Should my GCSEs prevent me applying for Oxbridge?

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f_shi92
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#1
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#1
Hi,

I go to a school that makes it compulsory to do 4 A-levels plus an EPQ. I've chosen biology, chemistry, psychology, maths and an EPQ.

My mental health has been awful in the last 4 years filled with eating disorders, missed school, hospital stays, being temporarily stopped from going to school for seizures and weight etc.

However, I am very determined and work quite hard if I may say so myself. I ended up with 5 Grade 8's, 4 Grade 7's and 2 Grade 6's, despite being off school for a combined total of a year and a half and struggling with mental health, severe OCD, autism and seizures and PTSD.

I would love to study medicine at university and my absolute dream would be to study it at Oxbridge.

First of all, would my GCSEs hold me back or would the university take into consideration that I went through an extremely difficult period? I have made a drastic improvement to my mental health and am just living with the autism and seizures. Would Oxbridge Universities take it all into consideration if they were looking at my GCSEs?

Finally, the school have given me the chance to drop an A-level. Would this affect my application to a Russell Group University?
I also appreciate that A-levels, UCAS, BMAT, UCAT and work experience make up a far bigger proportion than GCSEs when it comes to applying.

Many thanks if someone could help.
Last edited by f_shi92; 1 month ago
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Googley_eyes
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#2
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#2
(Original post by f_shi92)
Hi,

I go to a school that makes it compulsory to do 4 A-levels plus an EPQ. I've chosen biology, chemistry, psychology, maths and an EPQ.

My mental health has been awful in the last 4 years filled with eating disorders, missed school, hospital stays, being temporarily stopped from going to school for seizures and weight etc.

However, I am very determined and work quite hard if I may say so myself. I ended up with 5 Grade 8's, 4 Grade 7's and 2 Grade 6's, despite being off school for a combined total of a year and a half and struggling with mental health, severe OCD, autism and seizures and PTSD.

I would love to study medicine at university and my absolute dream would be to study it at Oxbridge.

First of all, would my GCSEs hold me back or would the university take into consideration that I went through an extremely difficult period? I have made a drastic improvement to my mental health and am just living with the autism and seizures. Would Oxbridge Universities take it all into consideration if they were looking at my GCSEs?

Finally, the school have given me the chance to drop an A-level. Would this affect my application to a Russell Group University?
I also appreciate that A-levels, UCAS, BMAT, UCAT and work experience make up a far bigger proportion than GCSEs when it comes to applying.

Many thanks if someone could help.
They could impact yes as Oxford likes high GCSEs and puts a lot of weighting on them. My concern reading this is that you won’t be able to medicine. With your conditions I’m not sure if you’ll pass the physical to study medicine, and even if you do it’s unlikely you’ll be able to cope with the workload. And if you can’t drive (which I expect you can’t), how can you travel for placements and jobs without lots of public transport, which for medicine and those hours is unrealistic, especially with medical books. You don’t need to be able to drive, but it helps.
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Cancelled Alice
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Googley_eyes)
They could impact yes as Oxford likes high GCSEs and puts a lot of weighting on them. My concern reading this is that you won’t be able to medicine. With your conditions I’m not sure if you’ll pass the physical to study medicine, and even if you do it’s unlikely you’ll be able to cope with the workload. And if you can’t drive (which I expect you can’t), how can you travel for placements and jobs without lots of public transport, which for medicine and those hours is unrealistic, especially with medical books. You don’t need to be able to drive, but it helps.
Oxford isn’t the only university that comes under the oxbridge umbrella.
We have no information regarding how well controlled OP’s epilepsy is or how and to what extent autism effects them, so goodness knows how you’ve come to the conclusion that you have.

What portion of students can afford to have a vehicle in the first place? I am finding it very difficult to believe that many medical students have cars. We don’t even know if OP finds public transport a struggle.
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greenamy2
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#4
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#4
(Original post by f_shi92)
Hi,

I go to a school that makes it compulsory to do 4 A-levels plus an EPQ. I've chosen biology, chemistry, psychology, maths and an EPQ.

My mental health has been awful in the last 4 years filled with eating disorders, missed school, hospital stays, being temporarily stopped from going to school for seizures and weight etc.

However, I am very determined and work quite hard if I may say so myself. I ended up with 5 Grade 8's, 4 Grade 7's and 2 Grade 6's, despite being off school for a combined total of a year and a half and struggling with mental health, severe OCD, autism and seizures and PTSD.

I would love to study medicine at university and my absolute dream would be to study it at Oxbridge.

