(Original post by jonathanemptage)
I reccon you could get a place in Cambridge (not Oxford I herd they are funny about GCSE's)(Original post by yl95)
They definitely do care about GCSEs and 5A*-C is merely a minimum requirement. Cambridge DO care about GCSEs, though not as much as Oxford but they would have to ace their ASes and their interview to actually get in.
Hopefully I can throw a bit of light on how we look at GCSEs when it comes to applying to CompSci at Oxford.
We don't have any minimum requirements for GCSEs. The average for our GCSE-holding successful candidates is around 6A*s but it varies hugely: from none, to loads.
Most candidates who apply to us have broadly speaking similar A Level (or IB or equivalent) expected grades - they're not that helpful to us in distinguishing between candidates. We aptitude test all candidates and interview the majority: so the personal statement is less important in getting to know you than it is for some other universities.
All our candidates sit the same MAT test, on the same day. (Different questions for different degrees.) That allows us to more fairly compare between students. Once the test results are in we draw a rough line in the sand: it's normally about the average score. We then look very carefully at those just below (and just above) that line.
A student with poor GCSE's but who's scored well in the MAT will get interviewed without question. (Assuming they're taking A Levels (etc) that would allow them to meet our standard conditional offer.)
A candidate who's just below the line might find that a brilliant set of GCSE scores pulls them above that line - we've got evidence of high achievement, it might just be they had a bad day on the test. We might well give them a chance.
However, we sometimes see a borderline candidate who's got worse GCSEs than other candidates: but far better scores than other people in their school. Or it might be clear that they've done well in Maths and science subjects; but not been good at less relevant things like art or music. This can also be enough to pull a candidate over that line too. We're looking for people with potential.
A student with weaker GCSEs who also scored comparatively poorly on test, would make us think that they were weaker than other candidates and wouldn't be shortlisted.
So yes we do look at GCSEs: but the MAT test (and later on interview scores) are far more important to us. It's also worth remembering that we're far more interested in how a student did at GCSEs in Maths/Science (ie relevant subjects) than a raw number of grades, or grades in less relevant subjects.
The good thing about applying to somewhere like Oxford (or Cambridge) is that we look at your application as a whole, and at you as an individual. It's not just about playing a numbers game. We're looking to see evidence of what you've achieved and what your potential is. Poorer or less GCSEs certainly aren't going to automatically knock a candidate out of the running. Especially when there is contextual information at play.
OP: you've got great marks in the most important GCSEs, and a good set of A Level subjects there. From what you've said, & assuming you did well in the MAT, I can see no reason why you couldn't be offered an interview. And assuming you did well at that stage, you could be offered a place.
There are some big differences between the UG CompSci courses at Oxford and Cambridge. I'd encourage any applicant to think carefully about which course would suit them both, rather than trying to second guess which application process they might perform better in.
Hope that helps. Feel free to get in touch if you've got questions.
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