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    I am looking to do law at a top university in the future. I am currently studying a levels and just received the results of my first module. I got 3a's in law, sociology and business studies. I received full UMS in one module, 90% in another and 83% in the third. I am going to take a history AS next year which I hope to achieve an A in to give me 3 a levels and an as which gives me a wider choice of unis.

    The catch is, before going to college I did not care about education, my GCSE's are a string of b's and c's and I am currently resitting GCSE maths to boost it up to an A from a C. I sat a levels at my sixth form and received 2 u's and a d, the d was in business and economics which probably worsens the fact I am doing business studies.

    So to bluntly ask, with my non stellar a level choices, poor GCSE results and wasting a year at sixth form last year what are my chances of getting into a good (top 10) uni for law providing I keep up these grades? As more of a secondary question, what are my chances of getting into somewhere like Oxford or Cambridge if I am a very presentable person who can perform well in interviews?
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    Wow, looks like your up for a challenge! However it's not impossible
    By the looks of things, you're doing pretty well so far - in fact extremely well.
    Remember, although you may have screwed up your GCSEs, the maximum they always want is probably a B. So if you want to do law, they may ask for a C in maths and perhaps a B in English. Most universities just want GCSEs to be a C.

    Seeing that you're up for taking more A Levels is a really good advantage, and having the skills to perform well in interviews is one not many people have - so consider yourself lucky!

    Personally, I think you should be fine and its definitely doable! It's better trying and perhaps getting rejected than not trying at all knowing you may have had the chance.

    Don't give up! You're in an awesome position! Good Luck!!!
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    (Original post by Sloppy)
    I am looking to do law at a top university in the future. I am currently studying a levels and just received the results of my first module. I got 3a's in law, sociology and business studies. I received full UMS in one module, 90% in another and 83% in the third. I am going to take a history AS next year which I hope to achieve an A in to give me 3 a levels and an as which gives me a wider choice of unis.

    The catch is, before going to college I did not care about education, my GCSE's are a string of b's and c's and I am currently resitting GCSE maths to boost it up to an A from a C. I sat a levels at my sixth form and received 2 u's and a d, the d was in business and economics which probably worsens the fact I am doing business studies.

    So to bluntly ask, with my non stellar a level choices, poor GCSE results and wasting a year at sixth form last year what are my chances of getting into a good (top 10) uni for law providing I keep up these grades? As more of a secondary question, what are my chances of getting into somewhere like Oxford or Cambridge if I am a very presentable person who can perform well in interviews?
    I think you're going to face an uphill struggle at top 10 unis for law. First, I don't know how seriously they would take a resit of GCSE maths done after already sitting A levels for a year. Secondly, at a number of top unis (Warwick, LSE) your GCSEs would be quite a downside.

    Your GCSEs will be a substantial detriment at Oxford, and possibly at Cambridge as well. The A levels at sixth form are also going to be a hindrance. Law and sociology aren't among the "keystone" courses Cambridge lists in its guide on A level choices:

    If you think you would like to study an arts or social sciences course at university but you are not sure
    which one, then English Literature, History, languages and Mathematics are good ‘keystone’ subjects: choosing one or more of these will provide a good foundation for your subject combination.

    Other good choices to combine these subjects with include: an additional language, Ancient History, Classical Civilisation, Economics, Further Mathematics, Geography, Philosophy, Religious Studies and sciences (Biology, Chemistry or Physics).

    Other possible subject choices, for instance Archaeology, Citizenship, English Language,
    Environmental Science, Government and Politics, History of Art, Law, Music, Psychology or Sociology, are useful preparation for some of our arts and social sciences courses.
    Obviously this doesn't rule them out--but business studies isn't particularly well-regarded.

    You might stand a slightly better chance at Cambridge, which interviews more applicants and is less obsessed with GCSE results than Oxford. That said, the average successful applicant at Cambridge for law has 540+ UCAS points, which translates to AAAAa, and the usual offer is A*AA.

    If you're keen on Oxford or Cambridge, apply--but do be sensible about your UCAS form and apply to one or two unis with more relaxed entry standards.
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    Yeah, I wish I checked out how the quality of a levels effects uni prospects before I enrolled on them, I'm going to take history to boost my UCAS and prove I can write well, as I'm pretty sure I can get an A in it.

    jjarvis (or anyone else that can help for that matter), if you take a realistic view on what uni I am likely to go to, what sort of calibre do you see this as? Also, when taking into account this calibre, how strong will this effect be on my chances of getting a training contract at a London law firm? Not the top firms obviously. As well, is Oxford or Cambridge something that is bordering on a waste of time to even bother to apply for? It appears as if I may just be wasting one of my five possible choices.
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    The standard offer for Oxford and Cambridge is A*AA. Most applicants will have four A-levels at A or above and five A* at GCSE, they will interview really well and they will have a wide range of extra-curriculars. Its a wasted choice unless you think you are able to demonstrate exceptional aptitude and determination for law in your statement and interview.

