The Student Room Group

Is there any way I can get into Oxford/Cambridge with my current grades?

I'm currently in year 10, in a selective school. I got 4 9s in my last report, 2 7s and 5(i think) 8s. Until very recently, I've put about no effort into school work - I've been the same since primary. I've always got decent enough grades for my parents to care. School is getting much much harder now, regular tests and much more content - meaning I actually have to try. I struggle a lot with revision because I just don't know what to do eg Chemistry f anything I read about the topic we get tested on is only a small fraction of what comes up in the test, while my friends who were once much worse then me and chemistry seem to now understand everything while I'm lost.

This leads on to my question - Is it reasonable for me to try and get into Oxbridge or should I lower my hopes before they get shattered. Looking at the admission process I feel like there's no way I can get in. I'm interested in PPE at Oxford - something I've been interested for a long time, but there's honestly nothing extra curricular I can talk about. For PPE in particular, what would be useful for me to get in. (apart from buying Oxford a new library or something)
Original post by jos126
I'm currently in year 10, in a selective school. I got 4 9s in my last report, 2 7s and 5(i think) 8s. Until very recently, I've put about no effort into school work - I've been the same since primary. I've always got decent enough grades for my parents to care. School is getting much much harder now, regular tests and much more content - meaning I actually have to try. I struggle a lot with revision because I just don't know what to do eg Chemistry f anything I read about the topic we get tested on is only a small fraction of what comes up in the test, while my friends who were once much worse then me and chemistry seem to now understand everything while I'm lost.

This leads on to my question - Is it reasonable for me to try and get into Oxbridge or should I lower my hopes before they get shattered. Looking at the admission process I feel like there's no way I can get in. I'm interested in PPE at Oxford - something I've been interested for a long time, but there's honestly nothing extra curricular I can talk about. For PPE in particular, what would be useful for me to get in. (apart from buying Oxford a new library or something)

Firstly, your GCSE grades are good! And at this point in yr 10, it’s normal to feel that you have to work to understand stuff and keep on top of everything. You aren’t a failure because you don’t automatically get 100% without working for it!
You have time to work out the best revision techniques, e.g. using Quizlet, flash cards, past papers, mind maps.

Remember for A levels you will pick subjects that you enjoy and are good at - so there won’t be the chemistry. By the way, I’m always very happy to help with any chemistry questions, if you private message me/post!

To a certain extent, it’s too early to be predicting your chances of getting into Oxford. Don’t spent mental energy and stress/time on uni applications when you haven’t yet done GCSEs. Try to focus on them, and then start looking at your next steps.
Having said that, it’s a perfectly reasonable ambition to have. If it motivates you, then that’s great, but don’t spend time worrying about uni when you could be working on GCSE content.

Also, you mention extra curricular stuff. Honestly, Oxford doesn’t really care much about extra curricular activities, but they do care about super curricular ones. That kind of stuff is like reading around the subject, watching online lectures, essay competitions, writing for an economics magazine at school etc. You 100% do not need to be doing that stuff yet.
Out of interest, you might want to read a few books, but most of the stuff for your application will be done in year 12/summer into y13.
The admissions process can seem quite daunting, but it’s not impossible, and if you don’t apply, you can’t get a place.

I suppose to sum everything up:
Yes, it’s still possible for you to apply for PPE. BUT don’t worry about it yet - focus on getting the GCSE grades.

I hope that helps :smile:
Original post by jos126
I'm currently in year 10, in a selective school. I got 4 9s in my last report, 2 7s and 5(i think) 8s. Until very recently, I've put about no effort into school work - I've been the same since primary. I've always got decent enough grades for my parents to care. School is getting much much harder now, regular tests and much more content - meaning I actually have to try. I struggle a lot with revision because I just don't know what to do eg Chemistry f anything I read about the topic we get tested on is only a small fraction of what comes up in the test, while my friends who were once much worse then me and chemistry seem to now understand everything while I'm lost.

