Are my GCSE grades good enough to go to a top uni?

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SofiaD
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Hey , so recently for my GCSEs i got:
9 English Lit and Lang
8 Maths
A* History, Spanish and Re
A Triple Sciences, French, Business and Drama
(I've sent some to be remarked so hopefully those grade will change) But for now, are these grades good enough for universities such as Oxbridge, Durham, LSE etc I hope to do Law, are these grades good enough to stand out from the competition? I don't know anyone who goes to uni, so my knowledge of how it all works etc is very little...:/
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username1765117
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You can get into Oxbridge/top uni for sure. The competition will be very harsh though and while your grade are amazing there will be kids applying with 3 9s and 8 A*s and other ridiculous sets of grades at GCSE. Far more important however are A-levels and before that AS levels. In order to differentiate yourself you will need to work really hard at AS so you get all As and a super good reference from teachers. Also for Law you want to nail that personal statement and also an interview if you're asked for one.

To summarize you CAN definitely get into a top uni but don't think you're there yet by any means - you've only passed stage 1! good luck
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SofiaD
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(Original post by TheTree0fDeath)
You can get into Oxbridge/top uni for sure. The competition will be very harsh though and while your grade are amazing there will be kids applying with 3 9s and 8 A*s and other ridiculous sets of grades at GCSE. Far more important however are A-levels and before that AS levels. In order to differentiate yourself you will need to work really hard at AS so you get all As and a super good reference from teachers. Also for Law you want to nail that personal statement and also an interview if you're asked for one.

To summarize you CAN definitely get into a top uni but don't think you're there yet by any means - you've only passed stage 1! good luck
Thank you so much. This gave me hope! Can i ask, at what stage are you in the education system? I ask this because i need some advice on A levels too. I have four sixth form offers each of which offer different things. I know for a fact that exam boards such as AQA and Edexcel are much easier than OCR and Pre-U etc. And each sixth form offer different exam boards and the one i really like to go to purposefully offers subjects with hard exam boards. Should i still go?
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SofiaD
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(Original post by JohnGreek)
Looks good, but you have to keep in mind that there will be people with straight 8s/A*s applying in competition to you. Your grades work out broadly as A**A*A*A*A*AAAA, which is something along the lines of 6A*s 4As. It's a very good grade overall, but possibly weaker than that of the average offer holder at somewhere like Oxbridge.

Most of my fellow law students at LSE got 8-9A*s + a few As as well, but under the old system (I've seen this on Linkedin and past LSE Applicants threads). The ones who got less than that compensated for it with bad contextual data (poor neighbourhood, low rate of progression to uni, etc), as well as excellent Year 13 results (e.g. 42s in the IB, straight A*s at A-level, etc)

Do whichever exam board you think is easiest (assuming that you have a choice in the first place). Uni admissions teams can't really make sense of subtle nuances like that - hell, they can't even distinguish between GCSEs and IGCSEs!

If you like the sixth form that offers the harder exam boards, by all means go. It's equally important that you get good teaching, support, and a pleasant environment to work in, as it is to get a marginally easier set of exam questions at the end.
What do you think i should do? I will try and do fantastically for my A levels but are there things that i can do outside of school that will make the uni want me? Special societies, groups, activities, places that i should go and visit, people i should meet, work experiences that i should undertake? I want to undertake a law degree at uni and seeing as you're a law student at LSE, could you advice me on what you did that got you accepted to LSE. Or, if you know any law students with my sort of GCSEs, what did they do to get accepted? And do you know any law firms/places that i can go for work experience? I'm asking a lot from you :/ sorry but i really don't have anyone who can guide me as well as you can i appreciate it a lot!
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SofiaD
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[QUOTE=JohnGreek;73465802]Get the best possible predictions for A2 - that will definitely help

In terms of extracurriculars, you have to tie them into law somehow, be it in terms of hard knowledge/exposure or soft skills that can help you out. I did a lot of debating/MUN/European Youth Parliament, but there are other extracurriculars that can help, such as volunteering at law clinics over the holidays.

On the academic side, try writing academic stuff (preferably law or philosophy-related) for a school newspaper or journal (if available). Setting up your own paper sounds even more impressive, even if it doesn't succeed in the long run! Participating in essay competitions (Oxford has one; Cambridge has two or three) also helps, particularly if you get an award Finally, try going to public speeches that are somehow law-related. These may be hosted by the local university in your area, or by a charity or think-tank. There's lots of good stuff on EU law and human rights stuff at the moment. If you can get into London, go to one of LSE's public lectures. They are a lot more 'academic' than the Oxford Union's speeches (which are more politically focused and artsy), and are always open to members of the general public if you book early enough.

