Importance of GCSEs when applying to study Maths at Oxbridge, Imperial, Warwick, etc?

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domm1
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I'm currently in Year 12 but am aspiring to read Mathematics at either Oxbridge, Imperial, Warwick, Durham, etc. For A-Level I am taking Maths, Further Maths, Economics, and History, and am aiming to achieve at least A*A*A*A respectively.

However, due to a lack of effort during my earlier years led me to attain GCSEs below what I should've been achieving (was annoyingly the 'Covid year' as well so I ended up getting my exact Mock results instead of sitting the exams which was slightly frustrating), in which I 'achieved' 988887665.

I'd been scanning TSR to find out any more information on the importance held by Oxbridge and other top universities on applicants GCSE results, and it had been mentioned within certain forum pages that for Maths applicants, focus on GCSE results was quite light (less compared to other courses, and by this I don't just mean Medicine and Law) and instead heavy focus was put on the admissions exams instead; is this true? And if so, with these far below average Oxbridge GCSE results, would you say I'd still have at least some what of a chance against these other applicants, as long as I achieved either A*A*A*A / A*A*A*A* in Maths, Further Maths, Economics and History respectively?

One final thing, I know that Physics is by no means necessary when applying to an undergraduate Maths course, but I wouldn't be put at a disadvantage for not taking it would I? And I know that History holds no correlation to Maths, but that wouldn't mean that they would show no care towards my History A-Level would they, especially if it was an A*?
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Franco28
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(Original post by domm1)
I'm currently in Year 12 but am aspiring to read Mathematics at either Oxbridge, Imperial, Warwick, Durham, etc. For A-Level I am taking Maths, Further Maths, Economics, and History, and am aiming to achieve at least A*A*A*A respectively.

However, due to a lack of effort during my earlier years led me to attain GCSEs below what I should've been achieving (was annoyingly the 'Covid year' as well so I ended up getting my exact Mock results instead of sitting the exams which was slightly frustrating), in which I 'achieved' 988887665.

I'd been scanning TSR to find out any more information on the importance held by Oxbridge and other top universities on applicants GCSE results, and it had been mentioned within certain forum pages that for Maths applicants, focus on GCSE results was quite light (less compared to other courses, and by this I don't just mean Medicine and Law) and instead heavy focus was put on the admissions exams instead; is this true? And if so, with these far below average Oxbridge GCSE results, would you say I'd still have at least some what of a chance against these other applicants, as long as I achieved either A*A*A*A / A*A*A*A* in Maths, Further Maths, Economics and History respectively?

One final thing, I know that Physics is by no means necessary when applying to an undergraduate Maths course, but I wouldn't be put at a disadvantage for not taking it would I? And I know that History holds no correlation to Maths, but that wouldn't mean that they would show no care towards my History A-Level would they, especially if it was an A*?
I actually wrote an email ot oxbridge about doing 4 A Levels and they said for me (i wanna do law) 4 A Levels its useless cause they will only look at my best ones and completely ignore the last one. HOWEVER, STEM people doing 4 A Levels are in advantage! They will take them in consideration above those with only 3 A Levels. Furthermore, as long as you have 2 A Levels related to business its fine! They expect you to do the A Levels for the Degree you want and also they A Levels you really enjoy, so no, they are not gonna ignore it, actually, they will see you have a strong essay writing! Which its fantastic to have. As and your GCSE looks fantastic to me, yes they could be better, anything could be better, but that doesn’t mean they are bad so dont worry, they are pretty strong. You got A*A*A*A*A*ABBC which its really good, however if you got a bad grade in something Business really wants to have above B (6) then maybe you could be in a risk, but if you have all the importants GCSEs in A* then you good. Good luck! also, any tips for A Level History?? I’ll need some tips
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domm1
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(Original post by Franco28)
I actually wrote an email ot oxbridge about doing 4 A Levels and they said for me (i wanna do law) 4 A Levels its useless cause they will only look at my best ones and completely ignore the last one. HOWEVER, STEM people doing 4 A Levels are in advantage! They will take them in consideration above those with only 3 A Levels. Furthermore, as long as you have 2 A Levels related to business its fine! They expect you to do the A Levels for the Degree you want and also they A Levels you really enjoy, so no, they are not gonna ignore it, actually, they will see you have a strong essay writing! Which its fantastic to have. As and your GCSE looks fantastic to me, yes they could be better, anything could be better, but that doesn’t mean they are bad so dont worry, they are pretty strong. You got A*A*A*A*A*ABBC which its really good, however if you got a bad grade in something Business really wants to have above B (6) then maybe you could be in a risk, but if you have all the importants GCSEs in A* then you good. Good luck! also, any tips for A Level History?? I’ll need some tips
Oh that's great to hear about the advantage of the 4 A-Levels over the 3 for STEM subject students!

