Do GCSEs actually matter ? Watch

harrysbar
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(Original post by Tolgarda)
If the OP is aiming for a top university, then the most recent objective evidence for their academic ability will be the admission tests. If the university isn't a top university that doesn't use this screening process, then I don't see why they might be worried about grades, as universities in the lower ranks probably won't require high ones.
The vast majority of top Unis don't do admission tests for subjects outside medicine and (less often) law. OP didn't mention applying to Oxbridge but even if they are, GCSEs will still be of interest to the the Admissions officers (especially Oxford, but the average Cambridge applicant still has mostly A*/A grades at GCSE)
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Tolgarda
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(Original post by harrysbar)
The vast majority of top Unis don't do admission tests for subjects outside medicine and (less often) law. OP didn't mention applying to Oxbridge but even if they are, GCSEs will still be of interest to the the Admissions officers (especially Oxford, but the average Cambridge applicant still has mostly A*/A grades at GCSE)
GCSEs will be of interest for top universities, but if there is an admission test, which Oxbridge and other top universities have for competitive courses, then that will probably have priority in terms of evidence of academic ability. It will be the most recent and directly related to the course that the applicant wants to study.

I'd say that GCSEs are a little more important than they were previously, provided the applicant isn't applying for competitive courses at top universities. If the applicant is, things are just about the same as they were before. They are important, but they really don't matter all a big deal if you can show that you have improved and matured over the last year if you apply for competitive courses that require further screening.
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RuneFreeze
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#43
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(Original post by harrysbar)
The vast majority of top Unis don't do admission tests for subjects outside medicine and (less often) law. OP didn't mention applying to Oxbridge but even if they are, GCSEs will still be of interest to the the Admissions officers (especially Oxford, but the average Cambridge applicant still has mostly A*/A grades at GCSE)
If you want anecdotal evidence for this not being necessarily true I got an offer to study Maths at Cambridge with 5 A's, two B's, an 8 in Maths and a 4/6 in Language/Literature respectively.

You have to remember that most applicants to Cambridge who can do well in the interview and admissions test will likely have high GCSE's anyway; it's impossible to separate out causation from correlation.

The bottom line is that most universities certainly don't give a monkeys about your GCSE's (they wan't your $$$$). The only exception is a lot of medicine courses and Oxford and Imperial College (who explicitly say they put a high weighting on GCSE's). Even then, the admissions test counts for more.
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MedicPerson
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Imo no not really. A levels are waaaaaaaaaaay more important. For example I only 4A's an A* and 4B's (I did the new gcses too for Eng and Maths). But I managed to get an offer from a medical school, an interview at another one too, as well as an offer for pharmacy at a Russel group uni.

Getting all A's and A*s isn't really needed - it does make applying so much ****ing easier though.

So in general. No not really, GCSES don't matter as long as you don't fail them. If you fail your gcses, your kinda ****ed tho...
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Tolgarda)
GCSEs will be of interest for top universities, but if there is an admission test, which Oxbridge and other top universities have for competitive courses, then that will probably have priority in terms of evidence of academic ability. It will be the most recent and directly related to the course that the applicant wants to study.

I'd say that GCSEs are a little more important than they were previously, provided the applicant isn't applying for competitive courses at top universities. If the applicant is, things are just about the same as they were before. They are important, but they really don't matter all a big deal if you can show that you have improved and matured over the last year.
We're going to have to agree to disagree - the candidate wouldn't even get as far as sitting the admission test for Oxford if they had poor GCSEs and no extenuating circumstances. Also, we have steered very far away from what the OP was asking about (admission into a normal Uni) so let's just leave it at what we can both agree on, which is that GCSEs are somewhat important but not the only factor that Unis take into account.
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Doones
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(Original post by harrysbar)
We're going to have to agree to disagree - the candidate wouldn't even get as far as sitting the admission test for Oxford if they had poor GCSEs and no extenuating circumstances. Also, we have steered very far away from what the OP was asking about (admission into a normal Uni) so let's just leave it at what we can both agree on, which is that GCSEs are somewhat important but not the only factor that Unis take into account.
That's simply not the case. Admissions tests are usually more important than GCSEs for most Oxford courses.

