Ox or Cam with poor GCSE's? Watch

Robert602
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#21
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#21
(Original post by chocolatecheese)
it really makes me laugh when people think they have "poor" GCSE grades....imagine if you had got straight B's! heaven forbid! :p:
A little unfair I think. I come from a pretty decent comprehensive, but there was almost no history of Oxbridge and no teachers who knew anything about it. I didn't have a clue what was considered Oxbridge standard and other than this website, I'm not sure how I was supposed to know.

Fair enough, anyone with an ounce of sense knows that if they get 10A*s they're going to get consideration, but at 2A*, it's worth asking the question. AABB would be equally good A level results by anyone's standards, but they wouldn't get you into Oxbridge.

For the record, the Cambridge average is 6A*s, but 2A*s certainly wouldn't be the worst result that's been successful. It was enough to get me in.
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eleri
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(Original post by Robert602)
A little unfair I think. I come from a pretty decent comprehensive, but there was almost no history of Oxbridge and no teachers who knew anything about it. I didn't have a clue what was considered Oxbridge standard and other than this website, I'm not sure how I was supposed to know.

Fair enough, anyone with an ounce of sense knows that if they get 10A*s they're going to get consideration, but at 2A*, it's worth asking the question. AABB would be equally good A level results by anyone's standards, but they wouldn't get you into Oxbridge.

For the record, the Cambridge average is 6A*s, but 2A*s certainly wouldn't be the worst result that's been successful. It was enough to get me in.
I see what you're saying, but still, it's easy to lose your sense of perspective when you're applying to Oxbridge, and assume you have to have a far more impressive academic background than is actually necessary (as long as you can show potential) - the OP's grades are very good compared to national averages, after all.

Personally, I think people who get rejected without interview have a combination of lower than average GCSE grades relative to other applicants and poor personal statements, predicted grades or references. Or maybe if none of these are exactly poor, but no one item is particularly impressive.

I just don't think GCSEs can be a very important factor in the admissions procedure, or at least I'd like to think so. The step up to AS and A-level is so much that as long as you have decent predicted grades, GCSE grades that are acceptable but not overly special won't matter. After all, getting 10 A*s or whatever just shows that you're an all-rounder, and probably that you had good teaching, which is useful, but doesn't really demonstrate any particular aptitude or potential for the subject you want to study at Uni.
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Mustard-man
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(Original post by eleri)
I just don't think GCSEs can be a very important factor in the admissions procedure, or at least I'd like to think so. The step up to AS and A-level is so much that as long as you have decent predicted grades, GCSE grades that are acceptable but not overly special won't matter. After all, getting 10 A*s or whatever just shows that you're an all-rounder, and probably that you had good teaching, which is useful, but doesn't really demonstrate any particular aptitude or potential for the subject you want to study at Uni.
I want to agree, but, if they receive a candidate with pending A-levels, (i.e. AS grade is not shown) and A2 predicted grades, academically that wouldn't be much to go on. (A2 predictions are crap because I know someone who got a C in AS chemistry and somehow got an A prediction for her A2) Therefore GCSE's are the things to go on.
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Niccolo
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(Original post by Mustard-man)
I want to agree, but, if they receive a candidate with pending A-levels, (i.e. AS grade is not shown) and A2 predicted grades, academically that wouldn't be much to go on. (A2 predictions are crap because I know someone who got a C in AS chemistry and somehow got an A prediction for her A2) Therefore GCSE's are the things to go on.
nobman.
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Mustard-man
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(Original post by Niccolo)
nobman.
thank you very much
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eleri
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#26
(Original post by Mustard-man)
I want to agree, but, if they receive a candidate with pending A-levels, (i.e. AS grade is not shown) and A2 predicted grades, academically that wouldn't be much to go on. (A2 predictions are crap because I know someone who got a C in AS chemistry and somehow got an A prediction for her A2) Therefore GCSE's are the things to go on.
It might be different if you don't have definite AS-Levels, I suppose. Still, relying on GCSE grades is like clutching at straws for tutors, because they're just not adequately indicative of a student's ability.

