How important are GCSEs for oxbridge? Watch

Charlster12
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Hi, so I will admit I was not the best study in secondary school and while I did come out with decent results (1 A and 9B's) I probably could have done better if I'd tried. I'm currently predicted AAA at A-level and am planing to do an EPQ next year. If i achieve these result do you think i could get into oxbridge of do they put a lot of stock into GCSEs?
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SteamboatMickey
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Oxford do, Cambridge don’t, but both take into consideration your application as a whole so even at Oxford low performance at GCSE doesn’t rule you out completely. You must just compensate in other areas.

I achieved A*A*A*BBBCCDE at GCSE & A*A*A* at A-Level and I’m currently at Cambridge.
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username3731912
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(Original post by Charlster12)
Hi, so I will admit I was not the best study in secondary school and while I did come out with decent results (1 A and 9B's) I probably could have done better if I'd tried. I'm currently predicted AAA at A-level and am planing to do an EPQ next year. If i achieve these result do you think i could get into oxbridge of do they put a lot of stock into GCSEs?
1) Try to exceed your predictions. The minimum A-Level requirements at Cambridge are A*AA but at Oxford they're AAA so if you achieve AAA you won't meet the requirements at Cam.

2) Oxford do place quite a large emphasis at GCSE. Cambridge consider GCSEs obviously, and more so than most universities because they can, but 1A and 9Bs (even though they're good grades) aren't quite up to Oxford standards. It depends on the competitiveness of the course and your contextual background. If you choose Ox over Cam, consider that the average Oxford applicant has something like at least 4A*s at GCSE.
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Sinnoh
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Good A-level performance can easily make up for less than exceptional GCSEs.
However, for Oxford medicine specifically, they make the initial shortlist based on GCSE and BMAT performance, so if that's your course of choice then it would be extremely unlikely.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by Charlster12)
Hi, so I will admit I was not the best study in secondary school and while I did come out with decent results (1 A and 9B's) I probably could have done better if I'd tried. I'm currently predicted AAA at A-level and am planing to do an EPQ next year. If i achieve these result do you think i could get into oxbridge of do they put a lot of stock into GCSEs?
Which subject(s)?

GCSEs are a factor for Oxford, but the admissions tests are a bigger one. Your 'A' level predictions could be a bigger issue, depending upon the entry requirements for the particular course.
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ZdYnm8vuNR
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(Original post by anonymous1231231)
1) Try to exceed your predictions. The minimum A-Level requirements at Cambridge are A*AA but at Oxford they're AAA so if you achieve AAA you won't meet the requirements at Cam.

2) Oxford do place quite a large emphasis at GCSE. Cambridge consider GCSEs obviously, and more so than most universities because they can, but 1A and 9Bs (even though they're good grades) aren't quite up to Oxford standards. It depends on the competitiveness of the course and your contextual background. If you choose Ox over Cam, consider that the average Oxford applicant has something like at least 4A*s at GCSE.
iirc the average oxford applicant has 9.5 A*s
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Doones
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(Original post by Charlster12)
Hi, so I will admit I was not the best study in secondary school and while I did come out with decent results (1 A and 9B's) I probably could have done better if I'd tried. I'm currently predicted AAA at A-level and am planing to do an EPQ next year. If i achieve these result do you think i could get into oxbridge of do they put a lot of stock into GCSEs?
It *entirely* depends on which course you are considering. So which one is it?
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AletheaW
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(Original post by Charlster12)
Hi, so I will admit I was not the best study in secondary school and while I did come out with decent results (1 A and 9B's) I probably could have done better if I'd tried. I'm currently predicted AAA at A-level and am planing to do an EPQ next year. If i achieve these result do you think i could get into oxbridge of do they put a lot of stock into GCSEs?
I might actually be able to shed some new light on this issue. This summer me and some friends attended the Sutton Trust schools at Cambridge. We had an opportunity to sit down with the Admissions Tutors, someone asked a similar question to you and the Tutors admitted that there would gradually be a shift toward placing greater emphasis on GCSE's in the coming years because of the nature of the new A levels, they no longer have achieved grades from the first year of AS to assess a persons performance so they said that they have now been told to place greater weight on GCSE performance-so looks like Cambridge might start to follow Oxfords approach to GCSE's
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Doones
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(Original post by ZdYnm8vuNR)
iirc the average oxford applicant has 9.5 A*s
Depends on the course - that sounds like a Medicine stat. For Law it's about 5.5.
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AletheaW
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(Original post by SteamboatMickey)
Oxford do, Cambridge don’t, but both take into consideration your application as a whole so even at Oxford low performance at GCSE doesn’t rule you out completely. You must just compensate in other areas.

