The Big "Are My Grades Good Enough for Cambridge?" Thread

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lp386
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Update 2014: as well as the information below, check out the Guide to UMS averages when applying to Cambridge

Here's a new resource we've created to help you work out whether your grades are good enough - follow the steps on one of these flowcharts (depending on whether you're an arts or a sciences applicant) and you should be able to get a good idea of whether you're qualified to make an application. It will be much quicker than typing out all your grades and waiting for someone to come in and say yes or no, so please use it!

Just to be completely clear:
- You do not need any specific UMS grade average, or any specific number of A*/A grades, or any more than three A levels to get an offer. Don't post saying you've read the flowchart but only have an 84% average, or 2 A* grades at GCSE, or only have three A levels, because we will only send you back to the flowchart, and if we're feeling especially cruel we may even gently tease you in GIF form.
- That said, if you have any questions relating to anything that's not covered by the flowchart, or you come from a different exam system, or something else, please don't hesitate to post. That's what we're here for.
- There's a pretty good chance that the answer to whether your grades are good enough will be yes. That's not a mistake in the flowchart - there are no specific levels of UMS/GCSE grades that you have to achieve.

If you're applying for an arts subject (click on the image to enlarge it):
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And if you're applying for a science subject (again, click on the image to enlarge):
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A few relevant links you might want to consult:

A list of subjects at Cambridge, which links to the entry requirements and desired A level choices.
Cambridge policy on retakes and UMS requirements (short answer: some retakes are fine, and there aren't any strict UMS requirements)
Entry requirements for students taking EU qualifications, the IB, or SATs/AP exams.
Entry requirements for students not taking these qualifications.
English language requirements for non-native speakers.
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crazykiwi
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I know that AS+A levels are more important, but I was wondering what GCSEs would be good enough. I want to do History if that helps, and I'm choosing my options in March-April, and I want to do:

English Lang.
English Lit.
French
Maths
Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Drama
History
Citizenship (I'm not too sure about this one, any advice on this course?)

Thanks :ahee:
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tomp33
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Im not entirely sure but I wouldn't do citizenship, not many schools (good schools e.g. grammer) offer it for the reason that its not really a "serious" subject. You would be better doing a more academic subject possibly.
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zxh800
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A combo of As and A*s should do the trick....
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Anna-Jack-Hope
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If you can do something else don't do Citizenship!! It was compulsory to do the short course in year 11 at my school and everyone hated every minute of it!
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astronaut
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have a look at this: http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/a...csescoring.doc

a higher score is obviously better, so A*s and As, and you get points added if your school is poorly performing at gcse.

but yes, AS performance is more important.

don't do citizenship. it's painful.
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Historophilia
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I don't think that having Citizanship as a GCSe will do you that much harm when applying.

However if you can I'd do something else, I'd reccomend another Humanities if you're wanting to apply for History, so Geography or RS, whichever you find more interesting.
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SirYusufXXV
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is 5A*, 3A, 3B enough??
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astronaut
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(Original post by SirYusufXXV)
is 5A*, 3A, 3B enough??
if your AS performance is strong, then yes.
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withas
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best aim for 11 A* though
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CooperTrooper
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I read that the average is something like 6-8A*, and the vast majority of the rest being As. That's not to say that you couldn't get in with something below that and an excellent personal statement, A level grades and lots of extra curricular/volunteering/work experience. Impress at the interview, too - those are what matter more.
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llbnlwtsr
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I don't really think they mind which subjects you do at GCSE. We were just told to pick what we wanted to do. As long as you have English, Maths, Sciences and a modern language to a high standard then it's fine. If you're interested I got an interview for Oxford (rejected after though) and I have 7A*s (English lit, english lang, maths, core science, additional science, french, graphic design) and 2.5As (history, german, RS short course).
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Xero Xenith
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(Original post by crazykiwi)
I know that AS+A levels are more important, but I was wondering what GCSEs would be good enough. I want to do History if that helps, and I'm choosing my options in March-April, and I want to do:

English Lang.
English Lit.
French
Maths
Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Drama
History
Citizenship (I'm not too sure about this one, any advice on this course?)

