Will the number of GCSEs I took put me at a disadvantage? Watch

Pasta6163
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#1
Hi guys, these are my (I)GCSE subjects and results:

IGCSE:
English - A*
Mathematics - A*

GCSE:
Biology - A*
Chemistry - A*
Economics - A*
Physics - A*

While my results are good, I've only done 6 subjects. I went to a state school, and that's just how the system is in my country. By the time I figured the benefit of doing a couple more subjects privately, it was already too late.

So my question is, will I be at a huge disadvantage to the students who're doing 10+ subjects and getting As in most of them in university applications? I'm starting IB soon, and so I was also wondering if taking standard level subjects in say, literature, french and history (new subjects) make up for lacking the GCSE equivalents? Or would that not matter at all?

Sorry if what I've said isn't quite coherent. I'll explain more if necessary.

Thanks!
0
reply
Chlorophile
  • Study Helper
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report 5 years ago
#2
(Original post by Saaidh)
Hi guys, these are my (I)GCSE subjects and results:

IGCSE:
English - A*
Mathematics - A*

GCSE:
Biology - A*
Chemistry - A*
Economics - A*
Physics - A*

While my results are good, I've only done 6 subjects. I went to a state school, and that's just how the system is in my country. By the time I figured the benefit of doing a couple more subjects privately, it was already too late.

So my question is, will I be at a huge disadvantage to the students who're doing 10+ subjects and getting As in most of them in university applications? I'm starting IB soon, and so I was also wondering if taking standard level subjects in say, literature, french and history (new subjects) make up for lacking the GCSE equivalents? Or would that not matter at all?

Sorry if what I've said isn't quite coherent. I'll explain more if necessary.

Thanks!
Most universities will only ask for an A*-C grade in English Language and Mathematics, both of which you have. GCSE grades are used in comparing candidates for selection. Obviously, the grades you do have are absolutely exceptional and will probably more than make up for the smaller number (and bear in mind that the average number of GCSEs is probably about 8, so you're not that far under). Additionally, Universities aren't going to penalise you for things that aren't within your control so if doing 6 GCSEs is normal in your school, they will take that into account. Also bear in mind that your GCSE grades are only a part of your application.

I don't think you've got a problem at all. Just continue doing whatever you were planning to do, and definitely don't change your IB choices to 'compensate' for your GCSEs.
1
reply
Pasta6163
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#3
(Original post by Chlorophile)
Most universities will only ask for an A*-C grade in English Language and Mathematics, both of which you have. GCSE grades are used in comparing candidates for selection. Obviously, the grades you do have are absolutely exceptional and will probably more than make up for the smaller number (and bear in mind that the average number of GCSEs is probably about 8, so you're not that far under). Additionally, Universities aren't going to penalise you for things that aren't within your control so if doing 6 GCSEs is normal in your school, they will take that into account. Also bear in mind that your GCSE grades are only a part of your application.

I don't think you've got a problem at all. Just continue doing whatever you were planning to do, and definitely don't change your IB choices to 'compensate' for your GCSEs.
I am relieved to hear that, thank you very much. So what I'm wondering now is, would it benefit me more to study a new subject (I.e. History) as opposed to one I've already studied (Economics) given I'm equally interested in both. They are my SLs and have nothing to do with what I want to study in the future (microbio/biochem) so I want to take that into account when choosing subjects.
0
reply
WillWalker23
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#4
Report 5 years ago
#4
It wouldn't do much harm, but really you haven't got much of a selection - if you did it again, having an essay subject and a foreign language would be important - i.e History/RE and German/French/Spanish. I generally think 6 is too little, 8 should be the real minimum. Yet most universities don't look at your GCSEs very much so I'd focus more on A-levels/equivalent.

But, in all fairness, if you apply to Oxford, most people will have 8/9+ A*s, so I think this will disadvantage you. Obviously you've got 100% A*s but Oxford really do look at your GCSE results - so it's important to have a good selection of subjects and a good set of grades - universities don't want a 'one-trick pony' and from your GCSEs it doesn't look very much like you've got a broad spectrum of interests - there all maths/science-based subjects other than English. If you could, maybe sitting a GCSE like RE, which is fairly easy and takes little learning, on the side could help, but only if it doesn't distract you from better qualifications.
0
reply
Pasta6163
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#5
(Original post by WillWalker23)
It wouldn't do much harm, but really you haven't got much of a selection - if you did it again, having an essay subject and a foreign language would be important - i.e History/RE and German/French/Spanish. I generally think 6 is too little, 8 should be the real minimum. Yet most universities don't look at your GCSEs very much so I'd focus more on A-levels/equivalent.