First of all, would my GCSEs hold me back or would the university take into consideration that I went through an extremely difficult period? I have made a drastic improvement to my mental health and am just living with the autism and seizures. Would Oxbridge Universities take it all into consideration if they were looking at my GCSEs?

Finally, the school have given me the chance to drop an A-level. Would this affect my application to a Russell Group University?
I also appreciate that A-levels, UCAS, BMAT, UCAT and work experience make up a far bigger proportion than GCSEs when it comes to applying.

Many thanks if someone could help.
There is always a way. It will be challenging but it is possible to follow your dreams. doing 3 a levels wont affect your chance of getting into russle groups most people who do a levels do three it is not a requirement to do 4. Personally I would drop one to ease stress but it is really up to you I have no idea what your capable of.
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CatInTheCorner
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#5
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#5
(Original post by f_shi92)
Hi,

I go to a school that makes it compulsory to do 4 A-levels plus an EPQ. I've chosen biology, chemistry, psychology, maths and an EPQ.

My mental health has been awful in the last 4 years filled with eating disorders, missed school, hospital stays, being temporarily stopped from going to school for seizures and weight etc.

However, I am very determined and work quite hard if I may say so myself. I ended up with 5 Grade 8's, 4 Grade 7's and 2 Grade 6's, despite being off school for a combined total of a year and a half and struggling with mental health, severe OCD, autism and seizures and PTSD.

I would love to study medicine at university and my absolute dream would be to study it at Oxbridge.

First of all, would my GCSEs hold me back or would the university take into consideration that I went through an extremely difficult period? I have made a drastic improvement to my mental health and am just living with the autism and seizures. Would Oxbridge Universities take it all into consideration if they were looking at my GCSEs?

Finally, the school have given me the chance to drop an A-level. Would this affect my application to a Russell Group University?
I also appreciate that A-levels, UCAS, BMAT, UCAT and work experience make up a far bigger proportion than GCSEs when it comes to applying.

Many thanks if someone could help.
ecolier have an actual medicine applicant this time, sorry for the incorrect tag earlier!

For OP, you would definitely apply to extenuating circumstances and maybe a contextual offer ( double check that second part) oxford cares much more about GCSE's than Cambridge, to my knowledge You only need 3 a-levels for a medicine offer, usually AAA though I think Oxford is A*AA and Cambridge A*A*A? BMAT is needed for both but you apply blind without your score, UCAT you have your score but that's for alternative unis. You can only apply to one of Oxford or Cambridge, so consider your other three medicine options and consider the UCAT.
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ecolier
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#6
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#6
(Original post by f_shi92)
Hi,

I go to a school that makes it compulsory to do 4 A-levels plus an EPQ. I've chosen biology, chemistry, psychology, maths and an EPQ.

My mental health has been awful in the last 4 years filled with eating disorders, missed school, hospital stays, being temporarily stopped from going to school for seizures and weight etc.

However, I am very determined and work quite hard if I may say so myself. I ended up with 5 Grade 8's, 4 Grade 7's and 2 Grade 6's, despite being off school for a combined total of a year and a half and struggling with mental health, severe OCD, autism and seizures and PTSD.

I would love to study medicine at university and my absolute dream would be to study it at Oxbridge.

First of all, would my GCSEs hold me back or would the university take into consideration that I went through an extremely difficult period? I have made a drastic improvement to my mental health and am just living with the autism and seizures. Would Oxbridge Universities take it all into consideration if they were looking at my GCSEs?

Finally, the school have given me the chance to drop an A-level. Would this affect my application to a Russell Group University?
I also appreciate that A-levels, UCAS, BMAT, UCAT and work experience make up a far bigger proportion than GCSEs when it comes to applying.

Many thanks if someone could help.
If you don't have perfect GCSEs, forget about Oxford. You could still consider Cambridge though (assuming you'll have A*A*A, and a good BMAT score).

