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How many GCSEs do I need to take? watch

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    I'm 16 and I'm an international student, I'm moving to UK before I graduate from high school in my own country therefore I won't have any certificates from my own country.

    How many GCSEs do I need to take?

    I know I need at least three A-Levels.

    Also what books do you recommend? Are the Edexcel and AQA student books the ones I need? Should I look into something more?

    I am planning to study everything myself, except for English, as I need help with essay writing. But if I won't be enrolled in any school, will I still be able to apply to university?
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    Most universities require 5A*-C grades, including Maths and English.
    Of course, the more, the better.
    What uni do you intend to apply for?
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    (Original post by octoberrain)
    Most universities require 5A*-C grades, including Maths and English.
    Of course, the more, the better.
    What uni do you intend to apply for?
    Well, I am going to apply to 5 universities (I think that's the maximum?). Probably I will apply to 2 prestigious universities, like Oxford, Cambridge or Imperial and two other top universities such as Leeds or King's College and then one non-top university just in case.

    I am still deciding whether I'm going to apply for Computer Science or Psychology. But I have quite a few years of time still.
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    (Original post by therobertdaniel)
    Well, I am going to apply to 5 universities (I think that's the maximum?). Probably I will apply to 2 prestigious universities, like Oxford, Cambridge or Imperial and two other top universities such as Leeds or King's College and then one non-top university just in case.

    I am still deciding whether I'm going to apply for Computer Science or Psychology. But I have quite a few years of time still.
    For Oxbridge you need loads of GCSEs... Most applicants offer about 10A* (not sure about this so don't blame me).

    Are you sure you need them, though, having done that stage of school in another country? Is it not equivalent somehow?
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    (Original post by octoberrain)
    For Oxbridge you need loads of GCSEs... Most applicants offer about 10A* (not sure about this so don't blame me).

    Are you sure you need them, though, having done that stage of school in another country? Is it not equivalent somehow?
    Well, unfortunately, in my country, in my school, there was no middle stage. So I literally don't have any certificates. I mean if I need to take 10 GCSEs and ace them, I can probably do that. It's only the time sacrifice that I'm worried about, so that's why I want to know. How much of a difference will it make whether I take 3, 5, 8 or 10 GCSEs?

    I do have rather unique outside school achievements and extracurriculars. I also have plenty of time left until university and I am probably going to start a company before that, potentially build apps and some kinds of software as well, which should increase my odds a bit.
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    If you're thinking of a top university, then I'd around at least 10 GCSEs, probably a couple more. I think for oxbridge you need A*A*A for most STEM subjects and A*AA for others (at least for Cambridge)