    I don't see why you couldn't go to a top 20 or 30 uni if you get AAA and spend some time working on your personal statement. GCSEs aren't irrelevant but they are less important than A-levels, if you are predicted and get AAA for your full A-levels you are in with a decent chance. Remember that the standard offer for top unis is AAA, if you get AAB overall you wouldn't meet the offer for a top 20 uni.
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    The standard offer for Oxford and Cambridge is A*AA. Most applicants will have four A-levels at A or above and five A* at GCSE, they will interview really well and they will have a wide range of extra-curriculars. Its a wasted choice unless you think you are able to demonstrate exceptional aptitude and determination for law in your statement and interview.

    I don't see why you couldn't go to a top 20 or 30 uni if you get AAA and spend some time working on your personal statement. GCSEs aren't irrelevant but they are less important than A-levels, if you are predicted and get AAA for your full A-levels you are in with a decent chance. Remember that the standard offer for top unis is AAA, if you get AAB overall you wouldn't meet the offer for a top 20 uni.
    I think I could get A*AA, double A*A is also realistic.

    Thank you for your honesty on this topic. How do you think a top 20 uni would limit my potential law career chances? I know firms are very picky on the institution you got your degree from.

    What qualifies as exceptional aptitude and determination in your opinion? I assume retaking GCSE's after A levels would be a huge waste of time, am I correct?
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    (Original post by Sloppy)
    I think I could get A*AA, double A*A is also realistic.

    Thank you for your honesty on this topic. How do you think a top 20 uni would limit my potential law career chances? I know firms are very picky on the institution you got your degree from.

    What qualifies as exceptional aptitude and determination in your opinion? I assume retaking GCSE's after A levels would be a huge waste of time, am I correct?
    I don't think it would limit you, it just makes things a bit more difficult than if you went to Oxbridge. There are lots of people at the very best firms who went to top 20 unis or even unis in the next tier down. I know people at firms like Slaughter & May who went to unis like Exeter and Reading.

    That said, the better your uni the easier it is to get a job at a top firm. It was reported recently that 38% of the trainees at the five Magic Circle firms were Oxbridge graduates. Most of the rest would have come from places like UCL/LSE/Durham/Manchester/Birmigham, with a handful from unis in the next tier down. The graduates from lower tier unis will generally have first class degrees.

    Of course, there are lots of excellent firms offering a great salary and great work which are not "top" firms. Obviously only a tiny percentage of firms can be considered "top" firms, that doesn't mean people at "great" firms are unhappy - in fact, the top firms recently did very badly compared to some "great" firms in recent work satisfaction surveys. Also, there is no reason why you couldn't move from a "good" firm to a "top" firm after qualification.

    It is difficult to define what constitutes exceptional aptitude/determination in the abstract - it is one of those things where you know it where you see it because there are lots of ways to demonstrate it. For example, if you had read challenging law books and were able to discuss these in depth at interview, if you had published articles about law and if you had a detailed debate with your interviewers requiring undergraduate level knowledge of certain legal subjects, that would take you way beyond other candidates and might merit an offer.

    I'm not sure retaking GCSEs is a huge waste of time because every little takes. However, assuming you meet the minimum GCSE requirements for the unis you are interested in (usually five C grades including an C in English and Maths), you need to focus on your A-levels. There is no point getting AAB with an AS and GCSE retakes if you could have got AAA had you focused on your A-levels.
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    I have 5 c's, 4b's and 1 e at GCSE, including maths science and English so I won't bother with resits.

    Do you have any books you would recommend? I know there is a sticky listing 6 or so books(http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=607571). I'll use the Law uni ranking sticky here (http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=88536) too and I assume I should be aiming for the third and fourth tier unis in that, along with maybe one second tier if I'm feeling lucky.

    My plan is:
    -Achieve A*AA or A*AAa at a minimum.
    -Read various law books between now and January that I can include on my PS.
    -Phone local solicitor firms and see if I can get some work experience there.

    What would you add or amend in my plan and do you feel any unis in particular would be more suited to me than others?
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    (Original post by Sloppy)
    I assume I should be aiming for the third and fourth tier unis in that, along with maybe one second tier if I'm feeling lucky.

    My plan is:
    -Achieve A*AA or A*AAa at a minimum.
    -Read various law books between now and January that I can include on my PS.
    -Phone local solicitor firms and see if I can get some work experience there.

    What would you add or amend in my plan and do you feel any unis in particular would be more suited to me than others?
    Yes, third and fourth tier unis sound sensible. These are still really excellent and competitive unis that will probably require AAA.

    Do revisit the question when you have your AS results. If you end up with a B (or very borderline A) in one of your AS-levels, you'll need to include unis where the standard offer is AAB or below in case you don't get AAA.

    I don't have anything to add to your plan, it sound sensible. You might find it interesting to go down to court (www.hmrc.gov.uk, they are open to the public) for a few hours and watch some hearings.

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