Business was actually the subject I got my Grade 9 in aha, with my Grade 8's being in Maths, History, Computer Science, and Science ( being an 8-7). So luckily all subjects I've taken forward to A-Level I have achieved A*-equivalents in at GCSE level (with Business having links into Economics, and obviously the direct link from Maths to Maths and Further Maths, and History to, History).

My lower grades were in English and French, French being my Grade 5 (languages were never the one for me), and my two Grade 6's being in English Language and Literature (feel like I could've had Grade 7's in these if I'd of actually been able to sit the actual exams but oh well, even my teacher said I could've achieved them but was then predicted a Grade 6 in the end:confused:).

And tips for History: If I'm honest don't really have the most amazing advice, but would just say always make sure you keep heavy focus on what the actual question is asking when writing your answer, don't 'waffle' too much, but instead make sure you always link every one of your points (whatever they may be) to the question, otherwise you're basically writing things for no reason. Focus less on the fact-feeding and more on always linking back and explaining the importance of the factors you're discussing on how it led to/caused whatever the question has asked. And also, my teacher told us this as she said it was extremely vital, but ALWAYS make sure to link your paragraph to the paragraph previous, in the sense of how the effects of your factor mentioned in P1 led to causation of the factor in P2. She used the idea that if you were to jumble up all of your key paragraphs in a random order, and your essay still made perfect sense, then you aren't doing it correctly. Sorry I'm quite poor when it comes to giving advice but I hoped at least one thing I mentioned helped!
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casabonita
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I think since all unis will know that you only achieved ur predicted grades, they may look at GCSEs a little less next year. 4 A*s would be great obviously, but what's probably most important for the top unis is the admissions exams. For Oxford and Imperial, they'll mainly base ur offer off of ur MAT score (then ur interview at Oxford), so if you do amazingly in that, they'll overlook ur GCSEs (not that they aren't great, they just may be lower than the average applicant). Then with Warwick and Durham, they also look at ur MAT or STEP score, but I think they give you a reduced offer based off your score, rather than choosing applicants purely off the exam result.

So I'd say since you had a weird GCSE year, just focus on doing ur a-levels for now and I reckon you'll have a great chance!
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Franco28
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(Original post by domm1)
Oh that's great to hear about the advantage of the 4 A-Levels over the 3 for STEM subject students!

Business was actually the subject I got my Grade 9 in aha, with my Grade 8's being in Maths, History, Computer Science, and Science ( being an 8-7). So luckily all subjects I've taken forward to A-Level I have achieved A*-equivalents in at GCSE level (with Business having links into Economics, and obviously the direct link from Maths to Maths and Further Maths, and History to, History).

My lower grades were in English and French, French being my Grade 5 (languages were never the one for me), and my two Grade 6's being in English Language and Literature (feel like I could've had Grade 7's in these if I'd of actually been able to sit the actual exams but oh well, even my teacher said I could've achieved them but was then predicted a Grade 6 in the end:confused:).

