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Should I just stop aiming for oxford?

For context, I'm in y12 and I'm doing chemistry, further maths and maths and computer science. I want to do computer science at Oxford university. My most recent exams were in January where I got an A in computer science, a B in further maths ( I do all of alvl maths in 1st year) and a E in chemistry (the exam was abnormally bad for me, I even accidentally missed pages). My predicteds for the end of year exams are All As and a B in chemistry though. I genuinely have an extreme lack of confidence though. I've talked to my teachers about this, but I don't think I'm going to get an A, especially for further maths despite them telling me I'm on the right track. I've only started proper revison now due to medical reasons since the start of year. I just think all oxbridge students would never have been in my position and if I'm struggling now then I shouldn't even bother applying to Oxford as I won't cope with the intensity or something- is this true or am I just paranoid??
Reply 1
Have you considered just dropping chemistry and focusing just on maths/fm/compsci? It might make your life a lot easier. As far as I am aware, you need the A*AA and having a fourth A level won't offer much of a competetive advantage--but I would recommend checking this with teachers/oxford website.
I'd strongly consider dropping chemistry and focus on retaining / improving your other grades if you would still meet University requirements. Check the requirements for computer science for multiple universities and see if you would be eligible without chemistry - some unis are picky about further maths and A level maths so if you dropped chem would class you as only having two A levels.

For aiming for Oxford specifically - How are your computing supercurricuars looking ? Getting good grades is only a tiny part of the actual application (obvs you need to meet them) but you should be getting work experience / doing computing projects not on your syllabus. If your school offers the EPQ I'd strongly recommend doing it as it looks great on an application.

You're still in Year 12 so have plenty of time to strengthen your application. If you're dead set on Oxford / top universities you could use time in the summer to improve your grades including chemistry- Have you considered getting a tutor perhaps ? Or doing catch up course days?

Good luck :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by Azure125125
For context, I'm in y12 and I'm doing chemistry, further maths and maths and computer science. I want to do computer science at Oxford university. My most recent exams were in January where I got an A in computer science, a B in further maths ( I do all of alvl maths in 1st year) and a E in chemistry (the exam was abnormally bad for me, I even accidentally missed pages). My predicteds for the end of year exams are All As and a B in chemistry though. I genuinely have an extreme lack of confidence though. I've talked to my teachers about this, but I don't think I'm going to get an A, especially for further maths despite them telling me I'm on the right track. I've only started proper revison now due to medical reasons since the start of year. I just think all oxbridge students would never have been in my position and if I'm struggling now then I shouldn't even bother applying to Oxford as I won't cope with the intensity or something- is this true or am I just paranoid??

You’re still in year 12 so you have plenty of time to turn things around, but obviously the predicted grades will be an issue if you’re dead set on Oxford. You need A*AA with the A* in Maths/Further Maths/Computer Science and you need at least an A in Maths and Further Maths. I wouldn’t say that’s not do-able, especially if you’ve been prevented from revising properly until now. But if your predicted grades don’t meet the requirements applying before you’ve got your actual A-levels might be tricky. If you’re able to take a year out though you can apply with achieved grades so if you can get there by y13 (hard work but definitely not impossible!) Oxford is very much still a possibility (or if you end up being predicted A*AA after all for your UCAS application you’re good applying in y13).
From the sounds of things these mock grades have really knocked your confidence in your abilities but honestly it’s really normal to have a difficult run of mocks now and then. I’m at Oxford right now on a course w/ A*AA entry grades and I was getting Ds and Es in some of my y13 mock exams for various reasons but I managed to pull it back to As/A*s (and then covid happened and I never took the exams but my point is that it’s definitely possible to turn things around with a bit of work and my teacher assessed grades were A*AAA).
It’s true Oxford is intense but it’s not impossible to manage if you can manage your time wisely. I think a lot of the horror stories you see are overplaying it a bit - if you see an Oxford degree as a full time job and work accordingly you’ll probably be fine.
Don’t let your current situation put you off applying - Oxford students are not all academically completely perfect, everyone has bad days and struggles sometimes. A levels are difficult and you shouldn’t expect yourself to breeze through them - finding them difficult at times is definitely not a sign that you’re not academically capable enough.
Original post by Azure125125
For context, I'm in y12 and I'm doing chemistry, further maths and maths and computer science. I want to do computer science at Oxford university. My most recent exams were in January where I got an A in computer science, a B in further maths ( I do all of alvl maths in 1st year) and a E in chemistry (the exam was abnormally bad for me, I even accidentally missed pages). My predicteds for the end of year exams are All As and a B in chemistry though. I genuinely have an extreme lack of confidence though. I've talked to my teachers about this, but I don't think I'm going to get an A, especially for further maths despite them telling me I'm on the right track. I've only started proper revison now due to medical reasons since the start of year. I just think all oxbridge students would never have been in my position and if I'm struggling now then I shouldn't even bother applying to Oxford as I won't cope with the intensity or something- is this true or am I just paranoid??

If you've been predicted a B, and this is your 'official' prediction, then you're not going to be shortlisted for Oxford. What were your GCSEs like?
Original post by Sophi2002
I'd strongly consider dropping chemistry and focus on retaining / improving your other grades if you would still meet University requirements. Check the requirements for computer science for multiple universities and see if you would be eligible without chemistry - some unis are picky about further maths and A level maths so if you dropped chem would class you as only having two A levels.

For aiming for Oxford specifically - How are your computing supercurricuars looking ? Getting good grades is only a tiny part of the actual application (obvs you need to meet them) but you should be getting work experience / doing computing projects not on your syllabus. If your school offers the EPQ I'd strongly recommend doing it as it looks great on an application.

You're still in Year 12 so have plenty of time to strengthen your application. If you're dead set on Oxford / top universities you could use time in the summer to improve your grades including chemistry- Have you considered getting a tutor perhaps ? Or doing catch up course days?

Good luck :smile:

I don't think that for Oxford getting good grades is only a tiny part of the actual application. Academic potential is literally all they care about and extra curriculars only help if they allow you to demonstrate that in your personal statement and at interview. But they won't compensate for less stellar grades. However a huge amount will depend on the context of your application - if your school is not academically selective and doesn't send many to Oxbridge, or your family circumstances are not privileged in terms of where you live so you live in the bottom 20% of socio economic postcodes or are from a cohort of applicants that is currently under-represented at Oxford that will all be taken into account in assessing your application, as will any medical issues. Realistically you need to be somewhere near the top of your school cohort in your subject. If you're at a high achieving school, like a top independent school or a grammar school, more will be expected - you'll need 4A* predicted and to ace the pre test and interview. My honest advice would be to take some pressure off yourself and look at using the summer to improve your grades, talk to your teachers for advice on how to do that and see what grades they predict you in the autumn. You can always apply post A level with grades in hand. I honestly wouldn't get fixated on Oxford, there are plenty of fabulous unis out there. Keep working - a lot of people make a big step up between lower and upper sixth especially in STEM subjects so it is all to play for!
Original post by Reality Check
If you've been predicted a B, and this is your 'official' prediction, then you're not going to be shortlisted for Oxford. What were your GCSEs like?

Oh this isn't an official prediction, I was more concerned that if I'm struggling now, can I cope at Oxford, and my gcse grades were 2 9s, 5 8s, 1 7, D2 and 2 level 3 passes in statistics and algebra

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