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    I put this in the "Am I good enough for Cambridge" grades thread, but I wanted to get a couple more answers, so I hope it's not too much of a pain.

    Here is what I put:

    I have a couple of B's and C's at GCSE (more than I have A*'s), but I do have extenuating circumstances and I am talented at the subject I am wanting to apply for. (My mum wants me to go to Cambridge if there is a chance, and not pass up the opportunity).

    Are my grades good enough for Cambridge, History (Or maybe English Literature - I am adoring it as well at AS Level, but most likely History)?

    GCSES: A*A*A*BBBCC

    (100% at GCSE History, almost 100% in both English's) (C's in Math and Chemistry, B's in Media, Biology and Physics)

    Extenuating circumstances - I have a medical problem so I missed the majority of KS3 (Years 7-9) and a lot of Year 10 as I couldn't walk, therefore I probably could've done better, but I spent the majority of my time at school trying to catch up. Also, I had a bereavement as my Grandad died in the March before my GCSES. (Earlier this year).
    I went to a non-selective comprehensive/academy/it changed its name a multitude of times whilst I attended, school if that means anything. I think it had a 70% pass rate this year; which I suppose is pretty good.

    I would like to apply for History, I am currently doing AS-Levels.

    Taken AS-Levels:
    History
    English Literature
    English Language
    and
    Biology

    Other information: I wrote an A-Level Standard History essay at the age of 12 on the Roman Empire, so I'm talented in the subject, which is why I believe I may have a chance? But I don't have the desired 4-8 A*'s. I do have extenuating circumstances, and I am going to try really hard to get A*A*A at the end of A2. (If anyone has any tips, they'd be appreciated). I also have a sort-of apprenticeship and possible publishing deal with the Walt Disney History Institute in the United States.

    So is it worth applying to Cambridge with less than stellar GCSES, could high AS Levels make up for it? I'm working extremely hard, so if per chance i get high AS Levels then I would like to apply.
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    There are no GCSE requirements for Cambridge. Obviously, doing well is never a bad thing but your grades are pretty good, and with extenuating circumstances, certainly. Plus, your A*'s are in relevant subjects. The most important thing now is to do well in AS/A-Level, as this will be your most recent result. If you do well at AS (if you're taking AS exams), certainly go for it. There are several aspects to an application and GCSE is only one part.
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    (Original post by Paralove)
    There are no GCSE requirements for Cambridge. Obviously, doing well is never a bad thing but your grades are pretty good, and with extenuating circumstances, certainly. Plus, your A*'s are in relevant subjects. The most important thing now is to do well in AS/A-Level, as this will be your most recent result. If you do well at AS (if you're taking AS exams), certainly go for it. There are several aspects to an application and GCSE is only one part.
    Thanks very much

    I am working hard so provided it all goes to plan, I should have stronger AS Results. However, because of the new linear system, would emphasis be placed more on my GCSEs and would this be a potential problem? Most applicants have 4 to 5 A's and A*'s, although getting under is not the be all and end all. I just don't want to aim for something that is just impossible to actually achieve. I guess I could aim for A*A*A for A2, and three A's for AS with as high UMS as possible.

    Sorry about the questions and the worrying!
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    (Original post by SteamboatMickey)
    Thanks very much

    I am working hard so provided it all goes to plan, I should have stronger AS Results. However, because of the new linear system, would emphasis be placed more on my GCSEs and would this be a potential problem? Most applicants have 4 to 5 A's and A*'s, although getting under is not the be all and end all. I just don't want to aim for something that is just impossible to actually achieve. I guess I could aim for A*A*A for A2, and three A's for AS with as high UMS as possible.

    Sorry about the questions and the worrying!
    Cambridge looks at applicants as either 'continuous high achiever' or 'upward trajectory' and they appreciate the latter because, really, they care most about your most recent academic performance, which would be your AS results.

    It's unclear what they're going to do for 2017 admissions because of the linear A Levels. I've heard talk of bringing back entrance exams, using the GCSEs more, or some other thing. However, it's all speculation at this point and Cambridge hasn't been clear on what exactly it will do. The reason they're struggling is because, while most of their applicants will be doing the AS anyway, not every school is retaining it so, they reason, it's not really fair on those who don't have the opportunity to do the AS for it to count against them in the admissions process.

    Watch out for any announcements on UCAS.
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    Cambridge looks at applicants as either 'continuous high achiever' or 'upward trajectory' and they appreciate the latter because, really, they care most about your most recent academic performance, which would be your AS results.