This leads on to my question - Is it reasonable for me to try and get into Oxbridge or should I lower my hopes before they get shattered. Looking at the admission process I feel like there's no way I can get in. I'm interested in PPE at Oxford - something I've been interested for a long time, but there's honestly nothing extra curricular I can talk about. For PPE in particular, what would be useful for me to get in. (apart from buying Oxford a new library or something)

Wow, people worry about getting into Oxbridge in year 10 now?
Original post by Pegasus25
Wow, people worry about getting into Oxbridge in year 10 now?

yeah this is TSR
my friend got in even tho he failed some of his GCSE's and resit them. I think it is probably dependant on your desired course but also how you market yourself to them. I think If you show lots of extra curricular skills that can't be matched by any other participant that helps a lot. If you don't know any extra curricular acitivites (related to your desried course) you can do, try to find somehting you enjoy. For example I'm a techy so I volunteer at a lab. Some of my friends like RAF etc. try to explore out of your comfort zone, and often you might have a lot of difficulty then come back to the same thing later with more experience, and realise how much you have learnt. I still remeber my first day in the lab looking at 3D CAD software with no clue how to use it, so I learn't tinkercad and gradullay made my way up to Fusion 360, something I would never have believed I would be able to.

Original post by jos126
This leads on to my question - Is it reasonable for me to try and get into Oxbridge or should I lower my hopes before they get shattered. Looking at the admission process I feel like there's no way I can get in.


Do your best but also don't get dissapointed if you don't get in, the acceptance rates are really low but don't worry or stress about it too much
Original post by DroneQueen
yeah this is TSR

I can see why people find this platform toxic
You're in year 10. You have no grades for Oxford/Cambridge to care about. Nobody your age is capable of talking about the subject they want to study at university entrance level yet. (Well, almost nobody.)

I mean, yes, you will need to start working harder than you have been. You will need to reach a far higher level of achievement than somewhere near the top end of GCSE. You will have to read around your subjects, not just show up to lessons and do your homework. But you've got well over three years to do these things. If you want to go to Oxford or Cambridge, go for it. What's the worst that can happen - that you won't get in? Well, it's 100% certain to happen if you don't try.
Original post by DroneQueen
yeah this is TSR


i.e. completely unrepresentative of the UK cohort.

Original post by Pegasus25
I can see why people find this platform toxic

Unfortunately, I agree.

Original post by jos126
I'm currently in year 10, in a selective school. I got 4 9s in my last report, 2 7s and 5(i think) 8s. Until very recently, I've put about no effort into school work - I've been the same since primary. I've always got decent enough grades for my parents to care. School is getting much much harder now, regular tests and much more content - meaning I actually have to try. I struggle a lot with revision because I just don't know what to do eg Chemistry f anything I read about the topic we get tested on is only a small fraction of what comes up in the test, while my friends who were once much worse then me and chemistry seem to now understand everything while I'm lost.

This leads on to my question - Is it reasonable for me to try and get into Oxbridge or should I lower my hopes before they get shattered. Looking at the admission process I feel like there's no way I can get in. I'm interested in PPE at Oxford - something I've been interested for a long time, but there's honestly nothing extra curricular I can talk about. For PPE in particular, what would be useful for me to get in. (apart from buying Oxford a new library or something)

You haven't even sat your GCSEs yet, so have nothing to go on. If you do well in your GCSEs then Oxbridge becomes a possibility: doing very well in them (mostly 8s and 9s) is more important for Oxford than Cambridge, but there again why would you want rump steak when you can have fillet.

It's fine to think about this sort of thing very early, as you are doing, but I really wouldn't start the whole 'am I good enough for Oxbridge' stuff at this stage! Concentrate on what is important - which is doing well in your GCSE course, and use the possibility of being able to make a competitive application to Oxford or Cambridge a motivating factor. :smile:
Original post by Reality Check
but there again why would you want rump steak when you can have fillet


PRSOM :laugh:
Reply 9
Original post by booklover1313
Firstly, your GCSE grades are good! And at this point in yr 10, it’s normal to feel that you have to work to understand stuff and keep on top of everything. You aren’t a failure because you don’t automatically get 100% without working for it!
You have time to work out the best revision techniques, e.g. using Quizlet, flash cards, past papers, mind maps.

