The Student Room Group

How can I enhance my Oxford application with weaker GCSEs?

Hiya, I am seriously considering applying to Oxford for E&M for 2023 and was wondering how I would be able to enhance my application. I understand that my GCSEs are weak at 777777666 but have genuinely started to work hard in A-levels and have gotten a predicted A*A*A in Economics, Psychology and Maths, which I hope to be able to increase to an A* in maths as well (Likely as I did very well in my year 12 mock). I also have achieved an A in finance at AS and will most likely be able to achieve an A* in my EPQ.

I know the basics such as having a good personal statement and studying hard for the TSA, things which I have already started doing. I was just wondering if anyone had any other tips to improve my application which aren't widely known. Any replies would be appreciated :smile:
Reply 1
Boost
do related online courses (MOOCs) if you can find them, and include them in your personal statement, talk about what you have learned, how you’ll apply these new skills and knowledge and how they would be used in your degree/future career. work experience is also very very helpful to have in your personal statement, but i’m not sure how easy it would be to find something related to your course!
Reply 3
Original post by okayykayy
do related online courses (MOOCs) if you can find them, and include them in your personal statement, talk about what you have learned, how you’ll apply these new skills and knowledge and how they would be used in your degree/future career. work experience is also very very helpful to have in your personal statement, but i’m not sure how easy it would be to find something related to your course!


Alright, thanks a bunch :smile:
Original post by ChaletSA
Hiya, I am seriously considering applying to Oxford for E&M for 2023 and was wondering how I would be able to enhance my application. I understand that my GCSEs are weak at 777777666 but have genuinely started to work hard in A-levels and have gotten a predicted A*A*A in Economics, Psychology and Maths, which I hope to be able to increase to an A* in maths as well (Likely as I did very well in my year 12 mock). I also have achieved an A in finance at AS and will most likely be able to achieve an A* in my EPQ.

I know the basics such as having a good personal statement and studying hard for the TSA, things which I have already started doing. I was just wondering if anyone had any other tips to improve my application which aren't widely known. Any replies would be appreciated :smile:


You have to be realistic about things, and it is unlikely that you would be shortlisted with those GCSEs. Most successful applicants have mainly 8s and 9s at GCSE, and GCSE performance is a tool used early on to cut the field down to size. It's unlikely that you would be called for interview at Oxford.

Cambridge places little importance on GCSEs and, ceteris paribus, you have a higher chance of being interviewed there. Maybe something to think about.
Reply 5
Original post by Reality Check
You have to be realistic about things, and it is unlikely that you would be shortlisted with those GCSEs. Most successful applicants have mainly 8s and 9s at GCSE, and GCSE performance is a tool used early on to cut the field down to size. It's unlikely that you would be called for interview at Oxford.

Cambridge places little importance on GCSEs and, ceteris paribus, you have a higher chance of being interviewed there. Maybe something to think about.


Yeh I've been told that Cambridge places less emphasis on GCSEs however I Oxford is a much better fit for me and I doubt I'd enjoy Cambridge. I also understand that my chances are low and that is why I'm attempting to do as much as possible to improve my chances.
Original post by ChaletSA
Yeh I've been told that Cambridge places less emphasis on GCSEs however I Oxford is a much better fit for me and I doubt I'd enjoy Cambridge. I also understand that my chances are low and that is why I'm attempting to do as much as possible to improve my chances.


OK, but the point is that your GCSEs are going to effectively rule you out of being shortlisted. There is nothing 'extra' you can do at this stage to mitigate that.

By all means apply, but the chances of being shortlisted are probably <1%. It's probably a waste of a UCAS choice.

@Oxford Mum
Original post by Reality Check
OK, but the point is that your GCSEs are going to effectively rule you out of being shortlisted. There is nothing 'extra' you can do at this stage to mitigate that.

By all means apply, but the chances of being shortlisted are probably <1%. It's probably a waste of a UCAS choice.