When I applied, I'd cashed in (or whatever it is you say) my AS-Levels, so I'm pretty sure they would've been a lot more relavant to my application; why look at GCSE grades when you can see the results of exams which follow such an enormous step-up.
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Phil.Murray
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#27
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Does Oxford have the same system for GCSE scores as Oxford, i.e. they change how much the grades are worth depending on the school you went to?

Also, which of the two interviews the most applicants?
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sjuthani
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#28
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#28
(Original post by phil_m88)
Also, which of the two interviews the most applicants?
Technically, I think Cambridge does, but if you're not certain about whether you'll get an interview, are you sure you want to be applying? I'm not saying anything, seeing as I don't know you at all, but maybe something to think about?
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Phil.Murray
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(Original post by sjuthani)
Technically, I think Cambridge does, but if you're not certain about whether you'll get an interview, are you sure you want to be applying? I'm not saying anything, seeing as I don't know you at all, but maybe something to think about?
Yeah, I think I'd regret not applying to Oxbridge if I didn't. A lot of my teachers have asked whether or not I've considered applying. Why, do you think I shouldn't?
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sTe\/o
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(Original post by phil_m88)
Yeah, I think I'd regret not applying to Oxbridge if I didn't. A lot of my teachers have asked whether or not I've considered applying. Why, do you think I shouldn't?
No one here knows you very well, so take what we say with a pinch of salt. That said, I personally think you should apply. Your grades aren't bad. I know someone with worse GCSE grades who got an offer for Medicine at Oxford, which is of equivalent competitiveness. Admittedly your GCSEs are probably at the low end of the spectrum of *successful* applicants, but this merely means you're not a shoe-in (but realistically, who is?). You just need to keep working hard and pull off a good interview. I know that's easier said than done, but you have a realistic chance. Good luck!
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sjuthani
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(Original post by phil_m88)
Yeah, I think I'd regret not applying to Oxbridge if I didn't. A lot of my teachers have asked whether or not I've considered applying. Why, do you think I shouldn't?
Personally, I think you should go for it.
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LauraEnchanting
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(Original post by nighthawk)
They’re not bad GCSEs, unless you come from a top private school or top grammar school where a string of A*s is routinely expected I don’t think you’d be disadvantaged. Although you’d probably be advised not to apply to a really prestigious college. You’ve got ages anyway.
I would say go for it! The sure way not to get in is not to apply. I do come from a succesful grammar school, where a large number of people got 12 A*s, including several of my friends. Some were accepted to Oxbridge, and others were not even though they had exactly the same grades. I got 5 A*s, 5 As, a B and a C, which I considered a failure and I had the same doubts as you. Despite this I've been offered a place to study Law at Oxford. I think it's the full impression of the person that counts, and it's not based solely on figures.
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smurfling
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I got an offer (AAA) for History at Magdalen College, a definitely "prestigious" Oxford college, on the strength of 3 A*s, 3 As, a B, a C and 2 Ds. I read somewhere in this thread that applying to more prestigious colleges might not be a good idea with your grades but it didn't harm me, so like everyone's saying, just go for it!
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Mustard-man
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(Original post by smurfling)
I got an offer (AAA) for History at Magdalen College, a definitely "prestigious" Oxford college, on the strength of 3 A*s, 3 As, a B, a C and 2 Ds. I read somewhere in this thread that applying to more prestigious colleges might not be a good idea with your grades but it didn't harm me, so like everyone's saying, just go for it!
well done smurfling :yy: you've proven it is very well possible
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chocolatecheese
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#35
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(Original post by Robert602)
A little unfair I think. I come from a pretty decent comprehensive, but there was almost no history of Oxbridge and no teachers who knew anything about it. I didn't have a clue what was considered Oxbridge standard and other than this website, I'm not sure how I was supposed to know.