Remember for A levels you will pick subjects that you enjoy and are good at - so there won’t be the chemistry. By the way, I’m always very happy to help with any chemistry questions, if you private message me/post!

To a certain extent, it’s too early to be predicting your chances of getting into Oxford. Don’t spent mental energy and stress/time on uni applications when you haven’t yet done GCSEs. Try to focus on them, and then start looking at your next steps.
Having said that, it’s a perfectly reasonable ambition to have. If it motivates you, then that’s great, but don’t spend time worrying about uni when you could be working on GCSE content.

Also, you mention extra curricular stuff. Honestly, Oxford doesn’t really care much about extra curricular activities, but they do care about super curricular ones. That kind of stuff is like reading around the subject, watching online lectures, essay competitions, writing for an economics magazine at school etc. You 100% do not need to be doing that stuff yet.
Out of interest, you might want to read a few books, but most of the stuff for your application will be done in year 12/summer into y13.
The admissions process can seem quite daunting, but it’s not impossible, and if you don’t apply, you can’t get a place.

I suppose to sum everything up:
Yes, it’s still possible for you to apply for PPE. BUT don’t worry about it yet - focus on getting the GCSE grades.

I hope that helps :smile:

Thanks for your reply. I do AQA Chemistry - Is there any websites/resources that would have all the content id need?
Original post by jos126
Thanks for your reply. I do AQA Chemistry - Is there any websites/resources that would have all the content id need?

BBC Bitesize often has some good content? Youtube videos can help if you are struggling with a particular topic. Make good use of your textbook - annotate it with post-it notes or questions, so you can ask your teacher about anything you don't understand. I didn't have them, but I know that the CGP revision guides are often very good, so it might be worth buying one of them?
Original post by jos126
I'm currently in year 10, in a selective school. I got 4 9s in my last report, 2 7s and 5(i think) 8s. Until very recently, I've put about no effort into school work - I've been the same since primary. I've always got decent enough grades for my parents to care. School is getting much much harder now, regular tests and much more content - meaning I actually have to try. I struggle a lot with revision because I just don't know what to do eg Chemistry f anything I read about the topic we get tested on is only a small fraction of what comes up in the test, while my friends who were once much worse then me and chemistry seem to now understand everything while I'm lost.

This leads on to my question - Is it reasonable for me to try and get into Oxbridge or should I lower my hopes before they get shattered. Looking at the admission process I feel like there's no way I can get in. I'm interested in PPE at Oxford - something I've been interested for a long time, but there's honestly nothing extra curricular I can talk about. For PPE in particular, what would be useful for me to get in. (apart from buying Oxford a new library or something)


Heya! I know it seems impossible right now but I'm sure you'll get into the Oxford :smile: Admissions may seem scary right now but it'll be much better later on! I think you should definitely apply to Oxford, I see no reason why you should not!
Admissions test and interview are extremely important during the application and are the deciding factor whether you will get an offer or not. For the future here is some extra information about the admissions to Oxford and more information about the PPE course and the admission process to it specificaly! Here is the link: https://oxbridgemind.co.uk/ucas/oxford-philosophy-politics-and-economics/ . Oxbridge Mind also offers past paper resources for the admissions exam which will help you in the future! Here is the link so you could have a look at them and what it's like: https://oxbridgemind.co.uk/tsa-past-papers/ . We also offer 1-1 tutoring with our Oxbridge tutors who have experience with the admissions so that you can ace your admissions test and interview for Oxford and guarantee your place!
Hope this is helpful and good luck!
Milena G.
www.oxbridgemind.co.uk

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