But, in all fairness, if you apply to Oxford, most people will have 8/9+ A*s, so I think this will disadvantage you. Obviously you've got 100% A*s but Oxford really do look at your GCSE results - so it's important to have a good selection of subjects and a good set of grades - universities don't want a 'one-trick pony' and from your GCSEs it doesn't look very much like you've got a broad spectrum of interests - there all maths/science-based subjects other than English. If you could, maybe sitting a GCSE like RE, which is fairly easy and takes little learning, on the side could help, but only if it doesn't distract you from better qualifications.
Well, at this point I guess I should focus on doing IB well. I'm headed abroad this September and it'd be a huge hassle. My school didn't offer any traditional humanity subject or foreign languages. I wanted to do sciences rather than commerce stream, considering it's my passion. And we could only have one elective, from Art, Computing and Economics. So I did what I could do pick academically.

I'd argue that Economics is much more essay based than mathematical. By far, to be honest. But in the end, that isn't going to change anything either. Best not dwell on it I guess. Thanks for your input!
0
reply
sr90
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#6
Report 5 years ago
#6
I only have 5 GCSE's (and they weren't even good grades, some were only a C). Didn't affect my UCAS one bit.
0
reply
Pasta6163
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#7
(Original post by sr90)
I only have 5 GCSE's (and they weren't even good grades, some were only a C). Didn't affect my UCAS one bit.
Good to hear!
0
reply
Chlorophile
  • Study Helper
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#8
Report 5 years ago
#8
(Original post by Saaidh)
I am relieved to hear that, thank you very much. So what I'm wondering now is, would it benefit me more to study a new subject (I.e. History) as opposed to one I've already studied (Economics) given I'm equally interested in both. They are my SLs and have nothing to do with what I want to study in the future (microbio/biochem) so I want to take that into account when choosing subjects.
I really don't think it makes a difference. History is a more 'traditional' subject, but I really don't think it'll make a massive difference. As long as you've got Biology, Chemistry and Maths you'll be absolutely fine.

(Original post by WillWalker23)
But, in all fairness, if you apply to Oxford, most people will have 8/9+ A*s, so I think this will disadvantage you. Obviously you've got 100% A*s but Oxford really do look at your GCSE results - so it's important to have a good selection of subjects and a good set of grades - universities don't want a 'one-trick pony' and from your GCSEs it doesn't look very much like you've got a broad spectrum of interests - there all maths/science-based subjects other than English. If you could, maybe sitting a GCSE like RE, which is fairly easy and takes little learning, on the side could help, but only if it doesn't distract you from better qualifications.
I'm not sure if I agree with you there. Out of all the universities in the UK, Oxford and Cambridge contextualise results the most. If doing 6 GCSEs is the normal in Saaidh's school, they will not hold it against him/her. Additionally, Oxford and Cambridge only care about someone's pure academic ability. It doesn't matter if someone isn't good across all the subjects. Oxford and Cambridge don't work like American universities.
0
reply
Pasta6163
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#9
(Original post by Chlorophile)
I'm not sure if I agree with you there. Out of all the universities in the UK, Oxford and Cambridge contextualise results the most. If doing 6 GCSEs is the normal in Saaidh's school, they will not hold it against him/her. Additionally, Oxford and Cambridge only care about someone's pure academic ability. It doesn't matter if someone isn't good across all the subjects. Oxford and Cambridge don't work like American universities.
How will the school know about how my country's system works? Will I receive the opportunity to mention it in my app, or will the the universities look into the school I completed my GCSEs in? I performed well above the norm in my school as well, and it'd be great to have that recognised one way or another.
0
reply
Chlorophile
  • Study Helper
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#10
Report 5 years ago
#10
(Original post by Saaidh)
How will the school know about how my country's system works? Will I receive the opportunity to mention it in my app, or will the the universities look into the school I completed my GCSEs in? I performed well above the norm in my school as well, and it'd be great to have that recognised one way or another.
The university (particularly if you apply to Oxford or Cambridge) will be given or will request details about your previous education. The fact that you're an international applicant does complicate things, but they should still be given contextual information.
0
reply
Pasta6163
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#11
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#11
(Original post by Chlorophile)
The university (particularly if you apply to Oxford or Cambridge) will be given or will request details about your previous education. The fact that you're an international applicant does complicate things, but they should still be given contextual information.
I see! Well, for my own sake, I hope I stand out as a great candidate for many more reasons haha. Thank you so much for your help!
0
reply
Chlorophile
  • Study Helper
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#12
Report 5 years ago
#12
(Original post by Saaidh)
I see! Well, for my own sake, I hope I stand out as a great candidate for many more reasons haha. Thank you so much for your help!
I'm sure you will, just make sure you show an extracurricular interest in your subject by doing outside reading, attending lectures, etc.
0
reply
WillWalker23
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#13
Report 5 years ago
#13
But like I said, A-levels/equivalent are more important anyway for most universities. Unless you're doing medicine, engineering or applying to Oxsbridge/Imperial, GCSEs aren't important. But Oxford in particular like to see good GCSE results - which you do have - but they like to see lots of subjects, so I'd disagree that Oxford wouldn't care about variety. I'm not being mean or trying to be harsh but if you think, if two people have the same grades at AS level, then surely the one with better GCSE grades (maybe 10A*s?) will get the place, unless this person performed badly at interview. That's just how I think anyway.