    Also the book you get for work, like Edexcel, depends on what your exam board is. If you're doing say AQA physics, then you'd want an AQA book as it should include everything in your specification.
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    (Original post by therobertdaniel)
    I do have rather unique outside school achievements and extracurriculars. I also have plenty of time left until university and I am probably going to start a company before that, potentially build apps and some kinds of software as well, which should increase my odds a bit.
    Sorry to tell you this, but most universities don't care about your extra-curriculars.
    10 GCSEs is probably the average number of GCSEs that people in the UK take, and having this many would be good. For those universities you need to be aiming for top grades.
    As for textbooks, it depends on what exam board you're taking your GCSEs on. For example, it's no good having the AQA physics textbook if you're doing OCR/Edexcel.
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    (Original post by llamaspoon)
    Sorry to tell you this, but most universities don't care about your extra-curriculars.
    10 GCSEs is probably the average number of GCSEs that people in the UK take, and having this many would be good. For those universities you need to be aiming for top grades.
    As for textbooks, it depends on what exam board you're taking your GCSEs on. For example, it's no good having the AQA physics textbook if you're doing OCR/Edexcel.
    Well, I do know Cambridge considers individuality and that they do care about what you do outside school. Also, it would only make sense if most other top universities would also care about extra-curriculars, since they get lots of candidates with perfect grades, they need a way to decide between them.
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    (Original post by therobertdaniel)
    Well, I do know Cambridge considers individuality and that they do care about what you do outside school. Also, it would only make sense if most other top universities would also care about extra-curriculars, since they get lots of candidates with perfect grades, they need a way to decide between them.
    Normally, extra-curriculars are only considered if directly relevant to your degree (I cannot speak on behalf of Cambridge, though). I do agree that universities should give more weighting to this part of the application.
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    (Original post by llamaspoon)
    Sorry to tell you this, but most universities don't care about your extra-curriculars.
    10 GCSEs is probably the average number of GCSEs that people in the UK take, and having this many would be good. For those universities you need to be aiming for top grades.
    As for textbooks, it depends on what exam board you're taking your GCSEs on. For example, it's no good having the AQA physics textbook if you're doing OCR/Edexcel.
    What GCSEs should I take besides English and Maths?
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    (Original post by therobertdaniel)
    What GCSEs should I take besides English and Maths?
    I would suggest taking two English GCSEs, English Language and English Literature. Then along with Maths, I would say Biology, Chemistry and Physics. If you can , take a language. Then any others you would like to do. ICT/Computing, RE, History and Geography are all solid choices that many people choose.
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    (Original post by therobertdaniel)
    What GCSEs should I take besides English and Maths?
    If you're worried about time pressure try to do 8 GCSEs but you'll probably have to try and get A*s in all, although they might cut you some slack because you can't get exam technique etc from teachers. If you do 8 a pretty standard set would be Maths, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, English language, English Literature, one modern foreign language then two others. History and Geography are pretty popular, though if you're religious RS could be good, any creative subjects could be hard logistically however as they involve a lot of coursework.

    You'll probably need to try and get a tutor to help you with exam technique etc if you really want top grades though.
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    (Original post by therobertdaniel)
    ...
    How many GCSEs do I need to take?
    (Original post by therobertdaniel)
    Probably I will apply to 2 prestigious universities, like Oxford, Cambridge or Imperial <snip> I am still deciding whether I'm going to apply for Computer Science or Psychology. But I have quite a few years of time still.
    Hi. This is an Oxford CompSci answer, so I hope it's useful to you.

    (Original post by octoberrain)
    For Oxbridge you need loads of GCSEs... Most applicants offer about 10A* (not sure about this so don't blame me).
    Sorry, but that's just not true. There no GCSE requirements for Oxford. Yes we do look at your GCSE scores, if a candidate has them but many applicants, especially those from overseas don't have them. The idea that to get in you have to have 10A*s to get into all Oxford degrees is a total myth. Yes there will be some candidates with grades like that, but it's by no means the average. For CompSci offer holders (who took GCSEs) the average is about 5-6A*s. We talk about this here. Schools do things differently so student comes to us with different number of GCSEs. The exact number won't have any bearing on your application, so don't worry about it.

    We talk about what tutors are looking for here.


    (Original post by therobertdaniel)
    it would only make sense if most other top universities would also care about extra-curriculars, since they get lots of candidates with perfect grades, they need a way to decide between them.
    Tutors make the admissions decisions based on your academic abilities and potential alone: extra-curricular activities do not form part of the selection criteria in any subject. We aren't looking for any specific computing knowledge, but we are looking for people with a genuine interest in the subject. So we do want to hear about your computing- and maths-related experiences. Your super-curricular activities (subject-related undertakings that could be anything from summer schools to competitions, background reading to programming experience) can help us build an overall picture about you. We don't have a checklist of things we want you to have completed: we'd rather hear about what you've chosen to do, and what excited you about it. It doesn't have to be earth-shatteringly original. We talk about this more here. However, elements of the application process, such as the MAT test which all of our applicants sit, and the interviews will have far more influence on if you win a place or not. The same MAT paper is sat by all of the applicants on the same day, so that really does help us to differentiate between candidates.

    Hope that helps.
 
 
 
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