Get some work experience. I don't know a single person on my course who didn't have any before applying - I'm starting to suspect that it's a soft requirement for offer holders! It can be anything law related. A lot of people I know did work experience through insight schemes for Year 12/13 students, through social mobility schemes like Aspiring Solicitors, or, most commonly, through contacts in the legal profession. The particulars of the role don't matter. Make sure that you explain what you were intrigued by, and any noteable reactions you had to the work, in your personal statement. Make sure that they relate to the academic, not vocational side, of law.

The only gal I know with similar grades to you who got in Oxford did a fair bit of debating at national level (i.e. she was fairly elite), did lots of volunteering in Africa with a human rights NGO, plus got an outstanding LNAT score. If you're really into stalking people, create a fake Linkedin account (with a pseudonym), and stalk Oxbridge/LSE law students. Lots of them put up their school and uni grades, plus extracurriculars and work experience. It'll take time and make you feel insecure, but stalking is what Linkedin is for!

Spoiler:
Show




For instance, this is the search term for LSE law students and alumni. https://www.linkedin.com/school/6544.../?keywords=Law




Thank you so much again! You've been so helpful Can i do all this during Year 12 and 13 or will it be too late? When should i apply to uni? :/ With my GCSE grades, which uni would you apply to? (Also, can i contact you whenever i need advice? i don't want to bombard you with all my questions in one go )
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SofiaD
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[QUOTE=SofiaD;73472414][QUOTE=JohnGreek;73465802]Get the best possible predictions for A2 - that will definitely help

In terms of extracurriculars, you have to tie them into law somehow, be it in terms of hard knowledge/exposure or soft skills that can help you out. I did a lot of debating/MUN/European Youth Parliament, but there are other extracurriculars that can help, such as volunteering at law clinics over the holidays.

On the academic side, try writing academic stuff (preferably law or philosophy-related) for a school newspaper or journal (if available). Setting up your own paper sounds even more impressive, even if it doesn't succeed in the long run! Participating in essay competitions (Oxford has one; Cambridge has two or three) also helps, particularly if you get an award Finally, try going to public speeches that are somehow law-related. These may be hosted by the local university in your area, or by a charity or think-tank. There's lots of good stuff on EU law and human rights stuff at the moment. If you can get into London, go to one of LSE's public lectures. They are a lot more 'academic' than the Oxford Union's speeches (which are more politically focused and artsy), and are always open to members of the general public if you book early enough.

Get some work experience. I don't know a single person on my course who didn't have any before applying - I'm starting to suspect that it's a soft requirement for offer holders! It can be anything law related. A lot of people I know did work experience through insight schemes for Year 12/13 students, through social mobility schemes like Aspiring Solicitors, or, most commonly, through contacts in the legal profession. The particulars of the role don't matter. Make sure that you explain what you were intrigued by, and any noteable reactions you had to the work, in your personal statement. Make sure that they relate to the academic, not vocational side, of law.

The only gal I know with similar grades to you who got in Oxford did a fair bit of debating at national level (i.e. she was fairly elite), did lots of volunteering in Africa with a human rights NGO, plus got an outstanding LNAT score. If you're really into stalking people, create a fake Linkedin account (with a pseudonym), and stalk Oxbridge/LSE law students. Lots of them put up their school and uni grades, plus extracurriculars and work experience. It'll take time and make you feel insecure, but stalking is what Linkedin is for!

Spoiler:
Show





For instance, this is the search term for LSE law students and alumni. https://www.linkedin.com/school/6544.../?keywords=Law





Thank you so much again! You've been so helpful Can i do all this during Year 12 and 13 or will it be too late? When should i apply to uni? :/ With my GCSE grades, which uni would you apply to? Is the competition fierce for History at uni? Do you think i'm more likely to get accepted into the top universities if i applied to study History? And then afterwards, switch to do law? (Also, can i contact you whenever i need advice? i don't want to bombard you with all my questions in one go )
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SofiaD
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Is there an advantage if i did 4 a levels instead of 3? how many a levels have most law students done?
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SofiaD
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(Original post by JohnGreek)
To answer your questions in separate bullet points:

- It's best to do 4 A-levels if you can handle it. I've posted elsewhere a small theory I have about LSE's entry tariff being reflective of the fact that most A-level candidates do 4 A-levels. The same applies to all the other unis you mentioned.

