P.GG
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I want to do English literature with philosophy and my predicted grades are all A's but my GCSE's were terrible. I got 5 grade 6's, 1 grade for and 2-grade threes. Should I even bother applying
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PetitePanda
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Hi, I moved your thread to a more relevant forum For Oxford, I wouldn't if I was in your position due to the sheer competitiveness and their strictness in GCSEs but I'm not really an expert in Oxford tho. I would try to contact Durham and see if it's possible or find a FOI or request a FOI on for what GCSEs a successful candidate has on whatdotheyknow.com
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PL1234
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(Original post by P.GG)
I want to do English literature with philosophy and my predicted grades are all A's but my GCSE's were terrible. I got 5 grade 6's, 1 grade for and 2-grade threes. Should I even bother applying
It depends on what the 3s and 4s are in.
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P.GG
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(Original post by PL1234)
It depends on what the 3s and 4s are in.
French and History and Food tech
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PL1234
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(Original post by P.GG)
French and History and Food tech
Yh so it shouldn’t be too detrimental
Do you think your school could give you a contextual advantage?
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Martins1
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(Original post by P.GG)
I want to do English literature with philosophy and my predicted grades are all A's but my GCSE's were terrible. I got 5 grade 6's, 1 grade for and 2-grade threes. Should I even bother applying
Don't necessarily rule them out. Oxford and Durham are both institutions that consider you as an academic applicant beyond just grades. Oxford also employs admissions tests (TSA for courses involving philosophy (with a few exceptions), and ELAT for english) and an interview which means there are more pieces of data for them to understand your full picture.
Oxford considers your GCSEs as against the average at your school. So if you got the average score at your uni, you'd get given a "0" at Ox. If you got a bit better, maybe a 0.5, if you got a lot worse, maybe a -1. That means your score may be better than someone with straight 8s (if their school's average was half 8s and half 9s, for example).
Btw, Oxford doesn't offer EngLit and Philosophy - it does offer just English Lang & Lit, English and History, English and Classics, and English and Modern Languages. I can't remember what Durham offers, but look into the "Liberal Arts" course - it's super interesting, and right up your street! (It's basically Humanities pick 'n' Mix).

Here's some fun statistics:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque..._passthrough=1 (note the decreasing average number of GCSE A*s of successful applicants)

That said, those grades may be too low for Oxford - but worth looking into but the GCSEs alone won't rule you out. However, the average offer holder also holds more A*s at A level. Again, this doesn't rule you out, but it does lower your chances. Durham seems reasonable to me.
(Original post by PetitePanda)
Hi, I moved your thread to a more relevant forum For Oxford, I wouldn't if I was in your position due to the sheer competitiveness and their strictness in GCSEs but I'm not really an expert in Oxford tho. I would try to contact Durham and see if it's possible or find a FOI or request a FOI on for what GCSEs a successful candidate has on whatdotheyknow.com
Just thought I'd point out the above - Oxford obviously does require high standards, but they're often willing to look past bad GCSEs for the following reasons:
-a good score on the admissions test
-a good interview
-mitigating circumstances
-your context (see above)!
Especially if - like here - your A level grades are good!

Regarding FOIs:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...coming-1249843 (on ELAT and A level)
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...utgoing-914726 (on written work and interviews)
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...whatdotheyknow (some info about GCSEs)
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by P.GG)
I want to do English literature with philosophy and my predicted grades are all A's but my GCSE's were terrible. I got 5 grade 6's, 1 grade for and 2-grade threes. Should I even bother applying
If your GCSEs (and predicted 'A' level grades) meet the entry requirements, then apply. What do you have to lose? Oxford puts a lot of weight on its own assessment, typically via admissions tests and interviews. You will start with a disadvantage (unless your school explains it), but the admissions tests can compensate for it. Oxford is still a bit of a lottery, but you can only win if you buy a ticket. Good luck.
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PetitePanda
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(Original post by Martins1)
Don't necessarily rule them out. Oxford and Durham are both institutions that consider you as an academic applicant beyond just grades. Oxford also employs admissions tests (TSA for courses involving philosophy (with a few exceptions), and ELAT for english) and an interview which means there are more pieces of data for them to understand your full picture.
Oxford considers your GCSEs as against the average at your school. So if you got the average score at your uni, you'd get given a "0" at Ox. If you got a bit better, maybe a 0.5, if you got a lot worse, maybe a -1. That means your score may be better than someone with straight 8s (if their school's average was half 8s and half 9s, for example).
Btw, Oxford doesn't offer EngLit and Philosophy - it does offer just English Lang & Lit, English and History, English and Classics, and English and Modern Languages. I can't remember what Durham offers, but look into the "Liberal Arts" course - it's super interesting, and right up your street! (It's basically Humanities pick 'n' Mix).

Here's some fun statistics:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque..._passthrough=1 (note the decreasing average number of GCSE A*s of successful applicants)

That said, those grades may be too low for Oxford - but worth looking into but the GCSEs alone won't rule you out. However, the average offer holder also holds more A*s at A level. Again, this doesn't rule you out, but it does lower your chances. Durham seems reasonable to me.

Just thought I'd point out the above - Oxford obviously does require high standards, but they're often willing to look past bad GCSEs for the following reasons:
-a good score on the admissions test
-a good interview
-mitigating circumstances
-your context (see above)!
Especially if - like here - your A level grades are good!

Regarding FOIs:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...coming-1249843 (on ELAT and A level)
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...utgoing-914726 (on written work and interviews)
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/reque...whatdotheyknow (some info about GCSEs)
I knew that they compared people from your school but I didn't know about that system existed - thank you for the new information.
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artful_lounger
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Although it is true that Oxford weighs the relevant admissions test more than GCSEs usually, and they consider GCSEs in context and holistically, I think it's a bit much to suggest they will ignore GCSEs altogether. Also it's worth noting that while a good interview probably will trump GCSEs, Oxford usually uses GCSEs during it's shortlisting process to determine who to invite to interview in the first place. There is then a good chance poor GCSEs may well leave OP out of the running from the get-go.

Also as noted, there is not joint school in English and Philosophy at Oxford - although you can take a single ancient or medieval philosophy paper in classics and English. If literature (not necessarily English literature) and philosophy are of interest, then the main classics course may be worth considering, as you can take as much philosophy as any other joint school in that course (up to 5 papers in finals, one of which may be a thesis, plus one paper in the FPE), and of course the wide range of classical literature options. Of course this does require you study at least one of the languages in the course, and at least half your finals papers have to be "text based" (i.e. studying the relevant text(s) in the original language, rather than in translation).
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