Would mediocre GCSEs stop me going to a RG such as Durham? Watch

Cmacg1
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 4 weeks ago
#1
Last year I achieved pretty mediocre GCSE grades (7,A,6,5,5,5,4,4,3) and next year I wanna apply for politics/international relations at a good uni, preferably Durham. I have some alright references from my teachers from what I’ve seen, have done some relevant work experience, and a bit of extra circular. If I was to achieve, say, AAA/A*AA in my next mocks, would my average GCSE inhibit my ability to get an offer?

Ps there were several personal issues going on at the time of my GCSEs, would this be worth mentioning on my application?
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
0
reply
Quick-use
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#2
Report 4 weeks ago
#2
(Original post by Cmacg1)
Last year I achieved pretty mediocre GCSE grades (7,A,6,5,5,5,4,4,3) and next year I wanna apply for politics/international relations at a good uni, preferably Durham. I have some alright references from my teachers from what I’ve seen, have done some relevant work experience, and a bit of extra circular. If I was to achieve, say, AAA/A*AA in my next mocks, would my average GCSE inhibit my ability to get an offer?

Ps there were several personal issues going on at the time of my GCSEs, would this be worth mentioning on my application?
If you have excellent references and predictions as well as a solid personal statement, I don't see why you wouldn't have a chance of potentially receiving an offer. Just make sure you meet the requirements (some universities require certain grades in GCSE English and Maths).

Make sure that your referee mentions your personal issues in the reference so that the admissions team receive a justification as to why you may have performed so poorly.
1
reply
Admit-One
Badges: 13
Rep:
?
#3
Report 4 weeks ago
#3
At worst might weaken your overall application slightly, but no, absolutely wouldn’t prevent you being considered, (assuming you met any minimum Maths/Eng requirements).

Source: I work in RG Admissions. Not Durham though
1
reply
Korina24
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#4
Report 4 weeks ago
#4
(Original post by Cmacg1)
Last year I achieved pretty mediocre GCSE grades (7,A,6,5,5,5,4,4,3) and next year I wanna apply for politics/international relations at a good uni, preferably Durham. I have some alright references from my teachers from what I’ve seen, have done some relevant work experience, and a bit of extra circular. If I was to achieve, say, AAA/A*AA in my next mocks, would my average GCSE inhibit my ability to get an offer?

Ps there were several personal issues going on at the time of my GCSEs, would this be worth mentioning on my application?
Hey I have an offer to do Politics at Durham this year so I hope I can help. For reference I got 1A* 3A 4B 1C at GCSE and I am predicted 3A* at A-level’s. Durham doesn’t require any specific grades at GCSE for Politics or international relations but they do say that an A in a humanities or social science in GCSE’s is preferable. If you feel that your grades are limiting you, put as much effort as possible into your personal statement, and if possible get a teacher who likes you to write your reference (it helps a lot). I only decided about a month before I applied that I even wanted to do Politics and so had to find a lot of relevant things to do in a short amount of time. Don’t worry about books if you feel you’re not interested, I went to about 15 political lectures and basically wrote about them as well as some law and architecture work experience that I did in my personal statement and just linked everything back to Politics at the end. If you need anymore help on writing your personal statement I’m happy to help. Lastly what I think helped me a lot in my application was that I come from a disadvantage area and attend an underachieving sixth form. Durham this year is being a lot more lenient with their entry requirements as they’re trying to attract a greater range of students, so instead of just meeting the entry requirements you may have actually exceeded them by 2-3 grades if you qualify for a contextual offer which will ultimately make your application more competitive. I hope this is helpful anyway, and at the end of the day you get 5 choices and should take the chance or else you’ll definitely not get an offer. Good luck!
3
reply
Justanotheranon6
Badges: 12
Rep:
?
#5
Report 4 weeks ago
#5
(Original post by Cmacg1)
Last year I achieved pretty mediocre GCSE grades (7,A,6,5,5,5,4,4,3) and next year I wanna apply for politics/international relations at a good uni, preferably Durham. I have some alright references from my teachers from what I’ve seen, have done some relevant work experience, and a bit of extra circular. If I was to achieve, say, AAA/A*AA in my next mocks, would my average GCSE inhibit my ability to get an offer?

Ps there were several personal issues going on at the time of my GCSEs, would this be worth mentioning on my application?
Don’t worry about GCSEs, even Oxbridge don’t care
1
reply
harrysbar
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#6
Report 4 weeks ago
#6
(Original post by Justanotheranon6)
Don’t worry about GCSEs, even Oxbridge don’t care
OP's GCSEs will be fine for most RG unis but for the record, weak for Oxford. Taken from their website:

