The Student Room Group

Is it true that Oxford cares about GCSE grades much?

Because I have really low GCSE grades.
9 on maths, 9 on further maths, and every other subjects are below 5. I moved to UK and immediately transferred to Year 10, that is the reason.
Assume that I'll get A*A*A* + A*(EPQ) predicted on Maths, Further maths and computer science (Definitely I can make it), will be worth it to applying Mathematics with Computer Science course at Oxford? or just apply Cambridge?

Super-curricular activities: made 32-bit fully functional and working MIPS CPU on minecraft with vanilla redstones(compsci), made complex wolfram alpha alternative as school compsci project and got full marks(compsci), always got above gold at UKMT challenges since Year 10(maths), some writing examples(maths), etc...
(edited 1 year ago)
you can't apply to both in the same year so you would need to pick one. You would need to get strong contextual support from your school as to why the grades were low otherwise you won't be in with a chance at Oxford.
I know, I could just apply to cambridge instead of oxford. But the problem is, my desired course is Maths with CompSci, but cambridge doesn't offer it.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by InternetOverdose
Because I have really low GCSE grades.
9 on maths, 9 on further maths, and every other subjects are below 5. I moved to UK and immediately transferred to Year 10, that is the reason.
Assume that I'll get A*A*A* + A*(EPQ) predicted on Maths, Further maths and computer science (Definitely I can make it), will be worth it to applying Mathematics with Computer Science course at Oxford? or just apply Cambridge?

Super-curricular activities: made 32-bit fully functional and working MIPS CPU on minecraft with vanilla redstones(compsci), made complex wolfram alpha alternative as school compsci project and got full marks(compsci), always got above gold at UKMT challenges since Year 10(maths), some writing examples(maths), etc...

Read the following page carefully, (in particular the section "England and Northern Ireland qualifications"):

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/admission-requirements/uk-qualifications?wssl=1

Relevant to you:

"If you feel that you did less well in your GCSEs than you might otherwise have done because of extenuating circumstances, you may still be able to make a competitive application. Examples would include disruption caused by change of school or system, severe discontinuity of teachers, bereavement, and debilitating illness. We take care to treat each application individually and would always take such extenuating circumstances into account, if they are brought to our attention. You may like to mention any such circumstances in your personal statement, and your referee should make sure to mention them clearly in their reference. If for any reason this is not possible, then we would advise you to contact the college you applied to (or are assigned to if making an open application) once they are likely to have received your application. This is likely to be around the end of October."

So in brief, yes, it's feasible that you could submit a competitive application.
Oxford don't care about your GCSE grades, not in themselves.

What they care about is getting the best people for the right courses. They think GCSE grades are usually a fairly good measure of that. But for some people that isn't true. For those people, Oxford will put little or no weight on their GCSE grades. "I only moved to the UK in year 10" absolutely makes you one of those people, especially if your previous education wasn't in English.

What sometimes happens here is that people assume that all they need to do is to find the right excuse - mum's cousin's godmother's cat died, had a papercut, or a vague mention of undiagnosed mental health issues - and their mediocre GCSEs will be ignored (they'll be looking for another excuse for their A levels, of course). They get told that no, their GCSE results are going to be a big factor, because "it didn't all go perfectly" is true for almost everyone.

(If you have very few GCSE passes, you should check whether there's a minimum requirement, or whether you need to have passed English if you didn't. I suspect this will be true for multiple universities, not just Oxbridge. I know there used to be and I have no idea if it's still the case.)

If you're worried, pick a college and email the admissions tutor explaining your circumstances and asking if there's anything else they think you should do to support your application. Do it now, not when everyone else is emailing in September :smile:
Original post by skylark2
Oxford don't care about your GCSE grades, not in themselves.

What they care about is getting the best people for the right courses. They think GCSE grades are usually a fairly good measure of that. But for some people that isn't true. For those people, Oxford will put little or no weight on their GCSE grades. "I only moved to the UK in year 10" absolutely makes you one of those people, especially if your previous education wasn't in English.

What sometimes happens here is that people assume that all they need to do is to find the right excuse - mum's cousin's godmother's cat died, had a papercut, or a vague mention of undiagnosed mental health issues - and their mediocre GCSEs will be ignored (they'll be looking for another excuse for their A levels, of course). They get told that no, their GCSE results are going to be a big factor, because "it didn't all go perfectly" is true for almost everyone.

(If you have very few GCSE passes, you should check whether there's a minimum requirement, or whether you need to have passed English if you didn't. I suspect this will be true for multiple universities, not just Oxbridge. I know there used to be and I have no idea if it's still the case.)

If you're worried, pick a college and email the admissions tutor explaining your circumstances and asking if there's anything else they think you should do to support your application. Do it now, not when everyone else is emailing in September :smile:

Thank you! I just sent an email to Christ Church.
I spent really hard times during 2018-2020.
I forced to study among English students without any English knowledges. I had no friends as well, some people bullied me. Maths were the only thing I could do.
And COVID-19 cancelled over half of my Year 11 lessons, so I got my final GCSE grades mostly based on my Year 10 performance, which is horrible.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 6
msa bro u the person i wanna be
wanna switch brains?
Original post by InternetOverdose
Thank you! I just sent an email to Christ Church.
I spent really hard times during 2018-2020.
I forced to study among English students without any English knowledges. I had no friends as well, some people bullied me. Maths were the only thing I could do.
And COVID-19 cancelled over half of my Year 11 lessons, so I got my final GCSE grades mostly based on my Year 10 performance, which is horrible.

Christchurch is one of the most oversubscribed colleges.Why not do some research and look at one of the less well known ones who might be more understanding.
Original post by Scotney
Christchurch is one of the most oversubscribed colleges.Why not do some research and look at one of the less well known ones who might be more understanding.

Quite surprised that Christ Church has not that much maths&compsci applicants
But yeah, just in case
Original post by InternetOverdose
Quite surprised that Christ Church has not that much maths&compsci applicants
But yeah, just in case

Don't worry about which college you email. If you choose to apply, they have a good system to ensure that the ratio of interviews held to offers at each college is roughly the same.
But if you do choose to put down a specific college, make sure you have emailed them beforehand.

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