You sign up for the admissions test (HAT, MAT, PAT, etc) entirely independently of your GCSEs and sit the test at the end of October. That's then used to shortlist candidates for interview in December.

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harrysbar
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(Original post by RuneFreeze)
If you want anecdotal evidence for this not being necessarily true I got an offer to study Maths at Cambridge with 5 A's, two B's, an 8 in Maths and a 4/6 in Language/Literature respectively.

You have to remember that most applicants to Cambridge who can do well in the interview and admissions test will likely have high GCSE's anyway; it's impossible to separate out causation from correlation.

The bottom line is that most universities certainly don't give a monkeys about your GCSE's (they wan't your $$$$). The only exception is a lot of medicine courses and Oxford and Imperial College (who explicitly say they put a high weighting on GCSE's). Even then, the admissions test counts for more.
But you're just one person, I said that the average Cambridge student has mainly A*/A grades, and that is objectively true if you look at their published statistics. And you have 5 A's and an 8 in Maths so you don't exactly have weak GCSEs
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harrysbar
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(Original post by MedicPerson)
Imo no not really. A levels are waaaaaaaaaaay more important. For example I only 4A's an A* and 4B's (I did the new gcses too for Eng and Maths). But I managed to get an offer from a medical school, an interview at another one too, as well as an offer for pharmacy at a Russel group uni.

Getting all A's and A*s isn't really needed - it does make applying so much ****ing easier though.

So in general. No not really, GCSES don't matter as long as you don't fail them. If you fail your gcses, your kinda ****ed tho...
Did I ever say that OP needs all A's and A*s to get into Uni? Or that A levels aren't more important?
Easy for you to say that "GCSEs don't matter" with your A*AAAABBBB - don't you understand that your results are very high compared to the average GCSE student?
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
That's simply not the case. Admissions tests are usually more important than GCSEs for most Oxford courses.

You sign up for the admissions test (HAT, MAT, PAT, etc) entirely independently of your GCSEs and sit the test at the end of October. That's then used to shortlist candidates for interview in December.

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But do you think that students performing poorly at school would expect or be encouraged by their schools to apply to Oxford, which clearly states their GCSE requirement as being very high
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RuneFreeze
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(Original post by harrysbar)
But you're just one person, I said that the average Cambridge student has mainly A*/A grades, and that is objectively true if you look at their published statistics. And you have 5 A's and an 8 in Maths so you don't exactly have weak GCSEs
The most important part of my post was: "You have to remember that most applicants to Cambridge who can do well in the interview and admissions test will likely have high GCSE's anyway; it's impossible to separate out causation from correlation."

Also, completely unrelated sidenote but I have to bring it up (sorry!) I was late to one my GCES maths exams by quite a bit so still bitter about that 8.
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RuneFreeze
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(Original post by harrysbar)
But do you think that students performing poorly at school would expect or be encouraged by their schools to apply to Oxford, which clearly states their GCSE requirement as being very high
This completely misses the point.
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MedicPerson
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(Original post by harrysbar)
Did I ever say that OP needs all A's and A*s to get into Uni? Or that A levels aren't more important?
Easy for you to say that "GCSEs don't matter" with your A*AAAABBBB - don't you understand that your results are very high compared to the average GCSE student?
My GCSES are complete **** compared to most med students. Medicine is one of the most competitive courses there is....

The point I was making was that depending on what subject you are doing the definition of "weak gcses" changes. Just because you have weak gcses doesn't mean your future is over....
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harrysbar
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(Original post by MedicPerson)
My GCSES are complete **** compared to most med students. Medicine is one of the most competitive courses there is....

The point I was making was that depending on what subject you are doing the definition of "weak gcses" changes. Just because you have weak gcses doesn't mean your future is over....
Compared to most med students, they're not amazing. But we weren't talking about medicine...and no one said anything about anyones future being over
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Doones
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(Original post by harrysbar)
But do you think that students performing poorly at school would expect or be encouraged by their schools to apply to Oxford, which clearly states their GCSE requirement as being very high
If they didn't have "stellar" GCSEs but are doing very well in the A-levels then yes schools should follow Oxbridge's guidance and encourage them to apply (if they want to go there...). Oxbridge does NOT state they have high GCSE requirements (except Oxford for Medicine).