"Higher grades at GCSE can help to make your application more competitive, and successful applicants typically have a high proportion of A and A* grades or 7,8 and 9 grades. However, we do look at GCSE grades in context. Where possible, tutors will be made aware of the overall GCSE performance of the school or college where you studied".
1
reply
Cmacg1
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#7
Report Thread starter 4 weeks ago
#7
(Original post by Korina24)
Hey I have an offer to do Politics at Durham this year so I hope I can help. For reference I got 1A* 3A 4B 1C at GCSE and I am predicted 3A* at A-level’s. Durham doesn’t require any specific grades at GCSE for Politics or international relations but they do say that an A in a humanities or social science in GCSE’s is preferable. If you feel that your grades are limiting you, put as much effort as possible into your personal statement, and if possible get a teacher who likes you to write your reference (it helps a lot). I only decided about a month before I applied that I even wanted to do Politics and so had to find a lot of relevant things to do in a short amount of time. Don’t worry about books if you feel you’re not interested, I went to about 15 political lectures and basically wrote about them as well as some law and architecture work experience that I did in my personal statement and just linked everything back to Politics at the end. If you need anymore help on writing your personal statement I’m happy to help. Lastly what I think helped me a lot in my application was that I come from a disadvantage area and attend an underachieving sixth form. Durham this year is being a lot more lenient with their entry requirements as they’re trying to attract a greater range of students, so instead of just meeting the entry requirements you may have actually exceeded them by 2-3 grades if you qualify for a contextual offer which will ultimately make your application more competitive. I hope this is helpful anyway, and at the end of the day you get 5 choices and should take the chance or else you’ll definitely not get an offer. Good luck!
This is pretty reassuring as the 7 I got was in history, and I don’t read that many books but quite a lot of news articles related to politics. I did do work experience in an MP’s office so that should give me some stuff to talk about.
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
0
reply
Korina24
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#8
Report 4 weeks ago
#8
(Original post by Cmacg1)
This is pretty reassuring as the 7 I got was in history, and I don’t read that many books but quite a lot of news articles related to politics. I did do work experience in an MP’s office so that should give me some stuff to talk about.
That’s all really good. You have quite a bit of time before you have to apply so start now. Other than books (that I never ended up using), I didn’t spend any money on finding stuff to do to add to my personal statement. I basically used eventbrite to find everything that was Politics related on my personal statement, and if you live in London or are able to get there, they hold lectures in parliament regularly, which on your personal statement looks really impressive, despite the fact that all you’ve done is book a free ticket online. For reference I went to parliament 4 times in that month. Volunteering is also really good, (I found mine through church so I’m not sure about any websites or places to go to to find work). Since you’ve already done work experience at a MP’s office, makes sure to to talk about it in depth as most people applying will most probably not have done anything as relevant, giving you an advantage. However if you have done any other work experience that’s prestigious but doesn’t relate to politics, mention it and talk about how the transferable skills you gained will help prepare you for work in the political sector. Make sure to include extra curricular activities you do outside of politics to present yourself as a well rounded character, but even this link back to politics in a summarising sentence at the end. Lastly, do not start your personal statement with something like, “I have always loved politics”, or “from a very young age...” because that’s not true and recruitment officers will see right through that. Make sure your opening is different (so it’s stands out against offer applicants) and personal to you, (so the person reading it will be able to get a better understanding of you as an individual). For reference, I turned the clique of “I’ve always loved politics” on its head and told the truth by starting my personal statement saying that I never liked politics growing up and only recently gained an interest. Also. Don’t worry if you’re not up to date with contemporary politics, I only barley talked about it. Remember, universities are looking for students to teach, not people who already know everything, but make sure to make your interest in politics clear from the start. This is how I structured my personal statement: 80% academic 20% extra curriculum
Paragraph 1: How I became interested in politics and IR and why I want to study it
Paragraph 2: How things I’ve done have helped develop my interest in politics
Paragraph 3: How each of my a-levels relates to politics
Paragraph 4: Things I’ve done that relate to politics
Paragraph 5: Extra curriculum activities I have done and how there transferable skills would be relevant in the political sector.

Hope this was helpful. I’ve never used this website before personally but brightnetwork might be useful for finding more work experience, etc. Anyway good luck!
0
reply
Cmacg1
Badges: 2
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 4 weeks ago
#9
(Original post by Korina24)
That’s all really good. You have quite a bit of time before you have to apply so start now. Other than books (that I never ended up using), I didn’t spend any money on finding stuff to do to add to my personal statement. I basically used eventbrite to find everything that was Politics related on my personal statement, and if you live in London or are able to get there, they hold lectures in parliament regularly, which on your personal statement looks really impressive, despite the fact that all you’ve done is book a free ticket online. For reference I went to parliament 4 times in that month. Volunteering is also really good, (I found mine through church so I’m not sure about any websites or places to go to to find work). Since you’ve already done work experience at a MP’s office, makes sure to to talk about it in depth as most people applying will most probably not have done anything as relevant, giving you an advantage. However if you have done any other work experience that’s prestigious but doesn’t relate to politics, mention it and talk about how the transferable skills you gained will help prepare you for work in the political sector. Make sure to include extra curricular activities you do outside of politics to present yourself as a well rounded character, but even this link back to politics in a summarising sentence at the end. Lastly, do not start your personal statement with something like, “I have always loved politics”, or “from a very young age...” because that’s not true and recruitment officers will see right through that. Make sure your opening is different (so it’s stands out against offer applicants) and personal to you, (so the person reading it will be able to get a better understanding of you as an individual). For reference, I turned the clique of “I’ve always loved politics” on its head and told the truth by starting my personal statement saying that I never liked politics growing up and only recently gained an interest. Also. Don’t worry if you’re not up to date with contemporary politics, I only barley talked about it. Remember, universities are looking for students to teach, not people who already know everything, but make sure to make your interest in politics clear from the start. This is how I structured my personal statement: 80% academic 20% extra curriculum
Paragraph 1: How I became interested in politics and IR and why I want to study it
Paragraph 2: How things I’ve done have helped develop my interest in politics
Paragraph 3: How each of my a-levels relates to politics
Paragraph 4: Things I’ve done that relate to politics
Paragraph 5: Extra curriculum activities I have done and how there transferable skills would be relevant in the political sector.