Fair enough, anyone with an ounce of sense knows that if they get 10A*s they're going to get consideration, but at 2A*, it's worth asking the question. AABB would be equally good A level results by anyone's standards, but they wouldn't get you into Oxbridge.

For the record, the Cambridge average is 6A*s, but 2A*s certainly wouldn't be the worst result that's been successful. It was enough to get me in.
Sorry, i didn't mean to come across that way
I was trying to show that getting what this person has got at GCSE is not poor....i wasn't suggesting that they shouldn't be asking if it was Oxford standard or not....i found myself in this position when i was applying ....and maybe im the one without an ounce of sense for asking if my GCSE's were Oxford standard or not.
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smurfling
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#36
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Exactly... so it just goes to show that Oxford aren't all about GCSEs, and GCSEs aren't necessarily the measure of one's intelligence.
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sTe\/o
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#37
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(Original post by smurfling)
Exactly... so it just goes to show that Oxford aren't all about GCSEs, and GCSEs aren't necessarily the measure of one's intelligence.
Seeing as this friend was apparently a "genius", the other interpretation is that even Oxbridge dons make mistakes.

EDIT: Just saw your earlier post, Smurfling, and realised you applied to the same place and course. No offense intended. And well done.
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Godmaster
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#38
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(Original post by phil_m88)
I have relatively poor GCSE's (2A*s, 6A's and a B) but would really like to apply to Oxbridge for Law next year (I'm predicted AAAA and either A or B at AS).

Which of the two unis would not be as concerned about my GCSE's?
None of them, they will both consider your GCSE's with equal or roughly equal merit.

(Original post by phil_m88)
Will they be good enough to get into any institution or none at all?
No one can answer that question for sure. GCSE's remain a decisive component in undergraduate admissions for Cambridge. They provide admissions tutors with evidence that the applicant can deal with a wide range of subjects and have a good general understanding of each.

However, as far as Cambridge is concerned, the university is aware of how the type of schooling and relative performance of that school in the league tables may affect the performance of an applicant. They have attempted to develop a way of making their judgement of GCSE results more fair. So far we know that:

This point score was calculated for each student as follows:

A* A B C D E F G
8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Thus 8A* = 64 points. From 2002 only the best eight results achieved by each student contributed to the (now capped) score.

The average point score appears to range between 20 (very poor) and 63. In general, for the schools that apply to Cambridge:

60+ the top independent and selective state schools
50-60 good independent and selective state schools
40-50 good comprehensive and other non-selective state schools; weaker independent schools
30-40 average non-selective state schools
below 30 poor academic schools: probably few high achievers in each class

However, to achieve a fairer result:

Many who come from schools with a score of less than 30 may well be assessed through the Cambridge Special Access Scheme (Section 3.3.2). We suggest that a realistic and simple way of adjusting the GCSE score calculated (using the formula in Section 2.5.4.1) for each applicant, to reflect in an appropriate way the school background, would be:

School average score Adjustment
Above 50 No change
40: Add 1.3
30: Add 2.7
20: Add 4.0

Using interpolation:

Admissions Tutors might like to note that the formula for this adjustment is A = max[4×(50–S)÷30,0], where S is the average GCSE score at the applicant’s school/college.

All average scores are taken from the DfES 2003 results.

All information can be found in detail from:

http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/a...tion2/2_5.html

I have deliberately chosen to answer this question in a quantitative manner because a lot of these posts seek some sort of definitive answer. As far as I know, this is the closest to a definitive answer I can find from the Cambridge admissions website.

Kind Regards
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wanderer
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#39
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I think cashing in should be irrelevant with all unis getting UMS scores. It is with Cambridge already - even if you didn't cash in your AS levels (I didn't) you still put the scores down on the SAQ.
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notsoperfect
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#40
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those are NOT poor GCSEs.
i really really hate these posts. you probably don't mean to, but you come across as really... ungrateful? i'd love to have GCSEs as good as those.

by the way, my friend got into cambridge with 2A*s, 2As and 6Bs.
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