OW432
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Hi, I’m thinking of applying to Oxford or Cambridge next year and I’m not really certain on how they use GCSEs during the admissions process.

While I’ve heard that Cambridge care less about them I’m not sure if this is entirely true. I’ve read that the average Oxford student has quite a few A*s however I’m not sure if this correlation is intertwined with causation.

If, for example, I were to have achieved an average set of GCSEs at a low performing school but great A levels how would this be viewed? Particularly if I applied after a gap year with known a level grades, would GCSEs become of little significance?

Also how does this change from course to course? For example, history in Cambridge has 3 applicants per place whereas economics has 7. Would GCSEs become more significant for more competitive courses?

In the context of achieved grades, do oxford still place more weight on GCSEs than Cambridge?

Also if you’re an oxbridge student/grad please post your GCSE and A level grades and course, especially if you have below average GCSEs. I’ve heard some people say it is possible with lower GCSEs but haven’t actually seen or heard of it actually happen.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by OW432)
Hi, I’m thinking of applying to Oxford or Cambridge next year and I’m not really certain on how they use GCSEs during the admissions process.

While I’ve heard that Cambridge care less about them I’m not sure if this is entirely true. I’ve read that the average Oxford student has quite a few A*s however I’m not sure if this correlation is intertwined with causation.

If, for example, I were to have achieved an average set of GCSEs at a low performing school but great A levels how would this be viewed? Particularly if I applied after a gap year with known a level grades, would GCSEs become of little significance?

Also how does this change from course to course? For example, history in Cambridge has 3 applicants per place whereas economics has 7. Would GCSEs become more significant for more competitive courses?

In the context of achieved grades, do oxford still place more weight on GCSEs than Cambridge?

Also if you’re an oxbridge student/grad please post your GCSE and A level grades and course, especially if you have below average GCSEs. I’ve heard some people say it is possible with lower GCSEs but haven’t actually seen or heard of it actually happen.
Yes, Oxford place more emphasis on your GCSEs. The number of A*s depends on the course. For German, for example, my elder son had 3A*s. For medicine, the younger son had 10A*s. The significance of GCSEs will not alter, whether you take a gap year or not. They are what they are.

If you had extenuating circumstances, this may help. There is a lot of competition for every Oxford course. What are you hoping to apply for?

Plus grades are only part of the application process. If there is an admissions test for your subject, you will need to do well in this as well to get to interview stage.
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OW432
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(Original post by Oxford Mum)
Yes, Oxford place more emphasis on your GCSEs. The number of A*s depends on the course. For German, for example, my elder son had 3A*s. For medicine, the younger son had 10A*s. The significance of GCSEs will not alter, whether you take a gap year or not. They are what they are.

If you had extenuating circumstances, this may help. There is a lot of competition for every Oxford course. What are you hoping to apply for?

Plus grades are only part of the application process. If there is an admissions test for your subject, you will need to do well in this as well to get to interview stage.
History/and politics or taking a year to do a level maths and then doing history and economics. I don’t have any A*s unfortunately. I’m not entirely sure how they use GCSEs and so the gap year thing was under the idea that maybe they use GCSEs in the context of just predicting your A level results? Ive been told by an admissions tutor for Cambridge that while they do consider GCSE performance, they do consider it less significantly if you already have your a levels so I thought this might be the case with Oxford.
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by OW432)
History/and politics or taking a year to do a level maths and then doing history and economics. I don’t have any A*s unfortunately. I’m not entirely sure how they use GCSEs and so the gap year thing was under the idea that maybe they use GCSEs in the context of just predicting your A level results? Ive been told by an admissions tutor for Cambridge that while they do consider GCSE performance, they do consider it less significantly if you already have your a levels so I thought this might be the case with Oxford.
No, it isn't. You would, honestly, be better off sticking with Cambridge. I will hopefully be getting a chapter about an Oxford student who got in to Oxford for history/politics, who will tell us how he got in. I don't think from memory his GCSE grades were astounding, and I've heard of someone who got a history offer at Oxford with 2 A*s at GCSE. But I'm not sure about anybody applying and getting in without any A*s at GCSE.
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by OW432)
History/and politics or taking a year to do a level maths and then doing history and economics. I don’t have any A*s unfortunately. I’m not entirely sure how they use GCSEs and so the gap year thing was under the idea that maybe they use GCSEs in the context of just predicting your A level results? Ive been told by an admissions tutor for Cambridge that while they do consider GCSE performance, they do consider it less significantly if you already have your a levels so I thought this might be the case with Oxford.
your GCSEs are definitely much less important once you have A level results BUT your A level results become much more important as to be competitive applying after A levels really you want to have exceeded the entry requirements by at least one grade.

while Cambridge don't weight GCSEs significantly you still find that most successful applicants still have very good ones but this is correlation as most people good enough to go to Cambridge have also done very well at gcse. this however does not mean there are not exceptions and I know for a fact that at my college last year accepted people with GCSEs ranging from 0 A* grades to 13A* grades.
Last edited by RhynieChert; 4 weeks ago
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