And tips for History: If I'm honest don't really have the most amazing advice, but would just say always make sure you keep heavy focus on what the actual question is asking when writing your answer, don't 'waffle' too much, but instead make sure you always link every one of your points (whatever they may be) to the question, otherwise you're basically writing things for no reason. Focus less on the fact-feeding and more on always linking back and explaining the importance of the factors you're discussing on how it led to/caused whatever the question has asked. And also, my teacher told us this as she said it was extremely vital, but ALWAYS make sure to link your paragraph to the paragraph previous, in the sense of how the effects of your factor mentioned in P1 led to causation of the factor in P2. She used the idea that if you were to jumble up all of your key paragraphs in a random order, and your essay still made perfect sense, then you aren't doing it correctly. Sorry I'm quite poor when it comes to giving advice but I hoped at least one thing I mentioned helped!
See? Wow, this are excellent grades! Don’t worry too much about english, they want English above B anyways which you already have! And for a foreign language its normaly required a Grade C and above (5) which it’s something you already have (if its required to have a language). So don’t worry about it, you already have the required grades for English and French. Im not sure about the 5 in French, but For International Law Degree in UCL and LSE and I think KCL you need a grade above 5 in your foreign language. And thank you for the tip, I’ll do that in my next essay so it makes sense. I just ask myself how I got an A* in History GCSE cause its difficult, and A Levels seems impossible to do.
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Franco28
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(Original post by domm1)
Oh that's great to hear about the advantage of the 4 A-Levels over the 3 for STEM subject students!

Business was actually the subject I got my Grade 9 in aha, with my Grade 8's being in Maths, History, Computer Science, and Science ( being an 8-7). So luckily all subjects I've taken forward to A-Level I have achieved A*-equivalents in at GCSE level (with Business having links into Economics, and obviously the direct link from Maths to Maths and Further Maths, and History to, History).

My lower grades were in English and French, French being my Grade 5 (languages were never the one for me), and my two Grade 6's being in English Language and Literature (feel like I could've had Grade 7's in these if I'd of actually been able to sit the actual exams but oh well, even my teacher said I could've achieved them but was then predicted a Grade 6 in the end:confused:).

And tips for History: If I'm honest don't really have the most amazing advice, but would just say always make sure you keep heavy focus on what the actual question is asking when writing your answer, don't 'waffle' too much, but instead make sure you always link every one of your points (whatever they may be) to the question, otherwise you're basically writing things for no reason. Focus less on the fact-feeding and more on always linking back and explaining the importance of the factors you're discussing on how it led to/caused whatever the question has asked. And also, my teacher told us this as she said it was extremely vital, but ALWAYS make sure to link your paragraph to the paragraph previous, in the sense of how the effects of your factor mentioned in P1 led to causation of the factor in P2. She used the idea that if you were to jumble up all of your key paragraphs in a random order, and your essay still made perfect sense, then you aren't doing it correctly. Sorry I'm quite poor when it comes to giving advice but I hoped at least one thing I mentioned helped!
Also, could you help me with a question? im also really worried for my GCSE’s as they are pretty low. I got strong grades for like related GCSE’s to Law such as a A* in Spanish, A in English Language and History A*. But my others ones are almost all Bs. I need a grade above 6 in English which I’m good cause I have a 7, but I need also a maths grade above 6 but sadly I got 5. They said to retake it on their website. Should I retake it or risk it?? I just hate maths but I know that If i put efforts I can achieve a 7 at least. Also, Imagine I got expect A Levels A*A*A and EPQ A*,and Music Qualification Grade 8 D (which is the top grade, and this is like an extra curricular activity for uni and for extra ucas point). Also imagine I have a killer personal statement and lot of really good work experience. Should I still retake maths in this situation or risk it?😂 I just hate maths so much but I guess 5 is not enough so idk. Do I need a tutor??
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domm1
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(Original post by casabonita)
I think since all unis will know that you only achieved ur predicted grades, they may look at GCSEs a little less next year. 4 A*s would be great obviously, but what's probably most important for the top unis is the admissions exams. For Oxford and Imperial, they'll mainly base ur offer off of ur MAT score (then ur interview at Oxford), so if you do amazingly in that, they'll overlook ur GCSEs (not that they aren't great, they just may be lower than the average applicant). Then with Warwick and Durham, they also look at ur MAT or STEP score, but I think they give you a reduced offer based off your score, rather than choosing applicants purely off the exam result.

So I'd say since you had a weird GCSE year, just focus on doing ur a-levels for now and I reckon you'll have a great chance!
See that's how I would expect universities to interpret the grades of my year as well, as they are far from stupid and know that many of the set of GCSEs students obtained this year were far below what they were capable of.

But yes I'm swaying more-so towards the option of wanting to apply to Cambridge for their Mathematics course, and so have already started making some progress on the consideration of STEP by making a start on the STEP Support Programme Foundation modules, and once completed all 25 assignments, will attempt to move on to the STEP 2 modules, however I understand these may be very challenging for me if I'm planning on making a start on these in Year 12, considering the fact that they're based off of A-Level Maths and AS-Level Further Maths; guess I might have to start learning some A2 content early!
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domm1
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(Original post by Franco28)
Also, could you help me with a question? im also really worried for my GCSE’s as they are pretty low. I got strong grades for like related GCSE’s to Law such as a A* in Spanish, A in English Language and History A*. But my others ones are almost all Bs. I need a grade above 6 in English which I’m good cause I have a 7, but I need also a maths grade above 6 but sadly I got 5. They said to retake it on their website. Should I retake it or risk it?? I just hate maths but I know that If i put efforts I can achieve a 7 at least. Also, Imagine I got expect A Levels A*A*A and EPQ A*,and Music Qualification Grade 8 D (which is the top grade, and this is like an extra curricular activity for uni and for extra ucas point). Also imagine I have a killer personal statement and lot of really good work experience. Should I still retake maths in this situation or risk it?😂 I just hate maths so much but I guess 5 is not enough so idk. Do I need a tutor??
See I'd argue it'd be a good idea to resit, but with consideration of your other grades in both GCSE and A-Level, I feel like a GCSE Maths result couldn't affect you too much (could it?); however I must say, on the consideration of your other GCSEs, you could most definitely boost that grade up to at least a 7 if not 8 (you're clearly a bright student), with no need of a tutor.

May I ask what university you're looking to apply to and the entry requirements for such course?
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domm1
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(Original post by domm1)
See I'd argue it'd be a good idea to resit, but with consideration of your other grades in both GCSE and A-Level, I feel like a GCSE Maths result couldn't affect you too much (could it?); however I must say, on the consideration of your other GCSEs, you could most definitely boost that grade up to at least a 7 if not 8 (you're clearly a bright student), with no need of a tutor.

May I ask what university you're looking to apply to and the entry requirements for such course?
With the added fact that you were only one grade below the grade they are looking for.
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(Original post by domm1)
See I'd argue it'd be a good idea to resit, but with consideration of your other grades in both GCSE and A-Level, I feel like a GCSE Maths result couldn't affect you too much (could it?); however I must say, on the consideration of your other GCSEs, you could most definitely boost that grade up to at least a 7 if not 8 (you're clearly a bright student), with no need of a tutor.

May I ask what university you're looking to apply to and the entry requirements for such course?
Awww thank you, but you are more brighter. Imagine being good in maths oof. Well I’m hoping to go to Oxford Uni (A*AA), UCL (A*AA)( english maths Grade 6 and foreign language above 5 gcse), LSE the same as UCL and KCL the same as UCL and Glasgow Uni the same as UCL. The thing is im basically Spanish which that means I already have secured an A*, my lst history essay i achieved an A, which means i hopefully have a predicted grade this term of an A and for psychology my exam is tomorrow! im so stressed omg. And my EPQ its expected an A* my teacher said, because of my essay writing skills. BUT THAT MATHS GRADE IS KEEPING ME WORRIED. And yeah having that 8 in Maths would boost my GCSE’s up, I’ll have A*A*A*ABBBBB and a Music C. Im so annoyed with Music cause I hated revising for it but I’m really good playing piano. So I’m gonna get a Music Qualification on Practical with no Theorical
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Interea
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(Original post by Franco28)
Awww thank you, but you are more brighter. Imagine being good in maths oof. Well I’m hoping to go to Oxford Uni (A*AA), UCL (A*AA)( english maths Grade 6 and foreign language above 5 gcse), LSE the same as UCL and KCL the same as UCL and Glasgow Uni the same as UCL. The thing is im basically Spanish which that means I already have secured an A*, my lst history essay i achieved an A, which means i hopefully have a predicted grade this term of an A and for psychology my exam is tomorrow! im so stressed omg. And my EPQ its expected an A* my teacher said, because of my essay writing skills. BUT THAT MATHS GRADE IS KEEPING ME WORRIED. And yeah having that 8 in Maths would boost my GCSE’s up, I’ll have A*A*A*ABBBBB and a Music C. Im so annoyed with Music cause I hated revising for it but I’m really good playing piano. So I’m gonna get a Music Qualification on Practical with no Theorical
Unis tend to be pretty inflexible on GCSE maths and English requirements if they have them, so I really would resit it if you can.
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(Original post by Interea)
Unis tend to be pretty inflexible on GCSE maths and English requirements if they have them, so I really would resit it if you can.
Okay thank you!
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(Original post by domm1)
See that's how I would expect universities to interpret the grades of my year as well, as they are far from stupid and know that many of the set of GCSEs students obtained this year were far below what they were capable of.