Oxford is just one university and to be quite frank with you, although it's prestigious, most people I know who have gone there haven't enjoyed it. They say it's very hard work trying to cram everything in because you're doing so much at once. All of the rest don't pay attention to GCSEs - they maybe look to ensure you've got 5 passes, including English and Maths, which you've got, so bottom line is don't worry too much!
0
reply
Pasta6163
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#14
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#14
(Original post by WillWalker23)
But like I said, A-levels/equivalent are more important anyway for most universities. Unless you're doing medicine, engineering or applying to Oxsbridge/Imperial, GCSEs aren't important. But Oxford in particular like to see good GCSE results - which you do have - but they like to see lots of subjects, so I'd disagree that Oxford wouldn't care about variety. I'm not being mean or trying to be harsh but if you think, if two people have the same grades at AS level, then surely the one with better GCSE grades (maybe 10A*s?) will get the place, unless this person performed badly at interview. That's just how I think anyway.

Oxford is just one university and to be quite frank with you, although it's prestigious, most people I know who have gone there haven't enjoyed it. They say it's very hard work trying to cram everything in because you're doing so much at once. All of the rest don't pay attention to GCSEs - they maybe look to ensure you've got 5 passes, including English and Maths, which you've got, so bottom line is don't worry too much!

I understand! Thanks for your frank advice I don't think I'd apply for Oxford in any case. Out of the more prestigious unis in the UK, I think Cambridge and Imperial seem best suited for my interests. And I'll have to make up for lacking in the GCSE department to them in other ways. I'm fully prepared and more than happy to do that ^^
0
reply
dragonkeeper999
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#15
Report 5 years ago
#15
(Original post by Saaidh)
Hi guys, these are my (I)GCSE subjects and results:

IGCSE:
English - A*
Mathematics - A*

GCSE:
Biology - A*
Chemistry - A*
Economics - A*
Physics - A*

While my results are good, I've only done 6 subjects. I went to a state school, and that's just how the system is in my country. By the time I figured the benefit of doing a couple more subjects privately, it was already too late.

So my question is, will I be at a huge disadvantage to the students who're doing 10+ subjects and getting As in most of them in university applications? I'm starting IB soon, and so I was also wondering if taking standard level subjects in say, literature, french and history (new subjects) make up for lacking the GCSE equivalents? Or would that not matter at all?

Sorry if what I've said isn't quite coherent. I'll explain more if necessary.

Thanks!
I would say that although you did quite a lot less GCSEs than most other people, you managed to get top grades and your school didn't offer you any more subjects. Therefore, universities are unlikely to discriminate against you for this. They are generally far more interested in your IB grades - so make sure you work hard at these. I believe that you don't get the equivalent of AS results after the first year of IB, so some universities may look at your GCSEs as a suggestion of how well you will do at IB. Most should also notice that 6 GCSEs was standard for your school and so not mind, but in the worst case scenario you may be better of taking a gap year and applying with your IB results so universities will use those rather than your GCSEs.

As someone mentioned earlier, Oxford is one of the few universities that really looks at GCSEs - and they also look at your school's background so may be able to overlook you doing so few subjects, particularly if you do very well at IB.

It is definitely not worth doing more GCSEs or equivalents now - concentrate on the IB.