    It's unclear what they're going to do for 2017 admissions because of the linear A Levels. I've heard talk of bringing back entrance exams, using the GCSEs more, or some other thing. However, it's all speculation at this point and Cambridge hasn't been clear on what exactly it will do. The reason they're struggling is because, while most of their applicants will be doing the AS anyway, not every school is retaining it so, they reason, it's not really fair on those who don't have the opportunity to do the AS for it to count against them in the admissions process.

    Watch out for any announcements on UCAS.
    It won't be that - they've already got the data that shows GCSEs aren't a good predictor for most courses.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    It won't be that - they've already got the data that shows GCSEs aren't a good predictor for most courses.
    Yes, but it's speculation either way. We don't know whether it will be that or it won't be that because, until now, they've had the luxury of having a better predictor of success at degree level in the form of AS UMS. Now that not all applicants will have that, they'll need to find something else that is common to all applicants, which might be entrance exams, or it might be GCSEs or something else. GCSEs might not be a good predictor in absolute terms but, under the circumstances, one has to consider whether it is the best available predictor that is common to all applicants.

    That said, they might deal with it however they've dealt with applications from those with Scottish qualifications in the past, since they're only required to submit their grades, not their marks. We just don't know.
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    (Original post by Hydeman)
    Yes, but it's speculation either way. We don't know whether it will be that or it won't be that because, until now, they've had the luxury of having a better predictor of success at degree level in the form of AS UMS. Now that not all applicants will have that, they'll need to find something else that is common to all applicants, which might be entrance exams, or it might be GCSEs or something else. GCSEs might not be a good predictor in absolute terms but, under the circumstances, one has to consider whether it is the best available predictor that is common to all applicants.

    That said, they might deal with it however they've dealt with applications from those with Scottish qualifications in the past, since they're only required to submit their grades, not their marks. We just don't know.
    Yes it's speculation but they are more likely to increase their use of tests etc than regress to a less reliable indicator.
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    (Original post by SteamboatMickey)
    Thanks very much

    I am working hard so provided it all goes to plan, I should have stronger AS Results. However, because of the new linear system, would emphasis be placed more on my GCSEs and would this be a potential problem? Most applicants have 4 to 5 A's and A*'s, although getting under is not the be all and end all. I just don't want to aim for something that is just impossible to actually achieve. I guess I could aim for A*A*A for A2, and three A's for AS with as high UMS as possible.

    Sorry about the questions and the worrying!
    It is certainly not impossible. The admissions process is holistic - everything is looked at in context, because of the variations faced by e.g. the school you go to, things happening in your own life etc. As for when you apply, it is pretty much certain the process might change a little, the general consensus is that it would involve admissions tests (though most college have these in some form for a lot of subjects anyway), but as said above, nothing has been announced yet, and afaik won't be until next year. I know the University are not happy about the reforms not just to A-Level but also GCSE (new grading system etc), which will make it hard for them in terms of admissions. But really, just don't worry for now, focus on your AS's.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Yes it's speculation but they are more likely to increase their use of tests etc than regress to a less reliable indicator.
    I think one can draw conclusions from IB. They do say they place more weight on GCSEs and are less likely to give the benefit of the doubt. They give higher offers and more students miss their IB offers because the predictions are also less reliable.
    Undoubtedly they will take note of AS where they exist, as they do now. Like you I think we will see a trend to more admissions tests. However they have not been overly impressed with TSA or LNAT. Only the BMAT and language grammar tests really have proved their worth.

    I suspect that certain courses such as Law & Economics will move to A*A*A offers. Maybe even a Maths system of A*A*A* for NatSci with an increased amount of summer pool offers to marginal misses.
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    (Original post by Colmans)
    I think one can draw conclusions from IB. They do say they place more weight on GCSEs and are less likely to give the benefit of the doubt. They give higher offers and more students miss their IB offers because the predictions are also less reliable.
    Undoubtedly they will take note of AS where they exist, as they do now. Like you I think we will see a trend to more admissions tests. However they have not been overly impressed with TSA or LNAT. Only the BMAT and language grammar tests really have proved their worth.

    I suspect that certain courses such as Law & Economics will move to A*A*A offers. Maybe even a Maths system of A*A*A* for NatSci with an increased amount of summer pool offers to marginal misses.
    An increased use of the summer pool could well be the way to go, but would prolong the agony for many. Not ideal...

    (Agree about Economics and Law though..)

    The new CompSci test might also be an indicator of the direction.
 
 
 
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