grandiloquence
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I’m currently just finishing year 12 and a couple of teachers have suggested to me that I should think about applying for Oxbridge to study english.
I’m think I’m predicted either A*AA or AAA for my a levels in english lit, sociology and fine art.
my gcse grades are: 9877777665 (equiv. to 2A*s, 5A’s, 2B’s and a C)
I’m aware that these grades are decent and I’m v grateful for them personally, but I’m still not sure if they’re good enough for oxbridge (or oxford specifically). The B’s are in maths & chemistry and the C is in physics - would oxford take this into account, considering that they are not necessarily needed to study english?
Sorry this is kind of long, I know there’s a lot of threads like this but I would really really appreciate any advice. Thank you!!
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Omgcobbly
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honestly it depends on the school u went to. Oxford weights GCSEs quite heavily but in the context of the school you went to. You need to be at the very least in the top half of your year group and ideally well into the top 10%
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Claydo66
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I’d expect a few more 9s and 8s and maybe no 5s and less 6s. You are right they are a strong set of grades but maybe not for oxford. Cambridge claim to not take into account GCSE grades but it’s sort if an unwritten rule that you should have high GCSE grades as evidence of your consistent hard work and ability to achieve high throughout school.
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grandiloquence
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(Original post by Omgcobbly)
honestly it depends on the school u went to. Oxford weights GCSEs quite heavily but in the context of the school you went to. You need to be at the very least in the top half of your year group and ideally well into the top 10%
thanks for the advice! I went to a kinda below average state school and was quite near the top of my year group in terms of the actual grades I got. Do you think they would perhaps take that into consideration?
I’m also eligible for free school meals etc but I’m not sure if oxford really pays much attention to that sort of contextual data so that might be kinda irrelevant idk
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Omgcobbly
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(Original post by grandiloquence)
thanks for the advice! I went to a kinda below average state school and was quite near the top of my year group in terms of the actual grades I got. Do you think they would perhaps take that into consideration?
I’m also eligible for free school meals etc but I’m not sure if oxford really pays much attention to that sort of contextual data so that might be kinda irrelevant idk
then your GCSEs should be on the right course. While they're not the strongest in regards to 'oxbridge grades' they do take your school into account because getting good grades at a school like that would be so much harder than a really well equipped school like Eton. The contextual data will not hurt your application, as any university will pay a little more attention to those applications.

I know that Oxford weights academic achievement very strongly so make sure you have excellent results in any prelim tests and that should put you in good stead
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afie4
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(Original post by Omgcobbly)
then your GCSEs should be on the right course. While they're not the strongest in regards to 'oxbridge grades' they do take your school into account because getting good grades at a school like that would be so much harder than a really well equipped school like Eton. The contextual data will not hurt your application, as any university will pay a little more attention to those applications.

I know that Oxford weights academic achievement very strongly so make sure you have excellent results in any prelim tests and that should put you in good stead
I completely second this!! got offered a place this year with pretty mediocre gcses (state school etc.) but did well in the test. you'll be fine
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artful_lounger
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To begin with, as usually stated, Oxford emphasises GCSEs more than Cambridge, so if your GCSEs are relatively weaker it's usually a better idea to focus on Cambridge. However both consider your grades in context, and if you are eligible for free school lunches this is I believe normally one of the contextual flags they consider, so your GCSE grades may be considered better in that context than you might otherwise believe.

Even beside that, for Oxford it does vary somewhat between courses anyway. Generally if there is a pre-interview admissions assessment, this will often count for a lot - so doing very well in e.g. the PAT may ameliorate weaker GCSE grades. Of course this does vary; while medicine does also take account of the BMAT, GCSEs are still quite important (and for medicine, your GCSEs by themselves are probably not that competitive; I don't know how much the contextual factors may weight that though).

I think in view of the contextual flag, and the fact that you could potentially do extremely well in the ELAT and that may outweight weaker GCSEs anyway (along with the fact that ELL at Oxford interivews a relatively high proportion of applicants anyway) it is certainly a possibility. That said, I might still be inclined to recommend Cambridge as an alternative consideration just to be on the "safe side" as I think it's very likely you would be interviewed and "in the running" from the start provided you are predicted A*AA.

Is there a particular aspect of the course at Oxford that appeals to you more than at Cambridge? Bearing in mind if you're particularly interested in English philology (i.e. Old/Middle English) you can take medieval literature courses at Cambridge and I believe borrow the relevant language papers from the ASNAC tripos. That said, if your interest is particularly in that medieval period, ASNAC would probably be the more appealing course even over the course II ELL at Oxford anyway!
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grandiloquence
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
To begin with, as usually stated, Oxford emphasises GCSEs more than Cambridge, so if your GCSEs are relatively weaker it's usually a better idea to focus on Cambridge. However both consider your grades in context, and if you are eligible for free school lunches this is I believe normally one of the contextual flags they consider, so your GCSE grades may be considered better in that context than you might otherwise believe.

Even beside that, for Oxford it does vary somewhat between courses anyway. Generally if there is a pre-interview admissions assessment, this will often count for a lot - so doing very well in e.g. the PAT may ameliorate weaker GCSE grades. Of course this does vary; while medicine does also take account of the BMAT, GCSEs are still quite important (and for medicine, your GCSEs by themselves are probably not that competitive; I don't know how much the contextual factors may weight that though).

I think in view of the contextual flag, and the fact that you could potentially do extremely well in the ELAT and that may outweight weaker GCSEs anyway (along with the fact that ELL at Oxford interivews a relatively high proportion of applicants anyway) it is certainly a possibility. That said, I might still be inclined to recommend Cambridge as an alternative consideration just to be on the "safe side" as I think it's very likely you would be interviewed and "in the running" from the start provided you are predicted A*AA.

Is there a particular aspect of the course at Oxford that appeals to you more than at Cambridge? Bearing in mind if you're particularly interested in English philology (i.e. Old/Middle English) you can take medieval literature courses at Cambridge and I believe borrow the relevant language papers from the ASNAC tripos. That said, if your interest is particularly in that medieval period, ASNAC would probably be the more appealing course even over the course II ELL at Oxford anyway!
So far I have been leaning more towards oxford mainly because their entry requirements for english (AAA) are a grade lower than that of cambridge (A*AA) so I assumed it would be the better option? Cambridge itself is also very local to me so I guess I find oxford more appealing as it is somewhere new. From what I have researched so far I find both courses appealing although oxford does stick out to me - I like the emphasis on middle english as I’ve never had a chance to learn it at school previously. Although, by taking my gcse grades into account, I suppose you are right & I should perhaps take cambridge into account.
Thanks for the reply, it’s really helpful

(Original post by afie4)
I completely second this!! got offered a place this year with pretty mediocre gcses (state school etc.) but did well in the test. you'll be fine
Thank you!! Congrats on your offer btw, that’s brilliant!
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