I really don't think you'd have a chance.
    school matters to the extent that often universities look at how good your school is when looking at your GCSEs so going to a really good school and having poor GCSEs won't look good
    I disagree with what the other people have posted in this thread, and agree with Gales, tgarrud and tehforum. UCL will have a document showing the stats of your school, with things like average GCSE results, A levels etc, and will look at this when reviewing your application/have it in front of them when they interview you. Unfortunately, because you go to a grammar school, your school will look good on paper, which makes your GCSE grades seem low/ not very good in comparison. If lots of people are getting A*s at GCSEs, do you see how your GCSE results will make you seem poor in comparison. They will ask, why is it that you go to such a good school, yet cannot achieve high grades like everybody else. They will question your academic ability.

    Obviously there is all that stuff about "it all depends on the person", "have a good personal statement", "good reference", "I know a friend who got x GCSEs and y AS grades and got in for z subject at UCL", etc etc, but Gracemay I'm sure you know that already.

    I think it is certainly possible for you to get into UCL, but it depends. If your GCSEs are reflective of how good a student you are, then sadly, as others in this thread have pointed out, it will be unlikely for you to get into UCL to study english, because it is such a competitive subject at UCL. However, I think that if you can demonstrate to your teachers that your achieved GCSE grades were sub-standard (getting good AS grades is a given, but also doing other stuff to show them you underperformed during GCSEs), and get them to clearly state on your reference something about how you didn't perform as well as expected in your GCSEs, then provided you get good AS grades, you have a good shot of getting into UCL.

    If it is clear to UCL that your GCSEs were a blip, then they won't discriminate against you because you have low GCSEs. They will look at your AS grades and go, "okay, these grades are reflective of this student's ability". As long as your AS grades are as good as the other applicants, then they will treat you the same as everyone else. Obviously getting straight As or AAAB will be needed to make a competitive application to UCL, but you will also need a good personal statement (I'm not sure how much UCL looks at your personal statement, maybe some other people on TSR can help you with that), good interview performance, and good reference, to differentiate you from other applicants.

    English at UCL is pretty competitive so I think you may struggle with those GCSE grades. You'd have to compensate with high UMS at AS and impressive A2 predictions (probably A*AA+) to stand a chance.
    Another thing that will help put a lot less weight on your GCSEs, and make you far more competitive, is getting high UMS scores at AS. Since an A grade is anything over 80%, if you were to score say 94% in english AS, and this was mentioned on your reference, this would make you seem a lot better than an applicant with say 5 A*s 5 As, and AAAA at AS. Your getting a high UMS score in english AS, is more important than higher GCSEs with lower AS scores.

    One last thing, the UCL application procedure is as follows
    Selected UK-based candidates, whose UCAS applications meet our entry criteria and include a strong personal statement, will be invited to interview with two members of staff. After the interview you will be asked to write a critical commentary on an unseen passage of prose or verse.
    If you can perform well in this interview and critical commentary, this is all the more reason why they might not necessarily put a lot of weight on your school grades. It is far more important to perform well in these admissions criteria set by UCL themselves, than it is to get amazingly high GCSE grades at school.

    Sure you can apply to UCL, and hope you get lucky, and its only one of your five uni choices afterall, but the harsh reality is this. I think if you do not get at least ABBB, and get predicted AAA (which is the entry requirement for english at UCL), then it will not be worth applying to UCL. You are very unlikely to even get an interview, and even if you do, you will look very weak compared to the other applicants who have stronger grades than you, and it will be extremely difficult to get an offer.
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    (Original post by SleepySheep)
    I got 9 A*s and an A at GCSE and A*A*Aaa at A level (same as my predicted A level grades) and I was rejected for English. My interview was appallingly bad though, and my reference was very average. It depends on a lot of things, so don't give up hope. If you do well at A level, have a good personal statement, a good reference and you don't totally screw up in the interview you have a good chance
    Where are you at now?
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    (Original post by I'mBadAtMaths)
    Where are you at now?
    KCL
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    (Original post by gracemay)
    For my GCSE's, I got:


