amabla
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Hello all ) I am currently a year 9 student who will have to pick her GCSE’s in March 2020, same as the rest of my UK age group.

However- neither of my parents studied in the UK so they don’t have any experience with the system. Also, I don’t have an older sibling who I can get advice from... so choosing will be a little tricky.

My strongest subject is English writing, with History coming in close second. Basically I’m good at anything in which writing essays/explanations/arguments is required. I aspire to be a lawyer (barrister) - I know that there aren’t specific GCSE requirements for this profession, but some insight would be very helpful

At my school, mandatory subjects are:
Maths
English
Science (Triple)
Modern Language (French for me)
and I think that’s it (I’m not sure though😂)

we have yet to have the official GCSE talk about subjects on offer, so I’m not sure what the options are, which make everyone’s life difficult😤😤

~unfortunately my school does not offer History of Art GCSE or Psychology GCSE, so those are out of the question~

Aside from this, I am a fluent Russian speaker/writer so I will take that GCSE separately, probably in year 10.

Also, what grades do Oxbridge require/want for GCSEs?

Any ideas for what I should pick or not pick? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you if you read this far🙏🏻
Last edited by amabla; 3 weeks ago
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E3student
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It’s important to pick subjects that you’ll enjoy as you have to study them for the next two years. What subjects do your school offer? Oxbridge want high grades but more at a levels so i wouldn’t worry about grades at the moment.
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saltandshake
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Current Y11, aiming for Oxbridge. Have a sibling who's done GCSES and 4 years at Oxbridge.

As an above poster has said - choose subjects you enjoy, rather than ones you think Oxbridge will like. That being said, if you're hoping to get into Oxbridge/RG unis, certain subjects will be looked upon more favorably. Essay subjects and languages are good options, although you should be fine since you've stated an interest in those anyway.

In terms of suggestions, I'd highly recommend taking history, especially as you've said you enjoy it. I'm perhaps biased - I take it for GCSE, and my sibling studied it at Oxbridge to degree level - but unis really rate it because it's one of the few purely essay-based subjects on offer at GCSE, so if you do well, you'll demonstrate a high capability for extended writing. The same goes for geography, although to a lesser extent - there are more short answer questions, and I'd say it's more "maths-based". With GCSE reforms in recent years, I'll admit the history GCSE has become harder in terms of question style - but unis recognise this, so if you enjoy extended writing and have the potential to do well, it would be a great way to show off your skills. You've said you like the subject, so I doubt you'd struggle.

Aside from history(/geography), which I'd strongly suggest, you can't really go wrong. For reference - my sibling chose two languages, history, music and textiles, and got into Oxbridge just fine with those.

The long and short of it is that GCSE options don't particularly matter, as long as you avoid vocational subjects, and you do well. You'd need to be looking at 8s/9s for Oxbridge, potentially a few 7s, so pick things you think you'll do well in - but also things you enjoy.
If you need further advice feel free to PM, seeing as I've already had a member of the household go through Oxbridge admissions.
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amabla
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(Original post by saltandshake)
Current Y11, aiming for Oxbridge. Have a sibling who's done GCSES and 4 years at Oxbridge.

As an above poster has said - choose subjects you enjoy, rather than ones you think Oxbridge will like. That being said, if you're hoping to get into Oxbridge/RG unis, certain subjects will be looked upon more favorably. Essay subjects and languages are good options, although you should be fine since you've stated an interest in those anyway.

In terms of suggestions, I'd highly recommend taking history, especially as you've said you enjoy it. I'm perhaps biased - I take it for GCSE, and my sibling studied it at Oxbridge to degree level - but unis really rate it because it's one of the few purely essay-based subjects on offer at GCSE, so if you do well, you'll demonstrate a high capability for extended writing. The same goes for geography, although to a lesser extent - there are more short answer questions, and I'd say it's more "maths-based". With GCSE reforms in recent years, I'll admit the history GCSE has become harder in terms of question style - but unis recognise this, so if you enjoy extended writing and have the potential to do well, it would be a great way to show off your skills. You've said you like the subject, so I doubt you'd struggle.

Aside from history(/geography), which I'd strongly suggest, you can't really go wrong. For reference - my sibling chose two languages, history, music and textiles, and got into Oxbridge just fine with those.