They say that most applicants have a high number of A*s (4 or 5 is the average), but that's absolutely not the same as a requirement.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by RuneFreeze)
The most important part of my post was: "You have to remember that most applicants to Cambridge who can do well in the interview and admissions test will likely have high GCSE's anyway; it's impossible to separate out causation from correlation."

Also, completely unrelated sidenote but I have to bring it up (sorry!) I was late to one my GCES maths exams by quite a bit so still bitter about that 8.
I just find it a bit rich that every time there is a debate about whether GCSEs matter, all the people rushing to say they don't matter are people that have very good GCSEs themselves.

I'm guessing they matter to the people who don't meet the minimum requirements for Uni at all, or who can't get into the Uni or course that they want to because they have a C rather than a B in Maths, for example (or have failed it completely).

Anyway, sorry to hear about your GCSE maths exam, it was obviously traumatising at the time!
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harrysbar
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
If they didn't have "stellar" GCSEs but are doing very well in the A-levels then yes schools should follow Oxbridge's guidance and encourage them to apply (if they want to go there...). Oxbridge does NOT state they have high GCSE requirements (except Oxford for Medicine).

They say that most applicants have a high number of A*s (4 or 5 is the average), but that's absolutely not the same as a requirement.
It depends what you mean by "stellar" but at my school, it would be rare indeed for someone to sit the Oxbridge tests without having an excellent GCSE profile. But then not many of the averagely performing students suddenly excel at A levels - it tends to go the other way if anything, sadly!
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Lucyann19
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It really just depends on what you are aiming to do in the future. But for most things, as long as you do well in college and have your maths/English you should be fine. If it was you wanted go to uni, they mainly look at college grades and gcse grade 4 maths/English which are essential.
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Doones
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(Original post by harrysbar)
It depends what you mean by "stellar" but at my school, it would be rare indeed for someone to sit the Oxbridge tests without having an excellent GCSE profile. But then not many of the averagely performing students suddenly excel at A levels - it tends to go the other way if anything, sadly!
What I mean by "stellar" is the 9 or 10 A*s that many people seem to think are required for Oxbridge. They aren't (except Medicine at Oxford).

(Original post by harrysbar)
I just find it a bit rich that every time there is a debate about whether GCSEs matter, all the people rushing to say they don't matter are people that have very good GCSEs themselves.

I'm guessing they matter to the people who don't meet the minimum requirements for Uni at all, or who can't get into the Uni or course that they want to because they have a C rather than a B in Maths, for example (or have failed it completely).
So returning to the OP, what is important for almost all universities is simply to hit their minimum requirements. They don't need to exceed them, just hit them, and that's a big tick on their application which can then proceed to next stage of consideration. And the minimum requirements are usually fairly attainable by most pupils without too much stress. A 5 in English and Maths, and 3 other passes is usually enough for most universities.

Most universities/courses have pretty high offer rates, it's really not as competitive as many people think.
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RuneFreeze
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(Original post by harrysbar)
I just find it a bit rich that every time there is a debate about whether GCSEs matter, all the people rushing to say they don't matter are people that have very good GCSEs themselves.

I'm guessing they matter to the people who don't meet the minimum requirements for Uni at all, or who can't get into the Uni or course that they want to because they have a C rather than a B in Maths, for example (or have failed it completely).

Anyway, sorry to hear about your GCSE maths exam, it was obviously traumatising at the time!
thank you 😋

show me somewhere other than medicine where you need a b rather than c in maths... obviously most places require 2 5s in English and maths
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I feel that people are focussing too much on uni applications in this thread. The OP is in Year 10 and they need to do well in their GCSEs if they want to do certain A Levels and if they want to do well in those A Levels it's important for them to be confident with the GCSE content. Getting into university is not the only reason why students should try hard in school.
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