I achieved A*A*A*BBBCCDE at GCSE & A*A*A* at A-Level and I’m currently at Cambridge.
Did you have extenuating circumstances or study at a state school?
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Doones
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(Original post by AletheaW)
I might actually be able to shed some new light on this issue. This summer me and some friends attended the Sutton Trust schools at Cambridge. We had an opportunity to sit down with the Admissions Tutors, someone asked a similar question to you and the Tutors admitted that there would gradually be a shift toward placing greater emphasis on GCSE's in the coming years because of the nature of the new A levels, they no longer have achieved grades from the first year of AS to assess a persons performance so they said that they have now been told to place greater weight on GCSE performance-so looks like Cambridge might start to follow Oxfords approach to GCSE's
Which Admissions Tutors were they?

Cambridge introduced their new Admissions Assessments as a response to the loss of UMS information when AS/A2 was reformed, and have previously published data that shows GCSEs aren't a very good predictor of Tripos success for most courses, hence why they don't put much emphasis on GCSE attainment.
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Infinite Series
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I agree with SteamboatMickey's point, but she had extenuating circumstances so they wouldn't have cared much about her GCSE grades anyway.

I have a friend who applied for Economics this year at Cambridge with 11A*s at GCSE, predicted 3A*s at A-Level but didn't even get an interview as he underperformed in the admissions test. So I don't think Cambridge put too much emphasis on GCSEs, even for competitive courses as I believe a solid performance in the admissions test can make up for low GCSEs.
So it's still possible for you to get in to Cambridge, but you must smash every other part of the application to stand a chance.
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AletheaW
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Which Admissions Tutors were they?

Cambridge introduced their new Admissions Assessments as a response to the loss of UMS information when AS/A2 was reformed, and have previously published data that shows GCSEs aren't a very good predictor of Tripos success for most courses, hence why they don't put much emphasis on GCSE attainment.
I don't know their names but there was a selection from several different colleges e.g Kings, Sidney Sussex, Newnham etc.
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sjbelkin
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Depends on the course - that sounds like a Medicine stat. For Law it's about 5.5.
Do you by any chance know the average number of a* at gcse for psychology? thank you very much!
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Doones
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(Original post by sjbelkin)
Do you by any chance know the average number of a* at gcse for psychology? thank you very much!
(Original post by sjbelkin)
Do you by any chance know the average number of a* at gcse for psychology? thank you very much!
whatdotheyknow can be a useful resource for that kind of question
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...try_statistics

But again, GCSEs are just one part of the equation. For Oxford EP the TSA is important too.
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sjbelkin
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
whatdotheyknow can be a useful resource for that kind of question
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...try_statistics

But again, GCSEs are just one part of the equation. For Oxford EP the TSA is important too.
Thank you! The website is really helpful
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Doones
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(Original post by AletheaW)
I don't know their names but there was a selection from several different colleges e.g Kings, Sidney Sussex, Newnham etc.
Well the rest of my reply still applies. I wonder if they were actually ATs... the data doesn't support the proposition.
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Doones
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(Original post by sjbelkin)
Thank you! The website is really helpful - is there an equivalent one for Cambridge psychology? Thanks again
You'd need to search whatdotheyknow for similar FOI requests. And, again, be cautious about inferring too much from this data. Correlation doesn't necessarily indicate causation... the PBSAA is also a factor, as is the rest of your application, moreso than GCSEs.
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AletheaW
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Well the rest of my reply still applies. I wonder if they were actually ATs... the data doesn't support the proposition.
It definitely wasn't the answer any of us where expecting to hear-I'm guessing that in the coming years there will be a gradual attitude change towards GCSEs? Who knows, and I'm pretty they were Admissions Tutors-some are interviewing my friends this year
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SteamboatMickey
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(Original post by AletheaW)
Did you have extenuating circumstances or study at a state school?
I had extenuating circumstances and did go to a state school. However, I would have gone to a private school had I been well enough to actually attend school continuously, but my extenuating circumstances (medical issues) prevented that.
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