However, note that Russell Group, prestige and rankings means absolutely nothing for clinical medicine. In the Guardian rankings for medicine 2021, the top is neither Oxford nor Cambridge, nor is it even a Russell Group university!!
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AstronomerGirl
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#7
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#7
I went once to an open day at one of oxbridge and we talked to a girl who had got in despite having both 'bad' a-levels and 'bad' gsces due to late ADHD diagnosis and poor mental health. well done on your grades despite the difficult circumstances. you clearly are dedicated and the unis will take that into account. fill in the extenuating circumstances, and consider dropping an a-level as it doesn't help that much, particularly for oxbridge, they only care about your top 3 a-levels since not all schools offer 4. good luck with everything !
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f_shi92
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#8
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#8
(Original post by AstronomerGirl)
I went once to an open day at one of oxbridge and we talked to a girl who had got in despite having both 'bad' a-levels and 'bad' gsces due to late ADHD diagnosis and poor mental health. well done on your grades despite the difficult circumstances. you clearly are dedicated and the unis will take that into account. fill in the extenuating circumstances, and consider dropping an a-level as it doesn't help that much, particularly for oxbridge, they only care about your top 3 a-levels since not all schools offer 4. good luck with everything !
Thank you for this one. It's very ambitious but I am prepared to work my hardest. I never hear of those with poor mental health in the past at Oxbridge so this was quite a motivator. Thank you very much.
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AstronomerGirl
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Cancelled Alice)
Oxford isn’t the only university that comes under the oxbridge umbrella.
We have no information regarding how well controlled OP’s epilepsy is or how and to what extent autism effects them, so goodness knows how you’ve come to the conclusion that you have.

What portion of students can afford to have a vehicle in the first place? I am finding it very difficult to believe that many medical students have cars. We don’t even know if OP finds public transport a struggle.
I think that person is a troll. at least I hope they are because they seem very mean.
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Cancelled Alice
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(Original post by AstronomerGirl)
I think that person is a troll. at least I hope they are because they seem very mean.
Hmmm I was wondering if they are motivated by bitterness.
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Googley_eyes
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Cancelled Alice)
Hmmm I was wondering if they are motivated by bitterness.
It’s neither. In all honestly a doctor with seizures is hard, I personally wouldn’t want to ever be treated by a doctor who could suddenly mess up what they’re doing, even if it is by accident. And the lifestyle of doctors especially at the start of their career is very difficult, so with all of these issues it is likely to worsen seizures and mental health. If it’s poor already then it’s only going to be worse. It’s realistic. And before you call me a troll I have autism and poor mental health did, am very ambitious, did the same a levels, and this is what I realised. And my sister has epilepsy so I know quite a bit about seizures.
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Cancelled Alice
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(Original post by Googley_eyes)
It’s neither. In all honestly a doctor with seizures is hard, I personally wouldn’t want to ever be treated by a doctor who could suddenly mess up what they’re doing, even if it is by accident. And the lifestyle of doctors especially at the start of their career is very difficult, so with all of these issues it is likely to worsen seizures and mental health. If it’s poor already then it’s only going to be worse. It’s realistic. And before you call me a troll I have autism and poor mental health did, am very ambitious, did the same a levels, and this is what I realised. And my sister has epilepsy so I know quite a bit about seizures.
I didn’t call you a troll.
Any human being could suddenly have some kind of medical episode that causes them to mess up what they are doing.
Op has given no information regarding the current severity of their epilepsy, so it seems odd for you to be so sure of yourself. As someone who knows quite a lot about it, I would have thought that you would realise that epilepsy isn’t one disease or condition, it impacts people differently.

You’ve put an awful lot of thought in to this.
Last edited by Cancelled Alice; 1 month ago
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Googley_eyes
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#13
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(Original post by Cancelled Alice)
I didn’t call you a troll.
Any human being could suddenly have some kind of medical episode that causes them to mess up what they are doing.
Op has given no information regarding the current severity of their epilepsy, so it seems odd for you to be so sure of yourself. As someone who knows quite a lot about it, I would have thought that you would realise that epilepsy isn’t one disease or condition, it impacts people differently.

You’ve put an awful lot of thought in to this.
I am aware that it is different in different people, and it may even be non-epileptic in cause as OP didn’t say but either way whatever the seizure type is can be dangerous depending on what they’re doing, even nocturnal seizures can cause effects into the day that will affect the performance of a doctor and this person is more likely to have a sudden episode than most. And non-epileptic seizures are often triggered or more likely to be triggered by stress, which medicine and top unis are full of, and with the other conditions it just seems like OP will mentally and possibly struggle with this goal, though goals are always good. I think it would benefit them to look up alternative careers and also the experiences of doctors with a combination of conditions like theirs, if they can find much.
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AstronomerGirl
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(Original post by Googley_eyes)
I am aware that it is different in different people, and it may even be non-epileptic in cause as OP didn’t say but either way whatever the seizure type is can be dangerous depending on what they’re doing, even nocturnal seizures can cause effects into the day that will affect the performance of a doctor and this person is more likely to have a sudden episode than most. And non-epileptic seizures are often triggered or more likely to be triggered by stress, which medicine and top unis are full of, and with the other conditions it just seems like OP will mentally and possibly struggle with this goal, though goals are always good. I think it would benefit them to look up alternative careers and also the experiences of doctors with a combination of conditions like theirs, if they can find much.
you seem to be very bitter and ignorant. please go touch some grass. and from your posting history it seems like it is not the first time you've behaved like this on here...
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Googley_eyes
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#15
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(Original post by AstronomerGirl)
you seem to be very bitter and ignorant. please go touch some grass. and from your posting history it seems like it is not the first time you've behaved like this on here...
I’m not apologising for being realistic on here. It’s very unlikely OP will be able to do medicine in such a place, and they very well may not pass the physical, and if they do unis likely won’t want a doctor with so many conditions
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Glemon
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#16
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#16
(Original post by f_shi92)
Hi,