Thanks :ahee:
Consider which A-levels you want to do, and plan around that.

e.g. for History you may want to do Economics (solid essay subject) - does your school offer Economics?
History is required, obviously.
Do you like English Lit? That's another good essay subject.
etc.

Cambridge actually state that the A-level choice doesn't matter too much beyond History and a second essay subject, but you'll need three solid academic subjects to have a decent shot.

(Original post by withas)
best aim for 11 A* though
Aim, yes. But it's not essential

Cambridge do look at GCSEs, but they look far more at individual AS module grades, which they ask for on the SAQ form.

(Original post by CooperTrooper)
I read that the average is something like 6-8A*, and the vast majority of the rest being As. That's not to say that you couldn't get in with something below that and an excellent personal statement, A level grades and lots of extra curricular/volunteering/work experience. Impress at the interview, too - those are what matter more.
Oxbridge don't care about irrelevant extra curricular - they just want people who are committed to their subject. This might involve being a History prefect or something, but it really doesn't make that much difference compared to how much you've read around your subject, etc. That's far more important.

Basically, follow your academic interests, and as long as they're relevant, Oxbridge will be impressed
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ROBBY7896
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(Original post by student.uk)
my IGCSE grades were 5A*, 2A and 2B (with CIE exam board), with the A*s in maths, first language english and physics, biology and chemistry
are these good grades for Oxbridge??
Assuming you are applying for a science subject, these are absolutely fine You have A* in maths and all the sciences and to be honest, if you apply for a science, I don't really think they care how you do in non-science subjects
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wasting-time
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doesnt matter a massive deal but getting mostly A*s is a good way to go
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arbaaz
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as close to 10-11 a stars as possible. this IS cambridge after all.
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SparksInTheSky
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Just aim to do your best. That's partly what Oxbridge want - people with big ambitions. Citizenship won't harm you, and I quite liked it (apart from the c/w) but its also true that you have one 'soft' subject (drama) so you might want to replace it with something more serious.
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v2p
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(Original post by crazykiwi)
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(Original post by SirYusufXXV)
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(Original post by student.uk)
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I received an offer from Cambridge this year. My GCSE grades were 4 A*s , 7As, 1B, 1D. But then in AS I got 4As.

GCSEs really don't matter as much as good AS scores. GCSEs are a fairly good indicator in general as to how well you do in AS, because people who are getting very high grades, will be working hard and on track to getting good AS scores. But if you're not getting a lot of A*s at GCSE, then you will need to work a lot harder in your AS year. Just because someone else does better than you at GCSE, it doesn't mean they will do better than you at AS. Its not like your GCSE grades are actually physically linked/contribute to your AS grades, so when you do your ASs, everyone is on a fresh slate and a level playing field.
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TheNoobyPotato
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Biology AS: 98%
Chemistry AS: 93%
History AS: 92%
Maths A2: 84%

Any chances for natural sciences or medicine?

EDIT: If it helps anyone..

Applied for: Medicine
Average: 92% for Science
BMAT: 5.3 5.6 3A
Outcome: rejection
Reason: Examination performance ranked below the middle of the applicant field for medicine. Concerned about 84% in Maths. BMAT was okay (top third).
College averages of applications for 2013 entry:

(All applicants) Average module score for Arts, humanities, and social sciences = 90.6% (range 74.8 - 98.6)
(successful applicants) Average module score for Arts, humanities, and social sciences = 92.9% (range 84.3 - 98.6)

(All applicants) Average module for Science, engineering and medicine = 89.1% (range 69.3 - 98.6)
(successful applicants) Average module for Science, engineering and medicine = 94.4% (range 84.9 - 98.6)

Average number of A*s was about 7 or 8 for both but the range is 0-12 so I don't think they mind about GCSEs.

Don't let averages put you off and take a look at the ranges. If it's not medicine, it's only one choice so apply! If it is medicine, think carefully
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Craghyrax
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(Original post by TheNoobyPotato)
Biology AS: 97%
Chemistry AS: 93%
History AS: 92%
Maths A2: 84%

Any chances for natural sciences or medicine? Probably not since the average would be with maths in it. I did it early and never tried hard enough until this year. I ALMOST got an A* (80 in C3 and 98 in C4 ) I wish they would just take top 3. :K:
Well there's not no chance. There's never a guarantee but those are good grades and its worth a shot
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