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Is Oxbridge ruled out for me?

I just got my gcse results yesterday and I received 2 8s, 6 7s and 1 6 (French 🙄) . For context I go to a state school and these are considered pretty good for my school but I know they aren’t the best. I’m interested in applying but I would like to know if I’ll be really disadvantaged or if I still have a chance if I work hard for my A levels. I know Cambridge are more lenient in terms of GCSEs, but is Oxford completely out of the question?

Thanks in advance for any advice & info x

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Original post by Echo86
I just got my gcse results yesterday and I received 2 8s, 6 7s and 1 6 (French 🙄) . For context I go to a state school and these are considered pretty good for my school but I know they aren’t the best. I’m interested in applying but I would like to know if I’ll be really disadvantaged or if I still have a chance if I work hard for my A levels. I know Cambridge are more lenient in terms of GCSEs, but is Oxford completely out of the question?

Thanks in advance for any advice & info x

Which degree? Why Oxbridge?

At the moment you have no idea how well you are going to do at A level - focus on that :smile:
Original post by Echo86
I just got my gcse results yesterday and I received 2 8s, 6 7s and 1 6 (French 🙄) . For context I go to a state school and these are considered pretty good for my school but I know they aren’t the best. I’m interested in applying but I would like to know if I’ll be really disadvantaged or if I still have a chance if I work hard for my A levels. I know Cambridge are more lenient in terms of GCSEs, but is Oxford completely out of the question?

Thanks in advance for any advice & info x

I wouldn't say Oxford or Cambridge are ruled out yet.

Your A levels are what you need to work on for now, and if possible, get yourself work experience relevant to the subject you are applying for some time in year 12.

If you are predicted anything less than the relevant entry requirements by the end of year 12, Oxford and Cambridge are unlikely to consider you.
What course do you want to apply to?
Reply 4
Original post by Muttley79
Which degree? Why Oxbridge?

At the moment you have no idea how well you are going to do at A level - focus on that :smile:


I’m interested in Geography or maybe English. As for why oxbridge? it’s not particularly to do with the prestige of it all (although I do want to make my parents proud) but I like the style of teaching and I think it could help me achieve what I want to do.
Original post by Echo86
I’m interested in Geography or maybe English. As for why oxbridge? it’s not particularly to do with the prestige of it all (although I do want to make my parents proud) but I like the style of teaching and I think it could help me achieve what I want to do.


Do you absolutely love English or Geography? You'll only ever get in if you really want to study whichever one it is you pick.
I know someone who got all 9s at GCSE and 4 A*s at A level and still didn't get into Cambridge.
Reply 7
Original post by TypicalNerd
Do you absolutely love English or Geography? You'll only ever get in if you really want to study whichever one it is you pick.


I love both but I’m leaning slightly more on geography :smile:
Original post by Echo86
I love both but I’m leaning slightly more on geography :smile:


Look at the content - physical or human? The style of teaching is not unique - it's the content you should be looking at.
Original post by Echo86
I love both but I’m leaning slightly more on geography :smile:


Both Oxford and Cambridge require A* A A for you to study geography, with no specific required A levels (though Geography is advised).

Pick 3 A levels you really enjoy and work hard. I'd also advise getting work experience, if possible.
Original post by Echo86
I’m interested in Geography or maybe English. As for why oxbridge? it’s not particularly to do with the prestige of it all (although I do want to make my parents proud) but I like the style of teaching and I think it could help me achieve what I want to do.

Well those are pretty different courses so you'll need to spend some time in the coming year thinking about what you like about each and which you want to do :smile:

But for either course I can't see any reason you couldn't successfully apply to either course at either uni. You'd need to do well on the ELAT or TSA for Oxford though. Not sure if there are pre-interview assessments for Cambridge.

If you're interested in English and especially medieval texts, you may also want to look into ASNAC at Cambridge :h:
Original post by Justvisited
I know someone who got all 9s at GCSE and 4 A*s at A level and still didn't get into Cambridge.