The long and short of it is that GCSE options don't particularly matter, as long as you avoid vocational subjects, and you do well. You'd need to be looking at 8s/9s for Oxbridge, potentially a few 7s, so pick things you think you'll do well in - but also things you enjoy.
If you need further advice feel free to PM, seeing as I've already had a member of the household go through Oxbridge admissions.
Thank you so much! Very helpful 🙏🏻
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redmeercat
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Oxbridge doesn't have specific grades in mind... Cambridge has a reputation for focusing on them less than oxford, but yeah. At my sixth form, they suggested to people with an average of an A/7 or higher that they consider Oxbridge, and I got a place with 9988887A6C, so you don't need all A*s or anything. They're only part of an application, but you do want to aim high anyway!
The main thing with GCSEs is to take subjects that you enjoy - although many universities won't focus on them, the grades do make an impact, but the specific options in non-core subjects don't tend to make much difference. Essentially, it's better to get high grades in subjects that you enjoy and will study for than lower grades in subjects that are more traditionally valued. Choose subjects that you think will play to your skills and interests, and go from there.
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1st superstar
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(Original post by amabla)
Hello all ) I am currently a year 9 student who will have to pick her GCSE’s in March 2020, same as the rest of my UK age group.

However- neither of my parents studied in the UK so they don’t have any experience with the system. Also, I don’t have an older sibling who I can get advice from... so choosing will be a little tricky.

My strongest subject is English writing, with History coming in close second. Basically I’m good at anything in which writing essays/explanations/arguments is required. I aspire to be a lawyer (barrister) - I know that there aren’t specific GCSE requirements for this profession, but some insight would be very helpful

At my school, mandatory subjects are:
Maths
English
Science (Triple)
Modern Language (French for me)
and I think that’s it (I’m not sure though😂)

we have yet to have the official GCSE talk about subjects on offer, so I’m not sure what the options are, which make everyone’s life difficult😤😤

~unfortunately my school does not offer History of Art GCSE or Psychology GCSE, so those are out of the question~

Aside from this, I am a fluent Russian speaker/writer so I will take that GCSE separately, probably in year 10.

Also, what grades do Oxbridge require/want for GCSEs?

Any ideas for what I should pick or not pick? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you if you read this far🙏🏻
my old school was weird lol you had (and still have to) to do a language (if you were in pathway 1), RS and on top of that history or geo along with core subjects... really screwed me over as I would have much prefered to do French and Spanish (Spanish instead of History and I am fluent in French so I did French and History. They don't let you simultaneously do 2 languages despite you being fluent in one (most schools let you, but for some reason, you're simultaneously allowed to do History and geo in my old school?!?)) but anyways good luck!! In year 12 now lol.
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amabla
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
my old school was weird lol you had (and still have to) to do a language (if you were in pathway 1), RS and on top of that history or geo along with core subjects... really screwed me over as I would have much prefered to do French and Spanish (Spanish instead of History and I am fluent in French so I did French and History. They don't let you simultaneously do 2 languages despite you being fluent in one (most schools let you, but for some reason, you're simultaneously allowed to do History and geo in my old school?!?)) but anyways good luck!! In year 12 now lol.
That’s so weird!!
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1st superstar
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That’s so weird!!
and it's not until year 12 that I knew that lol. The only thing I agree with is the fact that I started my GCSEs in year 9 (so I did my options in year 8) and that my old school is really organised when it comes to exams not to brag but everyone should be taking notes from them but yeah I agree with you
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E3student
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
and it's not until year 12 that I knew that lol. The only thing I agree with is the fact that I started my GCSEs in year 9 (so I did my options in year 8) and that my old school is really organised when it comes to exams not to brag but everyone should be taking notes from them but yeah I agree with you
My school did the same thing. We picked options in year 8 and it’s good to have longer learning the gcse course.
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abbiieo
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(Original post by amabla)
Hello all ) I am currently a year 9 student who will have to pick her GCSE’s in March 2020, same as the rest of my UK age group.

However- neither of my parents studied in the UK so they don’t have any experience with the system. Also, I don’t have an older sibling who I can get advice from... so choosing will be a little tricky.

My strongest subject is English writing, with History coming in close second. Basically I’m good at anything in which writing essays/explanations/arguments is required. I aspire to be a lawyer (barrister) - I know that there aren’t specific GCSE requirements for this profession, but some insight would be very helpful

At my school, mandatory subjects are:
Maths
English
Science (Triple)
Modern Language (French for me)
and I think that’s it (I’m not sure though😂)

we have yet to have the official GCSE talk about subjects on offer, so I’m not sure what the options are, which make everyone’s life difficult😤😤

~unfortunately my school does not offer History of Art GCSE or Psychology GCSE, so those are out of the question~

Aside from this, I am a fluent Russian speaker/writer so I will take that GCSE separately, probably in year 10.

Also, what grades do Oxbridge require/want for GCSEs?

Any ideas for what I should pick or not pick? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you if you read this far🙏🏻
I'm studying both English and History and find them extremely fun! I also take ICT, I used to hate it in Year 9 but am really enjoying it at GCSE. It's also really easy and a relaxing lesson in between difficult/boring subjects. Although, it's important for you to choose whatever you feel you will enjoy the most!
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