History GCSE 1 mark off 9 Watch
If you are really concerned, you can include the closeness of your mark in your SAQ when you apply or ask your UCAS referee to include it. On the whole, GCSE grades form a small part of the application process and the difference between and 8 and a 9 should not hinder your chances, even if Cambridge do decide to start treating a 9 as superior.
If the grades 8 and 9 are considered equal, why was the new grading system introduced??!!
a) an unreformed GCSE from England, Northern Ireland or Wales, or
b) a reformed GCSE from Northern Ireland or Wales, or
c) an IGCSE graded A*-G
In other words, the hierarchy of grades would be
9 or A*
7 or A
What you cannot do is insist that a 9 is better than an A*, which has to be bundled together with 8s:
8 or A*
7 or A*
This would be unfair to those with qualifications a), b) and c) above as they didn't/don't have the chance to show that their A* is in the top or bottom half of the A* (in other words a 9 or an 8).
I know that doesn't answer your question -- ask Michael Gove what he was thinking at the time! -- but in a mixed economy of GCSE grading systems the only fair way is to postulate these grade equivalencies:
9 or 8 or A*
7 or A
6 or B
5 or 4 or C* or C
This is how Oxford University presents it: