Getting screwed over by predicted grades test

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Brandon Reed
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Hi all! As the title says, my school conducts 2 exams per subject in my A2 year, one in September and one in December which they use for our predicted grades. I got an A in my Chemistry and Maths tests (since the tests are only based on the A2 syllabus I can't get an A*), but fell sick during my Physics test and got a B. My school's policy is to bump our grades by one for the predicted grades. I want to apply to study Physics at Oxford, but will not having an A* in physics hinder my chances even though I've met the minimum requirements? In other words, will simply meeting the entry requirements (A*AA with a* in either math or phy) be enough (provided the rest of my application is strong enough) or will not having 3A*s make not competitive enough? I'm asking this because my school is hesitant to let me retake my physics test despite my circumstances, so I want to know if it's worth pushing harder for them to let me retake it. The school is aware that I'm capable because I achieved 4As in my AS Level, but they wish to go by the books :'( Pls reply asap as I have less than 4 days to get everything sorted, and thanks!
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McGinger
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Don't apply this year.

Work your socks off for the bext grades you can get (use 'I'll show them' as your motivaion) - and then apply next year.
Applying for Oxford is stressful/busy and combining this will a heavy A level work load is hard. If you apply during a gap year it will be 'easier' - and you probably know by Xmas if you are going get an Oxford interview, leaving the rest of the year free for travel/other adventues before you go to Uni.
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Brandon Reed
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I mean, do I really have to tho? I have 2A*s in Math and Chemistry and an A in physics, I just wanted to know if I will be tremendously disadvantaged for not having an A* in physics, even though I do meet the minimum requirement. If I will be disadvantaged I can try pushing my school to let me take a retest. This is all provided other admission criterion like Personal Statement and PAT are above the standard ofcourse!



At the end of the day, Oxford is a dream uni but I know I will have a great time studying in any other uni too, but I don't want to live with the guilt that I didnt try hard enough if that makes sense! Also I don't know if this is the right thing to do but I've seen people like Sinnoh reply to a lot of physics applicant threads so any advice from u guys is much appreciated! :3
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by Brandon Reed)
I mean, do I really have to tho? I have 2A*s in Math and Chemistry and an A in physics, I just wanted to know if I will be tremendously disadvantaged for not having an A* in physics, even though I do meet the minimum requirement. If I will be disadvantaged I can try pushing my school to let me take a retest. This is all provided other admission criterion like Personal Statement and PAT are above the standard ofcourse!



At the end of the day, Oxford is a dream uni but I know I will have a great time studying in any other uni too, but I don't want to live with the guilt that I didnt try hard enough if that makes sense! Also I don't know if this is the right thing to do but I've seen people like Sinnoh reply to a lot of physics applicant threads so any advice from u guys is much appreciated! :3
Well I agree with the advice already given really.

You apply, and either you get in or you don't. Fretting about the chances of getting in doesn't actually affect your chances of getting in. If you want to go to Oxford for physics, and you don't get in this year, you can apply next year and give it another go. If you're asking your teachers to bump up your predicted grade, presumably you think you'll actually achieve it, right? So it wouldn't be an issue then?
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PQ
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I would recommend applying this year anyway tbh. There’s no harm in getting experience applying and if you don’t get an offer from Oxford you can accept another university and then see how you do in August - if you get top grades then you can reapply during a gap year, if you don’t then you can go straight to one of your other choices.

Oxford use a range of information, predicted grades aren’t the only thing they use to filter applications. And your 4 As at AS are likely to have more weight given to them than predictions
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Brandon Reed
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(Original post by Sinnoh)
Well I agree with the advice already given really.

You apply, and either you get in or you don't. Fretting about the chances of getting in doesn't actually affect your chances of getting in. If you want to go to Oxford for physics, and you don't get in this year, you can apply next year and give it another go. If you're asking your teachers to bump up your predicted grade, presumably you think you'll actually achieve it, right? So it wouldn't be an issue then?
Yeah... Well unfortunately my school has its way of assessing predicted grades so you could have gotten 10 As in AS Level but if you mess up in the internal assessment then you could end up get 3Es predicted. My problem is amplified because I was absent in most of my online classes due to personal reasons, but I got along really well with my peers and teachers in the 3 or so months of physical classes during my AS Levels before schools closed again due to covid surges. Hence my teachers are super willing to write references and give good predicted grades, but my school administration has taken a disliking due to my erratic attendance etc.
Accepting the reality that my application might not even be glanced over because of what is ultimately my own mistake was a hard pill to swallow, but I am mentally preparing myself that I could and probably would end up having a great time elsewhere, or take a gap year and redo the whole thing.
P.S: Since I'm on good terms with my Math and Physics teachers who are writing a joint reference, do you think I should ask them to mention that my predicted grades were low due to extenuating circumstances+covid?
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Brandon Reed
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(Original post by PQ)
I would recommend applying this year anyway tbh. There’s no harm in getting experience applying and if you don’t get an offer from Oxford you can accept another university and then see how you do in August - if you get top grades then you can reapply during a gap year, if you don’t then you can go straight to one of your other choices.

Oxford use a range of information, predicted grades aren’t the only thing they use to filter applications. And your 4 As at AS are likely to have more weight given to them than predictions
Thank you that helps me become waaaaaaaaay less anxious! My GCSEs are also very solid, so do you suppose that i will still be *atleast* considered if I ace the PAT despite not meeting the entry requirements? Much appreciated if you can shed some light on my doubt to Sinnoh as well;
Since I'm on good terms with my Math and Physics teachers who are writing a joint reference, do you think I should ask them to mention that my predicted grades were low due to extenuating circumstances+covid?
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Brandon Reed
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Also, one last question, sorry! Now that I am applying to Oxford with this set of predicted grades, if I do better in my school assessments in December and they are willing to increase my predicted grades, will I be allowed to use the new set for my other 4 choices or will UCAS hard-lock me into the grades that I use for Oxford? Put in another way, am I allowed to change my predicted grades between choices?
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PQ
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(Original post by Brandon Reed)
Also, one last question, sorry! Now that I am applying to Oxford with this set of predicted grades, if I do better in my school assessments in December and they are willing to increase my predicted grades, will I be allowed to use the new set for my other 4 choices or will UCAS hard-lock me into the grades that I use for Oxford? Put in another way, am I allowed to change my predicted grades between choices?
Your predicted grades are part of your reference. Your reference and PS cannot be amended once submitted.
Your teachers can contact universities directly but tbh I think you’re massively overthinking this and misunderstanding how most universities use predicted grades.
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Brandon Reed
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(Original post by PQ)
Your predicted grades are part of your reference. Your reference and PS cannot be amended once submitted.
Your teachers can contact universities directly but tbh I think you’re massively overthinking this and misunderstanding how most universities use predicted grades.
Aww I see. Regarding how predicted grades are used, I figured (at least for the elite universities) that at the very minimum my predicted grades had to meet the minimum requirement to even be considered but the more A*s the better as I see 99% of the students that get in have 3A*s predicted. Is this not the case and is all not lost because I have a B on my predicted grades?
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PQ
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(Original post by Brandon Reed)
Aww I see. Regarding how predicted grades are used, I figured (at least for the elite universities) that at the very minimum my predicted grades had to meet the minimum requirement to even be considered but the more A*s the better as I see 99% of the students that get in have 3A*s predicted. Is this not the case and is all not lost because I have a B on my predicted grades?
You said in the OP that your predicted grades would be A*A*A
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Brandon Reed
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(Original post by PQ)
You said in the OP that your predicted grades would be A*A*A
I got in touch with my school after the post and it ended up being A*AB unfortunately I wasn't expecting it at all and hence why I'm requesting my school to let me retake considering I was ill.
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Brandon Reed
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(Original post by Brandon Reed)
I got in touch with my school after the post and it ended up being A*AB unfortunately I wasn't expecting it at all and hence why I'm requesting my school to let me retake considering I was ill.
I realize the entire scope of the post changes between these 12 hours and I'm sorry if I'm coming off as dishonest, but this is simply the situation I've gotten myself into and I'm trying to find some way out of this in the short time that I have. Sorry again!
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PQ
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(Original post by Brandon Reed)
I got in touch with my school after the post and it ended up being A*AB unfortunately I wasn't expecting it at all and hence why I'm requesting my school to let me retake considering I was ill.
That isn’t ideal (the difference between an A and an A* is minimal) but I would still say apply (and apply now instead of getting into a bunch of negotiations with your school at the last minute). Worst case scenario you get rejected by Oxford and apply again next year (which is the same situation as if you didn’t apply before the Oxford deadline).
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MeharK
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(Original post by Brandon Reed)
Hi all! As the title says, my school conducts 2 exams per subject in my A2 year, one in September and one in December which they use for our predicted grades. I got an A in my Chemistry and Maths tests (since the tests are only based on the A2 syllabus I can't get an A*), but fell sick during my Physics test and got a B. My school's policy is to bump our grades by one for the predicted grades. I want to apply to study Physics at Oxford, but will not having an A* in physics hinder my chances even though I've met the minimum requirements? In other words, will simply meeting the entry requirements (A*AA with a* in either math or phy) be enough (provided the rest of my application is strong enough) or will not having 3A*s make not competitive enough? I'm asking this because my school is hesitant to let me retake my physics test despite my circumstances, so I want to know if it's worth pushing harder for them to let me retake it. The school is aware that I'm capable because I achieved 4As in my AS Level, but they wish to go by the books :'( Pls reply asap as I have less than 4 days to get everything sorted, and thanks!
I don’t see it as an issue, I applied to Cambridge to study engineering, they wanted A*A*A ( A* in maths/phys) which makes sense, but I was predicted A* in chem and maths instead. On top of this I didn’t do further maths, but I managed to secure an interview. This again came off the back of the admissions test, I didn’t get the place in the end probably due to my interview performance but I wasn’t too phased anyway because after all it’s cambridge, you win some you lose some and it’s highly competitive but there’s lots of other good unis like imperial, UCL etc depending on where you wanna go. Just focus on the PAT for Oxford and pattern that so that you can boost your chances.

I was an applicant of 2021 cycle but was screwed over in the end with my Physics Tag grade where I had enough evidence for an A but was given a B so I’m taking a gap year.
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Brandon Reed
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UPDATE: Talked to great length with my school, they agreed to move my physics to an A*, giving me A*A*B as my current predicted grades. I will talk to them again tomorrow and try getting them to move my B in math to at least an A, as I've gotten 94% PUM in my AS Level Math and a 99/100 in my CBSE 10th Exam (Indian Equivalent of GCSEs). If this ends up not working, is there still a non zero chance that my application gets considered with A*A*B? I've done the PAT past papers of 2019 and 2018 under self-imposed exam setup and managed to score around 65-75 in both (defo above 65 but not sure what my exact mark would be since I'm not entirely sure how to mark half-correct answers myself), which I'm aware is above the cut-off which is not constant each year, but how high of a performance will I need to compensate for a predicted B in math? Thanks!
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