Does Oxbridge look at A Level grades when applying for Master's? Watch

wallflowerannie
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I'm a first year at university and after being rejected from Cambridge, I am hoping I could perhaps apply to Oxford or Cambridge for an MSt to do English. I was rejected at the interview stage.

However, on the websites it states I need to submit a CV, which is a slight problem for me as my A level grades were way below what I was predicted; I was predicted A*AA and got BCD, which I think is because I was bullied at the time and found it difficult to cope. It's horrendous I know, I'm aware it doesn't look the best but I am performing better at my uni now and I'm just not sure how much A levels are taken into consideration for Master's. Therefore, if I somehow managed to get a 1st in my degree, would Cambridge/Oxford need to know my A levels?

I also am interested in other unis and know it isn't the be all and end all, but I don't want to get my hopes up in case I need to have my A levels disclosed which would automatically make my chances much less!

Thank you so much!
Last edited by wallflowerannie; 6 days ago
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natasha2505
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Hi!

I'm in my last year of uni, and I've received an offer to do my Masters at Oxford (Mst Greek and/or Roman History) - while Oxford do need to see your A Levels (and your GCSEs), they seem to be much more interested in the whole picture, or at least they were for me! Your A Levels will really only take up a few lines of your CV as part of a much wider application - mine involved a CV, a statement of purpose, three academic references, and two 2000 word essays.

My grades were good but not your 'typical Oxford' grades (BBB at A Level, with an additional three AS levels at ABC; 3A*s, 5As, 4Bs at GCSE), but I think what swayed them was a pretty strong application overall. I'm on track for a first whilst working full time, I'm a member of various Classical societies (local and national), I've taken part in essay writing competitions and been highly commended, and I've taken independent research trips.

I'm not at all saying you'll need to work and study full time to make up for your A Levels (this situation is just what works for me personally!), but your A Levels aren't the be all and end all of your application. Get to know your lecturers and advisers well so that they can provide you with good references, get involved in your university beyond your classes, and try to get a feel of the English academic world beyond your university!
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QHF
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(Original post by wallflowerannie)
I'm a first year at university and after being rejected from Cambridge, I am hoping I could perhaps apply to Oxford or Cambridge for an MSt to do English. I was rejected at the interview stage.

However, on the websites it states I need to submit a CV, which is a slight problem for me as my A level grades were way below what I was predicted; I was predicted A*AA and got BCD, which I think is because I was bullied at the time and found it difficult to cope. It's horrendous I know, I'm aware it doesn't look the best but I am performing better at my uni now and I'm just not sure how much A levels are taken into consideration for Master's. Therefore, if I somehow managed to get a 1st in my degree, would Cambridge/Oxford need to know my A levels?

I also am interested in other unis and know it isn't the be all and end all, but I don't want to get my hopes up in case I need to have my A levels disclosed which would automatically make my chances much less!
Your A-levels are unlikely to matter very much if you're a strong first-class undergraduate student with good references, good writing samples, and a convincing statement of purpose.

A taught postgraduate course in English will cost you time and (very probably) money, so make sure that if you pursue that, you do so because you have some tangible use for the qualification. An MPhil/MSt at Cambridge or Oxford can be a great experience, but it won't be a the same experience as or a proxy for a BA in the same subject from one of the two (not because a BA is somehow better, but because the two things are very different kinds of degree). You probably know this, and I apologise if you do, but I think it's worth saying just in case you don't.

The other thing I'll say is that while there's no harm in thinking about this kind of thing right now, there's probably no need to do any serious thinking about applications until the second year of your BA at the earliest. Make sure you focus your energies on doing well on your current degree and on laying down the foundational stuff you're learning in the first year, both because it will be useful later, and because it's always worth enjoying the degree you're doing.

EDIT: I was too busy focusing on the broader strokes to remember an important point of detail, which is that your CV doesn't even have to list your A-level results! Mine didn't, apart from a language A-level which was academically relevant.
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Duncan2012
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(Original post by wallflowerannie)
would Cambridge/Oxford need to know my A levels?
No.

All their entry requirements are available online.
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wallflowerannie
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Thank you all so so much for the advice! I feel a lot more informed about this topic now, and hopefully when the time comes I'll make the right decision. The best of luck to all of you at uni and thank you again!

(Original post by Duncan2012)
No.

All their entry requirements are available online.
(Original post by QHF)
Your A-levels are unlikely to matter very much if you're a strong first-class undergraduate student with good references, good writing samples, and a convincing statement of purpose.

A taught postgraduate course in English will cost you time and (very probably) money, so make sure that if you pursue that, you do so because you have some tangible use for the qualification. An MPhil/MSt at Cambridge or Oxford can be a great experience, but it won't be a the same experience as or a proxy for a BA in the same subject from one of the two (not because a BA is somehow better, but because the two things are very different kinds of degree). You probably know this, and I apologise if you do, but I think it's worth saying just in case you don't.

The other thing I'll say is that while there's no harm in thinking about this kind of thing right now, there's probably no need to do any serious thinking about applications until the second year of your BA at the earliest. Make sure you focus your energies on doing well on your current degree and on laying down the foundational stuff you're learning in the first year, both because it will be useful later, and because it's always worth enjoying the degree you're doing.

EDIT: I was too busy focusing on the broader strokes to remember an important point of detail, which is that your CV doesn't even have to list your A-level results! Mine didn't, apart from a language A-level which was academically relevant.
(Original post by natasha2505)
Hi!

I'm in my last year of uni, and I've received an offer to do my Masters at Oxford (Mst Greek and/or Roman History) - while Oxford do need to see your A Levels (and your GCSEs), they seem to be much more interested in the whole picture, or at least they were for me! Your A Levels will really only take up a few lines of your CV as part of a much wider application - mine involved a CV, a statement of purpose, three academic references, and two 2000 word essays.

My grades were good but not your 'typical Oxford' grades (BBB at A Level, with an additional three AS levels at ABC; 3A*s, 5As, 4Bs at GCSE), but I think what swayed them was a pretty strong application overall. I'm on track for a first whilst working full time, I'm a member of various Classical societies (local and national), I've taken part in essay writing competitions and been highly commended, and I've taken independent research trips.

I'm not at all saying you'll need to work and study full time to make up for your A Levels (this situation is just what works for me personally!), but your A Levels aren't the be all and end all of your application. Get to know your lecturers and advisers well so that they can provide you with good references, get involved in your university beyond your classes, and try to get a feel of the English academic world beyond your university!
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