- Do all of this during Year 12 and the summer leading into Year 13. You'll be forced to write your personal statement in September, and submit it in time for the Oxbridge 14th October deadline. It's annoying, but that means that you can't rely on anything you plan on doing during Year 13 :/ (at least for the universities that don't interview)

- With your grades, I'd do one of [Oxbridge], [LSE/UCL/KCL], [Durham] and then either another [A*AA uni + Exeter/Bristol] or [Exeter + Bristol]. This is assuming you can get near straight A* predictions at A-level. If not, downscale your choice somewhat - replace one of the A*AA unis with Warwick or something.

- Tbh, I've heard various theories on the non-law-to-law route. I'm personally at the opinion that there's no point in marginally upgrading your uni brand unless the upgrade is to Oxbridge (say, doing Oxford History instead of Durham Law). Others say that there is some difference in the top 10 unis or so for law, and so every little upgrade counts! Do bear in mind that getting into a humanity at Oxford will be as hard as, if not harder than, getting into law elsewhere.

It's alright, do post anything you want here, there are no messaging restrictions and the conversation may help others in your predicament (this thread has 250 views already).
omg that's so soon. wait, so i apply to unis at the start of year 12? i've got nothing interesting to put into my personal statement if i write it in september :/
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cricinfo
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On GCSE results day 2017 I got 7A*, 1A and 1B.

The A*s were in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Maths, English Language, Spanish and History. The A was in English Literature and the B in Media.

Do you guys think these results will be enough for Law at Cambridge/Oxford? I was a little worried as I myself took 9 GCSEs, while most of my friends took 10 or more (albeit a few did not pass some). Do Oxbridge look at A*s as a proportion, like a percentage (so I would have got about 78%), or as a number? I asked my teacher where I rated in my year and he said that I was probably in the top 2 or 3 (our year has about 30 pupils) which I guess is good as I heard Oxbridge look at your results relative to the class? If anyone has any advice then I'd be really thankful.
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returnmigrant
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(Why dont you just check out some Uni websites yourself? On the courses pages for Law they will TELL you what minimum GCSE grades they want. It isnt some sort of state secret. Stop being lazy.)
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username3044948
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Wow everyone got such good grades and there I Am with my 5 A*s 4As and 2Bs 😩 And I got to a grammar school 😭
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SofiaD
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(Original post by cricinfo)
On GCSE results day 2017 I got 7A*, 1A and 1B.

The A*s were in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Maths, English Language, Spanish and History. The A was in English Literature and the B in Media.

Do you guys think these results will be enough for Law at Cambridge/Oxford? I was a little worried as I myself took 9 GCSEs, while most of my friends took 10 or more (albeit a few did not pass some). Do Oxbridge look at A*s as a proportion, like a percentage (so I would have got about 78%), or as a number? I asked my teacher where I rated in my year and he said that I was probably in the top 2 or 3 (our year has about 30 pupils) which I guess is good as I heard Oxbridge look at your results relative to the class? If anyone has any advice then I'd be really thankful.
hey, i saw you on the other thread and you asked the same thing anyway, from the sounds of things, you've got nothing to worry about - unlike me
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SofiaD
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Ffs life's so stressful -_-
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cricinfo
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(Original post by SofiaD)
hey, i saw you on the other thread and you asked the same thing anyway, from the sounds of things, you've got nothing to worry about - unlike me
Thanks! Sorry I've been stressing way too much about my results. I'm sure you'll be fine as well
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Ruby1997
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(Original post by returnmigrant)
(Why dont you just check out some Uni websites yourself? On the courses pages for Law they will TELL you what minimum GCSE grades they want. It isnt some sort of state secret. Stop being lazy.)
I think it's more that people like to brag on here when they know they got exceptional grades
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SofiaD
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(Original post by cricinfo)
Thanks! Sorry I've been stressing way too much about my results. I'm sure you'll be fine as well
mate, you have no idea how much i've been stressing out
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Ruby1997
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(Original post by lightbulb22)
Wow everyone got such good grades and there I Am with my 5 A*s 4As and 2Bs 😩 And I got to a grammar school 😭
Lol this has to be a joke. They're incredible grades & you know it
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SofiaD
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with all respect ruby, people have different standards and expectations. whilst you might find lightbulb's grades fantastic, he/she may not and they are entitled to that opinion.
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username3044948
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(Original post by Ruby1997)
Lol this has to be a joke. They're incredible grades & you know it
BUt are they incredible enough for medicine ?
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SofiaD
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however, that being said, we SHOULD all be grateful of our achievement BUT like i said, every person respectfully expect a certain amount from themselves
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