    Design Technology A
    History A
    English Literature A
    Religious Education A
    Spanish B
    English B
    Maths B
    ASDAN B
    Science (1st Part) B
    Science (2nd Part) C
    Art C

    I am hoping to take English Literature and I am worried that my GCSE grades are not good enough, I was predicted an A* in English but I only completed half the paper, but got near enough full marks and so got a B over all, the two Cs I got were un expected and the A in history should have been an A*. But.. nothing I can do to change them now.

    For AS I'm taking English Lit (GCSE A) History (GCSE A) Politics (No GCSE, But A in R.E... similar? :P) and Drama (Hopefully the English Lit will be useful, so again, A)

    I got predicted BBBC at Half Term after Christmas, but I'm kind of ignoring the predictions as I am so determined to get As... First Politics paper went well and I will get the result March 7th, so can update you then.

    If I get straight A AS's and straight A A Levels, do I have a chance? I am also applying for Head Girl, have D of E Bronze...

    Is there anything I can do to help my chances? :/

    Thanks in advance!

    I think your chances will only depend on how well you do in AS and A2 - if you work really hard and get As and A*s then it would clearly suggest your worthy to be considered by UCL. My GCSEs weren't that good, but I have been invited to interview at UCL. So you're outside reading, personal statement, and reference can push you're chances up if you really work hard at it. Good luck.
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    No don't bother
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    (Original post by Snowfreeze)
    It won't help, it will actually secretly hinder you, but just a tiny bit. Oxford, Cambridge, UCL and Imperial have been told to let in more applicants from state, non-grammar schools. Somebody from a really rubbish London state school for example when looked at will have a very slight secret advantage (if they have the grades of course), over a student from a decent grammar school.
    Not secret, they make it clear that there is an advantage. Apparently if you get 2 otherwise identical applicants, the one from the worse school would get in first, because they've done well in spite of their school.
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    I applied for Chemistry with 7 A* GCSEs and 3 A-grade GCSEs, four A's at AS and predicted A*AA at A2. I got an offer, but I think that was largely due to my personal statement and reference too, because they were pretty good if I say so myself, there were people on my interview day with a prediction of ABB at A-Level...

    I don't know about English, but in Chem they have a really broad range of entry requirements, it's like AAA-BBB or something, because 'everybody is an individual', so if the subjects across the university work in the same way, then they won't care so much about your grades as about other factors - passion, determination, ability to adapt etc etc.

    UCL recognises that degrees are a different style of learning to what you've done before before, that's why they have a broad range... because they don't think what you get at A-Level is representative of how well you could do at degree level.

    What have you got to lose? I suppose you could apply, make it your 'ambitious' choice, and make sure that your other four choices aren't so ambitious! Take the risk, it might pay off if you show how much you want it
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    Not sure if this will help for undergraduate but I got into UCL to do a Masters degree in History with similar GCSEs to yours and four A-Levels at AABB (plus of course 67%+ at degree level History). I know it isn't completely relevant but it may offer a glimmer of hope.

    Whatever anyone says, you still have to try no matter what. You never know what a bit of luck and an excellent Personal Statement might achieve .
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    Put it this way, I was rejected from UCL for English this cycle due to my poor GCSEs (9A 2B) although I know for a fact my reference and PS were excellent (admissions tutor from KCL told me so, that's not me being arrogant even though it sounds it!). I also received offers from Nottingham and QMUL without any predicted grades (yeah, my college doesn't believe in proof reading applications apparently!) so I'm not exactly a poor applicant yet I still got rejected because of GCSEs that I did almost 5 years ago now.

    So I'd be careful, don't pin your hopes on it. Saying that, no one should really when it comes to UCL English, it's very very VERY competitive.

    Edit: If it helps I got AAA at AS with extenuating circumstances with a 92% UMS (?) in English. Again, not bragging just letting you know the circumstances under which I got rejected.