Hope this was helpful. I’ve never used this website before personally but brightnetwork might be useful for finding more work experience, etc. Anyway good luck!
Thanks this is extremely helpful, particularly the template. The thing is I actually have had an interest in politics since around the age of 12 and have a scary amount of pub quiz knowledge about politics/history/geopolitics 😂
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
Last edited by Cmacg1; 4 weeks ago
0
reply
harrysbar
Badges: 19
Rep:
?
#10
Report 4 weeks ago
#10
(Original post by Cmacg1)
Thanks this is extremely helpful, particularly the template. The thing is I actually have had an interest in politics since around the age of 12 and have a scary amount of pub quiz knowledge about politics/history/geopolitics 😂
Ooh, I love a good pub quiz myself

Good Luck with your applications
0
reply
SarcAndSpark
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#11
Report 4 weeks ago
#11
(Original post by Korina24)
That’s all really good. You have quite a bit of time before you have to apply so start now. Other than books (that I never ended up using), I didn’t spend any money on finding stuff to do to add to my personal statement. I basically used eventbrite to find everything that was Politics related on my personal statement, and if you live in London or are able to get there, they hold lectures in parliament regularly, which on your personal statement looks really impressive, despite the fact that all you’ve done is book a free ticket online. For reference I went to parliament 4 times in that month. Volunteering is also really good, (I found mine through church so I’m not sure about any websites or places to go to to find work). Since you’ve already done work experience at a MP’s office, makes sure to to talk about it in depth as most people applying will most probably not have done anything as relevant, giving you an advantage. However if you have done any other work experience that’s prestigious but doesn’t relate to politics, mention it and talk about how the transferable skills you gained will help prepare you for work in the political sector. Make sure to include extra curricular activities you do outside of politics to present yourself as a well rounded character, but even this link back to politics in a summarising sentence at the end. Lastly, do not start your personal statement with something like, “I have always loved politics”, or “from a very young age...” because that’s not true and recruitment officers will see right through that. Make sure your opening is different (so it’s stands out against offer applicants) and personal to you, (so the person reading it will be able to get a better understanding of you as an individual). For reference, I turned the clique of “I’ve always loved politics” on its head and told the truth by starting my personal statement saying that I never liked politics growing up and only recently gained an interest. Also. Don’t worry if you’re not up to date with contemporary politics, I only barley talked about it. Remember, universities are looking for students to teach, not people who already know everything, but make sure to make your interest in politics clear from the start. This is how I structured my personal statement: 80% academic 20% extra curriculum
Paragraph 1: How I became interested in politics and IR and why I want to study it
Paragraph 2: How things I’ve done have helped develop my interest in politics
Paragraph 3: How each of my a-levels relates to politics
Paragraph 4: Things I’ve done that relate to politics
Paragraph 5: Extra curriculum activities I have done and how there transferable skills would be relevant in the political sector.

Hope this was helpful. I’ve never used this website before personally but brightnetwork might be useful for finding more work experience, etc. Anyway good luck!
Just for the record, most admissions tutors won't be interested in your suggested paragraph 3 (admissions tutors will see your A-levels on your application, and know what content they include- although of course it's good to discuss A-level study directly relevant to politics) and paragraph 5 (it's fine to list extra curriculars but no point in making tenuous links to your subject). Plenty of people get into uni with a "good enough" PS, but it's best not to waste characters where possible.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts

All the exam results help you need

2,781

people online now

225,530

students helped last year
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

University open days

  • University of Dundee
    Undergraduate Open Day Undergraduate
    Mon, 26 Aug '19
  • University of Aberdeen
    General Open Day Undergraduate
    Tue, 27 Aug '19
  • Norwich University of the Arts
    Postgraduate (MA) Open Day Postgraduate
    Sat, 31 Aug '19

Do you have grade requirements for your sixth form/college?

At least 5 GCSEs at grade 4 (71)
14.29%
At least 5 GCSEs at grade 5 (76)
15.29%
At least 5 GCSEs at grade 6 (94)
18.91%
Higher than 5 GCSEs at grade 6 (197)
39.64%
Pass in English and Maths GCSE (26)
5.23%
No particular grades needed (33)
6.64%

Watched Threads

View All