Aspiring Oxford PPE'ist feeling disheartened by GCSE results. Help?

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FrankieTWright
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At GCSE I got 3 a*'s (counting 8 as a*'s) 5 a's and 3 B's. I've read everywhere that Oxford place a lot of emphasis on GCSE results, and because of this I am currently feeling very disheartened. At A level I am taking History, Maths, Govment and pol and sociology, with an EPQ. I always had my heart set on oxford PPE or Law, but am now concerned that my slightly mediocre results have dashed those chances, I have plenty of relevant work experience (barrister shadowing, Bar mock trial competing, political volunteering etc) but I can't help thinking that i won't even be considered with my grades. I'm looking for advice from sixth former's, or Oxford students with experience in this area to help me get a better picture of where I stand in terms of potential Oxford acceptance. As a side note my sixth form are continuing AS level testing so I will have other grades beside my GCSE'S and predicted A-levels on my UCAS form. Any advice or help is greatly appreciated and hope others are feeling more satisfied with their results than I am.
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bookloverlolly
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(Original post by FrankieTWright)
At GCSE I got 3 a*'s (counting 8 as a*'s) 5 a's and 3 B's. I've read everywhere that Oxford place a lot of emphasis on GCSE results, and because of this I am currently feeling very disheartened. At A level I am taking History, Maths, Govment and pol and sociology, with an EPQ. I always had my heart set on oxford PPE or Law, but am now concerned that my slightly mediocre results have dashed those chances, I have plenty of relevant work experience (barrister shadowing, Bar mock trial competing, political volunteering etc) but I can't help thinking that i won't even be considered with my grades. I'm looking for advice from sixth former's, or Oxford students with experience in this area to help me get a better picture of where I stand in terms of potential Oxford acceptance. As a side note my sixth form are continuing AS level testing so I will have other grades beside my GCSE'S and predicted A-levels on my UCAS form. Any advice or help is greatly appreciated and hope others are feeling more satisfied with their results than I am.
Disclaimer- not an Oxford student or Sixth Form attendee but I've received advice. I felt disheartened at my 2A*s, 6As, my 5 or 6 (remarking in progress) and... a D in German, which may also be remarked to a C but maybe not yet.

I've asked about this one grade that I felt would interfere. It won't, especially since it has no relevance to my degree. No one gets pushed aside and ignored because of GCSEs- not even at Oxford. The emphasis is over exaggerated- TSA, personal statements etc. matter much more. Your work experience definitely gives you a lot to talk about. You'll be fine- especially if your AS tests are good. Focus on those.
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Lockra
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This was me a year ago. I gave up on the PPE dream a few months later and the Oxbridge dream all together a few weeks ago.

If you went to a really awful school those GCSEs wouldn't really be a problem, but, based on the fact that you're taking pol next year and did all that great work experience, I doubt it.

I'm sorry to be a downer. Work really hard next year. Maybe you'll get in, stranger things have happened. And remember, the amount of politicians doing PPE/Going to Oxbridge is always decreasing. You don't need it to succeed.

Best of wishes, don't let the naysayers get you down too soon. You'll probably start getting told that you can't do Oxbridge by your teachers in the coming year, and it'll upset you. Live the fantasy until it becomes unhealthy. It's nice.
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Caitlan
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(Original post by FrankieTWright)
At GCSE I got 3 a*'s (counting 8 as a*'s) 5 a's and 3 B's. I've read everywhere that Oxford place a lot of emphasis on GCSE results, and because of this I am currently feeling very disheartened. At A level I am taking History, Maths, Govment and pol and sociology, with an EPQ. I always had my heart set on oxford PPE or Law, but am now concerned that my slightly mediocre results have dashed those chances, I have plenty of relevant work experience (barrister shadowing, Bar mock trial competing, political volunteering etc) but I can't help thinking that i won't even be considered with my grades. I'm looking for advice from sixth former's, or Oxford students with experience in this area to help me get a better picture of where I stand in terms of potential Oxford acceptance. As a side note my sixth form are continuing AS level testing so I will have other grades beside my GCSE'S and predicted A-levels on my UCAS form. Any advice or help is greatly appreciated and hope others are feeling more satisfied with their results than I am.
Apply! I have lawyer and PPE-ist friends with similar results. It's only one UCAS slot anyhow.
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FrankieTWright
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I'm just worried that because of my grades it'd be a wasted spot, and I might be better off applying to Cambridge for Law or Economics where the chance of interview is much higher, and the emphasis on GCSE's is much lower.
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staywithme
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Hey! I'm starting uni at Oxford in October (different subject though) but have plenty of friends who were in your situation.

Please do not be disheartened! For a start, you have good GCSE grades - I know people with lower (my own brother) included who still received offers/got accepted. AS results, as they were, and A2 predictions are really what matter - and tbh, I don't particularly know why Oxford has a reputation for caring LOADS about GCSEs. The main emphasis I can see is on interviews, personal statements and entrance tests - for PPE your TSA score (entrance exam) will be important (my subject has the TSA too).

Please don't let GCSE grades put you off. If you are asked about them, don't try to make up excuses. You had a hard year with your GCSEs due to the new reforms and tutors are aware of this!

Hope this helps & if you have any more questions, let me know!


-- E
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Radicalist
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(Original post by staywithme)
Hey! I'm starting uni at Oxford in October (different subject though) but have plenty of friends who were in your situation.

Please do not be disheartened! For a start, you have good GCSE grades - I know people with lower (my own brother) included who still received offers/got accepted. AS results, as they were, and A2 predictions are really what matter - and tbh, I don't particularly know why Oxford has a reputation for caring LOADS about GCSEs. The main emphasis I can see is on interviews, personal statements and entrance tests - for PPE your TSA score (entrance exam) will be important (my subject has the TSA too).

Please don't let GCSE grades put you off. If you are asked about them, don't try to make up excuses. You had a hard year with your GCSEs due to the new reforms and tutors are aware of this!

Hope this helps & if you have any more questions, let me know!


-- E
Really have to agree with this. Got 2 A*'s myself at GCSE and was invited to interview last year (and that was with only 3 A's for predicteds too).

Oxford place real weight on A level predictions, entrance examinations and interviews. I didn't get in last year because I messed up my economics interview - it was nothing to do with my GCSE's.

At the end of the day some people intellectually develop or mature later than others and what Oxford cares about first and foremost is the applicant in front of them today, not the who the applicant was two years prior. If there is evidence (like A level predictions or entrance exam scores) that you are right now of the calibre required then they will interview you regardless, so apply on my friend!
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pathetic fallacy
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I'd like to reinforce what everyone else has said.

Although Oxford do care more than Cambridge about GCSEs, provided you do well on the TSA, have the right predicted grades and a good personal statement they won't hinder you from getting an interview. Although, I would say they place a hell of a lot of emphasis on the TSA for PPE, so if you need help deciding I would try a practise paper and see whether you intuitively understand the questions and see yourself scoring well on it (65+ will get an interview) in the timed conditions.

Best of luck.
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