Yet another 'aiming too high?!' post.. but still necessary

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Wilde_Oscar
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I'm worried, to say the least. My GCSEs - I got no A*s, ten As, and one B (Art) so annoyed about that, one mark off an A. I'm taking Classics, History, English and Latin, predicted As, and Latin, History and English next year for A level. I do AEA English, and will do AEA History next term.

What I'm worried about is my GCSE grades, they don't stand out, in addition to that, I just got the results of a history module, in which I got a C, which is hardly near good enough. I will be retaking, but can Cambridge find out about it? Will that put a black mark against me?

I want to apply to either St Johns, Kings or Downing for English, Cambridge, what, realistically, are my chances?
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[email protected]
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(Original post by Wilde_Oscar)
I'm worried, to say the least. My GCSEs - I got no A*s, ten As, and one B (Art) so annoyed about that, one mark off an A. I'm taking Classics, History, English and Latin, predicted As, and Latin, History and English next year for A level. I do AEA English, and will do AEA History next term.

What I'm worried about is my GCSE grades, they don't stand out, in addition to that, I just got the results of a history module, in which I got a C, which is hardly near good enough. I will be retaking, but can Cambridge find out about it? Will that put a black mark against me?

I want to apply to either St Johns, Kings or Downing for English, Cambridge, what, realistically, are my chances?
Hiya! I was worried just like you about my GCSE results, but loads of peopel have said to me that they aren't gonna turn you away just because you didn't get a million A*s - and your results are really good - a lot better than some Oxbridge students in fact!! You're going to get an interview (well more than likely!!) and I think once they meet you and also have your AS results they're going to put a better picture together instead of judging you purely on your GCSE results- they play little to nothing providing you have good passes (which you do!)
As for the C - they can find out and no doubt they will, but again, you're not gonna lose your place on a bad module! They'll see your AEAs and think you're obviously brilliant at history (providing you pass!!)

I think st j's and kings have generally higher than average applicants to places, whereas downing its just about average. But then again you could always call up the uni's and ask their opinions just to double check
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oldthrashbarg
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(Original post by Wilde_Oscar)
I'm worried, to say the least. My GCSEs - I got no A*s, ten As, and one B (Art) so annoyed about that, one mark off an A. I'm taking Classics, History, English and Latin, predicted As, and Latin, History and English next year for A level. I do AEA English, and will do AEA History next term.

What I'm worried about is my GCSE grades, they don't stand out, in addition to that, I just got the results of a history module, in which I got a C, which is hardly near good enough. I will be retaking, but can Cambridge find out about it? Will that put a black mark against me?

I want to apply to either St Johns, Kings or Downing for English, Cambridge, what, realistically, are my chances?
I think you should focus on your A-levels. Not being British, I'm not quite sure how much importance to attach to GCSE results, but yours seem great so don't worry! I got an offer from St. John's (for ASNaC), and they seemed mostly interested at the subjects I had done at the highest level, and in my interests outside of school. Good luck. I hope to see you at St. John's!
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fishpaste
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People say GCSEs don't matter that much, and they don't to an extent. However, prepare yourself for the question "why are they so low?" A friend of mine went down to interview back in December with a couple of A*s, several As and a few Bs. Their first question was "Would you care to explain why you didn't get particularly good GCSE results given that you've said you see yourself as highly motivated?"
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JayJay
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surely the lesson there isn't to big yourself up by saying you are highly motivated. You need to be more subtle than that, surely.
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scanner
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(Original post by fishpaste)
People say GCSEs don't matter that much, and they don't to an extent. However, prepare yourself for the question "why are they so low?" A friend of mine went down to interview back in December with a couple of A*s, several As and a few Bs. Their first question was "Would you care to explain why you didn't get particularly good GCSE results given that you've said you see yourself as highly motivated?"
Tutors are interested in how people have done at GCSE and why. From what I can tell they tend to be sympathetic to people who haven't necesssarily done brilliantly at GCSE but are clearly improving with strong A levels. They are looking for those who will thrive/cope with the method of teaching at Oxbridge.

Be prepared to meet people/other candidates with wall to wall A* and hardly a mark dropped at AS. Mine were good but I remember being taken aback at how many people applying had done better. They are one part of the picture and most tutors look at a range of things.
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Rosy
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Your interviews are the most important factor in the application process - the person interviewing you will be primarily concerned about the way you think, the way you respond to abstract ideas, and whether you would be an interesting individual to supervise! Some of my friends have similar sets of results. When I applied I'd just got a B in an English module, and didn't put it on the ucas form. I'd say don't worry, and try to make the rest of your application as strong as possible. And make sure you get the A's in the end!
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