@Oxford Mum


I agree reality. This is even harder to get into than medicine. Whether Oxford seems to be a better fit or not, those grades will be a drawback
Original post by Oxford Mum
I agree reality. This is even harder to get into than medicine. Whether Oxford seems to be a better fit or not, those grades will be a drawback

Sorry to join in on this thread randomly. My gcse's are 9988888887 and a distinction* which is equivalent to an 8/9 but I know oxbridge are picky about their qualifications. Is there a point applying since acceptance rates are so low?
Original post by ucappli
Sorry to join in on this thread randomly. My gcse's are 9988888887 and a distinction* which is equivalent to an 8/9 but I know oxbridge are picky about their qualifications. Is there a point applying since acceptance rates are so low?

Which subject are we talking about here? Those grades would be fine for any subject.
Thank you so much for your reply, I'm also looking to apply for E&M
Original post by Oxford Mum
Which subject are we talking about here? Those grades would be fine for any subject.
Original post by aaq1
grades are fine but it is an extremely competitive course. What matters for e&m most is the performance in TSA section 1. Try to secure within top 15% to secure an interview since they interview about 10-15% of the applicants. About 6% get offers. So, the best way is to secure as high as on TSA - aim for 100% and try your best.


Prsom
thank youuu
Original post by aaq1
grades are fine but it is an extremely competitive course. What matters for e&m most is the performance in TSA section 1. Try to secure within top 15% to secure an interview since they interview about 10-15% of the applicants. About 6% get offers. So, the best way is to secure as high as on TSA - aim for 100% and try your best.
Reply 13
Original post by ChaletSA
Hiya, I am seriously considering applying to Oxford for E&M for 2023 and was wondering how I would be able to enhance my application. I understand that my GCSEs are weak at 777777666 but have genuinely started to work hard in A-levels and have gotten a predicted A*A*A in Economics, Psychology and Maths, which I hope to be able to increase to an A* in maths as well (Likely as I did very well in my year 12 mock). I also have achieved an A in finance at AS and will most likely be able to achieve an A* in my EPQ.

I know the basics such as having a good personal statement and studying hard for the TSA, things which I have already started doing. I was just wondering if anyone had any other tips to improve my application which aren't widely known. Any replies would be appreciated :smile:

boosting so someone can help <3
Original post by szphue
boosting so someone can help <3

Surely quite a few people have helped already. The general advice seems to be:

1. With those GCSEs, it's a long-shot at best.
2. The only real hope is to do extremely well in the TSA.

What sort of additional help do you feel is required?
Original post by szphue
don't be so bloody rude

Eh?
Reply 16
Original post by DataVenia
Eh?


eh? bloody rude you are acting so naff with me. bullying not tolerated in this chat rude little one. - mother of three
Original post by szphue
eh? bloody rude you are acting so naff with me. bullying not tolerated in this chat rude little one. - mother of three

What was it that I've said or done which was rude?

OP asked for advice. Several people gave advice. A month later after the last post, you posted "boosting so someone can help <3" (which I assume meant that you thought OP could benefit from some further advice). I summarised the advice given to date and asked what sort of additional advice you thought might be useful.

I've absolutely no idea why you find any of that so offensive.
Original post by ChaletSA
Hiya, I am seriously considering applying to Oxford for E&M for 2023 and was wondering how I would be able to enhance my application. I understand that my GCSEs are weak at 777777666 but have genuinely started to work hard in A-levels and have gotten a predicted A*A*A in Economics, Psychology and Maths, which I hope to be able to increase to an A* in maths as well (Likely as I did very well in my year 12 mock). I also have achieved an A in finance at AS and will most likely be able to achieve an A* in my EPQ.

I know the basics such as having a good personal statement and studying hard for the TSA, things which I have already started doing. I was just wondering if anyone had any other tips to improve my application which aren't widely known. Any replies would be appreciated :smile:

Hey, on Oxford's website there is a section where it gives you tips and advice on your application. Also, transferable/unique skills e.g. speaking more than one language can greatly increase your chances of getting into uni.

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