Also, make sure you think carefully about your IB subjects. I am not sure how it works with the IB (I have heard that you have to pick a range of science/ humanities subjects?) but try to pick subjects which go well together and would enable you to do the degree you are interested in (e.g. if you are interested in a science degree, make sure you do Chemistry/ Physics/ Maths and Biology if you want although it is less vital than Chemistry if you want to keep your options open). Modern languages are also useful subjects. If you want to do a more humanities based degree then picking essay based subjects would be a good idea. In general, picking a mixture of essay based and scientific subjects isn't a good idea as it actually limits your options (top universities usually want at least two, often three, subjects specifically relevant to the degree so if you did two essay subjects and two science subjects you would struggle to do a degree in either).
0
reply
Pasta6163
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#16
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#16
(Original post by dragonkeeper999)
I would say that although you did quite a lot less GCSEs than most other people, you managed to get top grades and your school didn't offer you any more subjects. Therefore, universities are unlikely to discriminate against you for this. They are generally far more interested in your IB grades - so make sure you work hard at these. I believe that you don't get the equivalent of AS results after the first year of IB, so some universities may look at your GCSEs as a suggestion of how well you will do at IB. Most should also notice that 6 GCSEs was standard for your school and so not mind, but in the worst case scenario you may be better of taking a gap year and applying with your IB results so universities will use those rather than your GCSEs.

As someone mentioned earlier, Oxford is one of the few universities that really looks at GCSEs - and they also look at your school's background so may be able to overlook you doing so few subjects, particularly if you do very well at IB.

It is definitely not worth doing more GCSEs now - concentrate on the IB.
Do IB predicted grades not matter? I was hoping that'd help me out.
0
reply
dragonkeeper999
Badges: 17
Rep:
?
#17
Report 5 years ago
#17
(Original post by Saaidh)
Do IB predicted grades not matter? I was hoping that'd help me out.
I think that universities would definitely look at them, but since some schools exaggerate their student's predicted grades to make them look better many universities prefer to rely upon concrete results.
0
reply
ChelseaYvonne
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#18
Report 5 years ago
#18
Most uni's don't really care about GCSE's as long as you have C's or above in English and Maths. Some might request 5 GCSE's at A*-C. I've only heard of medicine and dentistry asking for more than that and they ask for 7A's. Your IB scores/ predicted scores will count for a lot more.

Top uni's like Oxbridge will care a bit more but I know Oxford compare your grades to what other people in your school generally leave with so if everyone is leaving with 6 GCSE's then they know it is normal and if your grades are higher than everyone else's then they know you're a good student.

Widening your education is never a bad thing and I'm not sure how the IB works but you have to consider that taking subjects that you haven't done before will put you at a disadvantage when compared to students who have taken GCSE's in them.
0
reply
Pasta6163
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#19
Report Thread starter 5 years ago
#19
(Original post by dragonkeeper999)
Also, make sure you think carefully about your IB subjects. I am not sure how it works with the IB (I have heard that you have to pick a range of science/ humanities subjects?) but try to pick subjects which go well together and would enable you to do the degree you are interested in (e.g. if you are interested in a science degree, make sure you do Chemistry/ Physics/ Maths and Biology if you want although it is less vital than Chemistry if you want to keep your options open). Modern languages are also useful subjects. If you want to do a more humanities based degree then picking essay based subjects would be a good idea. In general, picking a mixture of essay based and scientific subjects isn't a good idea as it actually limits your options (top universities usually want at least two, often three, subjects specifically relevant to the degree so if you did two essay subjects and two science subjects you would struggle to do a degree in either).

(Original post by ChelseaYvonne)
Most uni's don't really care about GCSE's as long as you have C's or above in English and Maths. Some might request 5 GCSE's at A*-C. I've only heard of medicine and dentistry asking for more than that and they ask for 7A's. Your IB scores/ predicted scores will count for a lot more.

Top uni's like Oxbridge will care a bit more but I know Oxford compare your grades to what other people in your school generally leave with so if everyone is leaving with 6 GCSE's then they know it is normal and if your grades are higher than everyone else's then they know you're a good student.

Widening your education is never a bad thing and I'm not sure how the IB works but you have to consider that taking subjects that you haven't done before will put you at a disadvantage when compared to students who have taken GCSE's in them.
Well, in IB we are required to take at least one humanity based subject, and I think history would be the most interesting choice for me. And all group 3/4 standard courses assume no prior knowledge, so I'll be good!
0
reply
cdude
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#20
Report 5 years ago
#20
GCSEs dont really count for anything once you have a-levels

Wish i learnt that earlier haha
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

University open days

  • University of East Anglia
    Undergraduate Open Day Undergraduate
    Sun, 20 Oct '19
  • University for the Creative Arts
    Undergraduate Open Day Undergraduate
    Sun, 20 Oct '19
  • University of Gloucestershire
    Undergraduate Open Day Undergraduate
    Sun, 20 Oct '19

Have you made up your mind on your five uni choices?

Yes I know where I'm applying (86)
67.72%
No I haven't decided yet (25)
19.69%
Yes but I might change my mind (16)
12.6%

Watched Threads

View All
Latest
My Feed