I go to a school that makes it compulsory to do 4 A-levels plus an EPQ. I've chosen biology, chemistry, psychology, maths and an EPQ.

My mental health has been awful in the last 4 years filled with eating disorders, missed school, hospital stays, being temporarily stopped from going to school for seizures and weight etc.

However, I am very determined and work quite hard if I may say so myself. I ended up with 5 Grade 8's, 4 Grade 7's and 2 Grade 6's, despite being off school for a combined total of a year and a half and struggling with mental health, severe OCD, autism and seizures and PTSD.

I would love to study medicine at university and my absolute dream would be to study it at Oxbridge.

First of all, would my GCSEs hold me back or would the university take into consideration that I went through an extremely difficult period? I have made a drastic improvement to my mental health and am just living with the autism and seizures. Would Oxbridge Universities take it all into consideration if they were looking at my GCSEs?

Finally, the school have given me the chance to drop an A-level. Would this affect my application to a Russell Group University?
I also appreciate that A-levels, UCAS, BMAT, UCAT and work experience make up a far bigger proportion than GCSEs when it comes to applying.

Many thanks if someone could help.
You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Have you considered what kind of medicine? I would be interested to know. Also, you should be proud of how hard you have worked and what you have overcome.
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Cancelled Alice
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#17
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#17
(Original post by Googley_eyes)
I’m not apologising for being realistic on here. It’s very unlikely OP will be able to do medicine in such a place, and they very well may not pass the physical, and if they do unis likely won’t want a doctor with so many conditions
The amount of conditions that OP has got is irrelevant from the universities perspective. What matters is if they would be fit to practice. I hope you aren’t advocating for disability discrimination.

It’s not for you to decide if OP’s able to do medicine, that’s for the university. And again, we don’t really know anything about her at all, she might be a terrible candidate, she might be a brilliant candidate, we just don’t know. You aren’t OP
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f_shi92
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#18
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#18
(Original post by Glemon)
You can do anything if you put your mind to it. Have you considered what kind of medicine? I would be interested to know. Also, you should be proud of how hard you have worked and what you have overcome.
Hi, I really want to do neurology or paediatrics and maybe specialise in paediatric neurology. Thank you so much, that is very kind and motivating.
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f_shi92
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#19
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#19
(Original post by Googley_eyes)
It’s neither. In all honestly a doctor with seizures is hard, I personally wouldn’t want to ever be treated by a doctor who could suddenly mess up what they’re doing, even if it is by accident. And the lifestyle of doctors especially at the start of their career is very difficult, so with all of these issues it is likely to worsen seizures and mental health. If it’s poor already then it’s only going to be worse. It’s realistic. And before you call me a troll I have autism and poor mental health did, am very ambitious, did the same a levels, and this is what I realised. And my sister has epilepsy so I know quite a bit about seizures.
My seizures are non-epileptic and are already improving but come in different forms. I'm starting trauma therapy next week and it's meant to have an excellent result on the non-epileptic seizures so we're quite sure that they won't even be around by the time I leave Year 13 and will not affect me.
I have never messed up anything when it comes to other people. The seizures often happen at home and seem to be getting shorter. As I said, they should not be something I have to consider later in the hope that they will not be here in the future.
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f_shi92
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Cancelled Alice)
I didn’t call you a troll.
Any human being could suddenly have some kind of medical episode that causes them to mess up what they are doing.
Op has given no information regarding the current severity of their epilepsy, so it seems odd for you to be so sure of yourself. As someone who knows quite a lot about it, I would have thought that you would realise that epilepsy isn’t one disease or condition, it impacts people differently.

You’ve put an awful lot of thought in to this.
Yes! Any person could have a freak medical episode, without even having a past condition! Thank you for your reply.
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