Weak GCSEs, but strong A-Level Grades for Oxbridge

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kate.sb1
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Hi guys,

I was wondering if I should worry about my GCSE grades despite strong A level grades for applying to Oxbridge.

For GCSEs, I achieved 3 7s, 5 6s, and 2 4s. I should have remarked 6 subjects, but missed the deadline. My grades could have been three 8s, four 7s, one 6, one 5 and one 4. Most of my GCSEs were one or two marks off the next grade boundary.

I am in Year 12, and consistently achieving As and A*s in Biology, English Literature, and History A Level. I am about to sit my End of Years, which determine my predicted grades.

Even if I were to achieve top predicted grades, would I still have a chance at getting into Oxbridge?
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LeapingLucy
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What subject are you considering applying for?

I don't know for sure whether this is true, but the general wisdom at my school was that Oxford cared about GCSEs, and Cambridge didn't quite so much (unless you were applying for medicine).
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kate.sb1
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(Original post by LeapingLucy)
What subject are you considering applying for?
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stoyfan
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(Original post by kate.sb1)
Hi guys,

I was wondering if I should worry about my GCSE grades despite strong A level grades for applying to Oxbridge.

For GCSEs, I achieved 3 7s, 5 6s, and 2 4s. I should have remarked 6 subjects, but missed the deadline. My grades could have been three 8s, four 7s, one 6, one 5 and one 4. Most of my GCSEs were one or two marks off the next grade boundary.

I am in Year 12, and consistently achieving As and A*s in Biology, English Literature, and History A Level. I am about to sit my End of Years, which determine my predicted grades.

Even if I were to achieve top predicted grades, would I still have a chance at getting into Oxbridge?
At the end of the day, if anyone meets the A level grade requirements for Oxbridge, then you have 'a chance' of getting in.

If you don't meet the A level grade requirements, then obviously don't bother.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by kate.sb1)
Hi guys,

I was wondering if I should worry about my GCSE grades despite strong A level grades for applying to Oxbridge.

For GCSEs, I achieved 3 7s, 5 6s, and 2 4s. I should have remarked 6 subjects, but missed the deadline. My grades could have been three 8s, four 7s, one 6, one 5 and one 4. Most of my GCSEs were one or two marks off the next grade boundary.

I am in Year 12, and consistently achieving As and A*s in Biology, English Literature, and History A Level. I am about to sit my End of Years, which determine my predicted grades.

Even if I were to achieve top predicted grades, would I still have a chance at getting into Oxbridge?
You don't have any 'strong A level grades', because you haven't taken them yet.

The GCSEs are weak, and much weaker that the average successful candidate. For Oxford, I think they're probably too poor for you to be in with a realistic chance of making a competitive application. Cambridge places less emphasis on GCSE grades, but you'd need strong predictions in A level, along with supportive references, good extra curriculars, a good test result/sample work etc to be able to make a competitive application there. Note that a clear path upwards - from poor GCSEs to excellent A levels, is generally seen as a good thing.

So you're not totally out of the race, but it's quite a long shot. There's an awful lot more universities than just Oxford and Cambridge, though...
Last edited by Reality Check; 1 year ago
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kate.sb1
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I have read online that most successful applicants achieved 7A*s at GCSE, which I have zero of. I feel like that could really cut down my chances of even being considered for an interview.
(Original post by stoyfan)
At the end of the day, if anyone meets the A level grade requirements for Oxbridge, then you have 'a chance' of getting in.

If you don't meet the A level grade requirements, then obviously don't bother.
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kate.sb1
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(Original post by Reality Check)
You don't have any 'strong A level grades', because you haven't taken them yet.

The GCSEs are weak, and much weaker that the average successful candidate. For Oxford, I think they're probably too poor for you to be in with a realistic chance of making a competitive application. Cambridge places less emphasis on GCSE grades, but you'd need strong predictions in A level, along with supportive references, good extra curriculars, a good test result/sample work etc to be able to make a competitive application there. Note that a clear path upwards - from poor GCSEs to excellent A levels, is generally seen as a good thing.

So you're not totally out of the race, but it's quite a long shot. There's an awful lot more universities than just Oxford and Cambridge, though...
Thank you. If I am honest, Oxbridge is not my first choice. My dad really wants me to go to Oxbridge since my older siblings have already attended and graduated from Cambridge University (for degrees such as law, and philosophy).
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arcticmonkeys456
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If you have to do a test to get specifically for Oxford / Cambridge, acing that will put you in a good position --> then you might get an interview etc, which you can hopefully work in your favour. You have to remember though so many good students get rejected, so even doing well in these things aren't a guarantee.
Last edited by arcticmonkeys456; 1 year ago
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Reality Check
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(Original post by kate.sb1)
Thank you. If I am honest, Oxbridge is not my first choice. My dad really wants me to go to Oxbridge since my older siblings have already attended and graduated from Cambridge University (for degrees such as law, and philosophy).
That's very refreshing to read. And it's your future, after all: if you don't want to go to Oxbridge, then just don't go! I understand that parents etc can be quite, shall we say, persuasive about Oxbridge, but it sounds like you're at peace with it already!
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kate.sb1
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Provided they even think I am worth even being given an exam. Hopefully I do well in the LNATs. But hopefully if I do get given the opportunity to sit an admissions exam, I could possibly ace it.
(Original post by Klara_b155)
If you have to do a test to get specifically for Oxford / Cambridge, acing that will put you in a good position
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stoyfan
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(Original post by kate.sb1)
I have read online that most successful applicants achieved 7A*s at GCSE, which I have zero of. I feel like that could really cut down my chances of even being considered for an interview.
Don't be a peasant and only rely on roumours or dodgy advice.

You can get the cold, hard fact for the universities themselves. People frequently file FOI requests for admissions statistics to various unis, including Oxford and Cambridge. One of the ways you can do this is using a website called www.whatdotheyknow.com.

In fact, you can obtain the info that they got from the FOI requests on the website. Here is a starter: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...s_for_law_m1_2 These are the GCSEs that people got for when applying for Law at Oxford.
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Doones
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(Original post by kate.sb1)
Thank you. If I am honest, Oxbridge is not my first choice. My dad really wants me to go to Oxbridge since my older siblings have already attended and graduated from Cambridge University (for degrees such as law, and philosophy).
Do *you* want to go? It's not up to your dad, or siblings...

By the way, 6 or 7 A* GCSE is the average, yes. But there are people at Cambridge with far fewer, and some with zero A*. Your GCSEs aren't as important as the rest of your application. And they interview 75-80% of applicants anyway.

Here's a "gathered field" chart for History at Cambridge (I don't have one for Law but it would be similar).
Name:  Screenshot 2019-05-06 at 14.25.27.jpg
Views: 158
Size:  33.0 KB

Bottomline, apply if you want a shot. It's just 1 of yor 5 choices, and the guaranteed way to not getting an offer is by not applying
Last edited by Doones; 1 year ago
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