But yes I'm swaying more-so towards the option of wanting to apply to Cambridge for their Mathematics course, and so have already started making some progress on the consideration of STEP by making a start on the STEP Support Programme Foundation modules, and once completed all 25 assignments, will attempt to move on to the STEP 2 modules, however I understand these may be very challenging for me if I'm planning on making a start on these in Year 12, considering the fact that they're based off of A-Level Maths and AS-Level Further Maths; guess I might have to start learning some A2 content early!
maybe try STEP one first ! i might be wrong but i think the first one only includes AS maths would be good practice and maybe u could even enter for it?
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(Original post by casabonita)
maybe try STEP one first ! i might be wrong but i think the first one only includes AS maths would be good practice and maybe u could even enter for it?
STEP 1 doesn't exist any more (though of course the past papers are still around).
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(Original post by RichE)
STEP 1 doesn't exist any more (though of course the past papers are still around).
oh haha my bad, past papers would probs be good prep still
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I'm in a very similar situation to the person who wrote the original post on this thread. I am a year above him however and have already submitted my UCAS application. I have A*A*A*A* predictions in Maths, Further maths, Chemistry and Economics, but my GCSEs were 9998888866, with the 9s being in maths and double science award. the 6s were in DT and Business studies. I slacked a lot during year 10/11 and only recently found motivation to study and aspire to apply to Cambridge for maths. I am wondering if the lack of a physics A level and below Oxbridge standard GCSEs will impact my application much? Particularly, as I wasn't part of the covid year.
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(Original post by anonymous1026)
I'm in a very similar situation to the person who wrote the original post on this thread. I am a year above him however and have already submitted my UCAS application. I have A*A*A*A* predictions in Maths, Further maths, Chemistry and Economics, but my GCSEs were 9998888866, with the 9s being in maths and double science award. the 6s were in DT and Business studies. I slacked a lot during year 10/11 and only recently found motivation to study and aspire to apply to Cambridge for maths. I am wondering if the lack of a physics A level and below Oxbridge standard GCSEs will impact my application much? Particularly, as I wasn't part of the
you'll be fine
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(Original post by royalty1702)
you'll be fine
Thanks for the quick reply, do you have a background in maths?
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(Original post by anonymous1026)
Thanks for the quick reply, do you have a background in maths?
nope i did further maths though and know people who applied for maths at top unis
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Interea
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(Original post by anonymous1026)
I'm in a very similar situation to the person who wrote the original post on this thread. I am a year above him however and have already submitted my UCAS application. I have A*A*A*A* predictions in Maths, Further maths, Chemistry and Economics, but my GCSEs were 9998888866, with the 9s being in maths and double science award. the 6s were in DT and Business studies. I slacked a lot during year 10/11 and only recently found motivation to study and aspire to apply to Cambridge for maths. I am wondering if the lack of a physics A level and below Oxbridge standard GCSEs will impact my application much? Particularly, as I wasn't part of the covid year.
I can't speak for Cambridge as their application process is a lot more involved, but for most unis you will be absolutely fine - all they care about is good maths A level and GCSEs that suggest your predicted grades are realistic, so with 4A*s (including further maths which a lot of unis don't require) you will definitely get offers.
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