Which degree course did they apply for at Cambridge University? :frown:
nothing is ruled out by GCSE results as entry requirements only look at A-level grades. And enthusiasm. a greater gap between gcse and a-level achievement can signify a new found or newly committed to enthusiasm !!
Original post by thegeek888
Which degree course did they apply for at Cambridge University? :frown:


Computer science, which I imagine is one of the most competitive, but again I wonder if some rich overseas students outbid nationals sometimes? Maybe the stellar school record means they were simply too 'generalist' and not geeky brilliant enough in the one thing they had to be....
Original post by Justvisited
Computer science, which I imagine is one of the most competitive, but again I wonder if some rich overseas students outbid nationals sometimes? Maybe the stellar school record means they were simply too 'generalist' and not geeky brilliant enough in the one thing they had to be....


There is no shortage of people with those grades - way more than could be accommodated at Oxbridge plus Imperial for computer science.
Original post by ajj2000
There is no shortage of people with those grades - way more than could be accommodated at Oxbridge plus Imperial for computer science.


I think you would rather say this to thegeek888 :wink:

Are you implying the situation would be different for certain other subjects?
Original post by Justvisited
I think you would rather say this to thegeek888 :wink:

Are you implying the situation would be different for certain other subjects?

Well - its appears than some subjects (such as Computer Science) are way more competitive than others - at least judged by applicants per place.

Plus I suspect that for mathematical subjects grades are both more indicative of preparation for the course and more predictable. Its not particularly unusual for strong students to get A*s in maths, further maths, physics and AN Other. It may be less predictable in humanities types subjects due to the ambiguities of marking.
Original post by ajj2000
There is no shortage of people with those grades - way more than could be accommodated at Oxbridge plus Imperial for computer science.


No one would assume that they'd all go for a single subject.

There doesn't seem to be a straightforward way of finding out how many people actually finish school with that kind of perfect record, but I think the number would likely be well below the total annual intake of the above three institutions. It would be interesting to see what proportion of that class of top school leavers fail to get into any of them.
Original post by Echo86
I just got my gcse results yesterday and I received 2 8s, 6 7s and 1 6 (French 🙄) . For context I go to a state school and these are considered pretty good for my school but I know they aren’t the best. I’m interested in applying but I would like to know if I’ll be really disadvantaged or if I still have a chance if I work hard for my A levels. I know Cambridge are more lenient in terms of GCSEs, but is Oxford completely out of the question?

Thanks in advance for any advice & info x


I think personal statement is just as important I don't think it's completely out of the question you would just need to get the grades at A-levels and maybe do an EPQ as well which would give you additional points.
Original post by Justvisited
No one would assume that they'd all go for a single subject.

There doesn't seem to be a straightforward way of finding out how many people actually finish school with that kind of perfect record, but I think the number would likely be well below the total annual intake of the above three institutions. It would be interesting to see what proportion of that class of top school leavers fail to get into any of them.


Good grades are necessary, but do not in and of themselves guarantee admission. Some people might be brilliant at taking exams, but struggle with the interview and/or subject-specific assessments. At the end of the day, the tutors are selecting students who will do well in a tutorial/ supervision setting. That setting doesn't necessarily suit everyone (just like how some people are less suited to certain professions), and that is ok. Also, there are just many more qualified applicants than there are places, so unfortunately talented students end up getting outcompeted each year. Such is life.

Original post by Justvisited
Computer science, which I imagine is one of the most competitive, but again I wonder if some rich overseas students outbid nationals sometimes? Maybe the stellar school record means they were simply too 'generalist' and not geeky brilliant enough in the one thing they had to be....


International students are held to the same standards as home students - they don't get a free pass just because they're internationals. This is not American college admissions (where development cases are absolutely a thing).

And yes, the tutors select purely for aptitude in the chosen subject. My Law tutors certainly did not care for how I would have fared in any other subject, and rightly so. How good or bad I am at say Geography or Economics is completely irrelevant.

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