    Good luck!
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    Drama AS is probably going to be more or a problem than your GCSEs to be honest, UCL and other top universities consider it a soft subject.
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    (Original post by gracemay)
    Well thats not promising :/ If it helps, I go to a grammar school that gets a lot of people in to Oxford and Cambridge every year?
    It prob doesn't make a difference, now if you went to a completely rubbish school, but achieved good grades, that would look good
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    I am an aspiring architect,
    I'm currently studying my GCSE's and these are what they look like so far
    English B, Maths C ,Science C, Media B Product Design C Arabic B
    I am also studying:
    English lit, AS photography, Additional Science, Art
    and retaking my Maths to get a B
    For my post 16 studies, I want to study
    A level Art
    A level Maths
    A level History
    A2 Photography

    + EPQ
    I am extremely active extra-curricular wise, I am working towards a bronze Dofe award with the prospect of completing a Dofe silver award also,
    I have been involded with my school rugby and basketball teams as well as regularly training with the Chelsea 'Kickz' footballing scheme, I've also won a young architecture award while in primary education as well as completeing a sculpture course at the saatchi gallery during my last summer break (2011)
    I've had work experience with British airways and Sony computer ent. I am also a keen photographer outside of school.

    Back to my question, my dream is to study architecture at UCL and I was wondering even If I were to meet their AAB requirements for architecture, would my gcse grades hinder my chances since places at UCL are so competitive.

    Sorry for the essay but I would appreciate it if anyone could help me
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    I think it's possible but highly unlikely for architecture. However for a degree in say Fine Arts at UCL I would say is no problem.
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    Its possible, just work hard
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    You GCSES kinda reflect mine, Ive got interviews 3 times this UCAS,lol.......you just need to do well at A-Level and write a good personal statement.
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    For my Edexcel physics 1 I got 94/120 UMS which is a B (2 off an A). I got 94/100 and 78/90 in OCR MEI S1 and OCR A Chemistry F321 respectively (both UMS marks and As), and I was wondering whether my chances of getting into Bristol or UCL or some other top uni will be hampered by my B in this physics unit. I will most likely achieve an A by the end of the AS course but I wanted to know how much of an effect this B will have.

    I fear that now I look like a retard getting a B in the first and easiest unit. I will retake but I've heard some unis only look at the grade you got on your first sitting.

    I am in year 12 and do physics, chemistry, maths and further maths. I work towards 100% in every exam and I really need as many A* predictions as possible for uni applications. Do you think the B will act against me too much? Any help appreciated. Thanks.
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    No you can't, sorry. They only accept 95%+ on your first go. :rolleyes:

    EDIT: People all over the world, join in, on the neg train, the neg train...
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    Are you sure? Where did you get that from?
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    (Original post by uttamo)
    For my Edexcel physics 1 I got 94/120 UMS which is a B (2 off an A). I got 94/100 and 78/90 in OCR MEI S1 and OCR A Chemistry F321 respectively (both UMS marks and As), and I was wondering whether my chances of getting into Bristol or UCL or some other top uni will be hampered by my B in this physics unit. I will most likely achieve an A by the end of the AS course but I wanted to know how much of an effect this B will have.

    I fear that now I look like a retard getting a B in the first and easiest unit. I will retake but I've heard some unis only look at the grade you got on your first sitting.

    I am in year 12 and do physics, chemistry, maths and further maths. I work towards 100% in every exam and I really need as many A* predictions as possible for uni applications. Do you think the B will act against me too much? Any help appreciated. Thanks.
    Oh god, why.

    No, to put it short. I know people with offers to Bristol who got Bs overall. I've an offer to Edinburgh, and I got a b on a module (which I resat, and got 100%, but only found that bit out today) and a c on a chemistry module. However, I just worked hard and got 90% UMS overall in chemistry after AS.

    You're fine, quit worrying! ^_^

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