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Do these count as mitigating circumstance for my GCSEs?

So I really want to get into Cambridge or atleast Russel group but my GCSEs are terrible. 333444456. I’m on track with As hopijg to achieve A*s but my GCSEs are horrendous. I’m considering retaking them all this year but idk how to juggle that and my year 12 mocks.
I have reasons for my grades it’s not because I’m stupid or something but idk if they count as extenuating circumstances.

During the time of gcse season my parents split up unexpectedly a month before. I lived near to my school but me my mum and sister had to live out to the otherside of the town so instead of being able to walk to school and come back early I had to take 2 busses. Getting home was late so I didn’t have much revision time.
My sister couldn’t cope with the split and her school got a social worker involved. My dad emotionally abused me throughout that time blaming me for a lot of things that happened it was a really messy time.
I also was struggling with an ED. In one of the weeks of gcse season I didn’t eat the entire week. I say many exams without eating in days in desperate attempts to be skinny for the long gcse summer holiday. ( I know man super stupid.)

On top of that I was also dealing with mental issues. I’ was severely bullied which is where I got my issues from. During gcse season I tried to unalivd myself with paracetamol.

Basically I was a mess and wasn’t mentally able ti cope with GCSEs. I didn’t expect to pass more than 4 subjects. Problem is I never told anyone my issues not even the social worker so I have no idea how to get proof this is real or a doctor note or something. I’m trying to get into therapy. Before all my friends left me they said it’s the best thing I need and I can’t let my depression get the best of me at a levels again. But then again people treat me like a human here. I’m far from being bullied.

I don’t know if these are good reasons. I know at the end of the day I should have tried more had more willpower but gcse season was the most depressing era of my life. I get ill when I think about that may-June period. It was awful. Are these counted as mitigating circumstances?


Also the 3s thankfully are in subjects I don’t need just science and Spanish. I had a 4 in math and the 6 in English Lang ( I was only a mark from a 7) the other 5 was English lit which I was also a mark away from a 6. For most RG uni I need the criteria. I want to do Law so they ask for a 6 in Lang 4 in math thank god. This makes me wonder whether I should really resist but then the grades overall look so bad so idk.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 1
Original post by TTAva2000
So I really want to get into Cambridge or atleast Russel group but my GCSEs are terrible. 333444456. I’m on track with As hopijg to achieve A*s but my GCSEs are horrendous. I’m considering retaking them all this year but idk how to juggle that and my year 12 mocks.
I have reasons for my grades it’s not because I’m stupid or something but idk if they count as extenuating circumstances.

During the time of gcse season my parents split up unexpectedly a month before. I lived near to my school but me my mum and sister had to live out to the otherside of the town so instead of being able to walk to school and come back early I had to take 2 busses. Getting home was late so I didn’t have much revision time.
My sister couldn’t cope with the split and her school got a social worker involved. My dad emotionally abused me throughout that time blaming me for a lot of things that happened it was a really messy time.
I also was struggling with an ED. In one of the weeks of gcse season I didn’t eat the entire week. I say many exams without eating in days in desperate attempts to be skinny for the long gcse summer holiday. ( I know man super stupid.)

On top of that I was also dealing with mental issues. I’ was severely bullied which is where I got my issues from. During gcse season I tried to unalivd myself with paracetamol.

Basically I was a mess and wasn’t mentally able ti cope with GCSEs. I didn’t expect to pass more than 4 subjects. Problem is I never told anyone my issues not even the social worker so I have no idea how to get proof this is real or a doctor note or something. I’m trying to get into therapy. Before all my friends left me they said it’s the best thing I need and I can’t let my depression get the best of me at a levels again. But then again people treat me like a human here. I’m far from being bullied.

I don’t know if these are good reasons. I know at the end of the day I should have tried more had more willpower but gcse season was the most depressing era of my life. I get ill when I think about that may-June period. It was awful. Are these counted as mitigating circumstances?


To your question, I have no idea.

I couldn’t pass by without enquiring how you are now. I sincerely hope you are better, healthier and more content with who you are. All the best- you’ll smash those year 12 mocks! Don’t worry!
Original post by TTAva2000
So I really want to get into Cambridge or atleast Russel group but my GCSEs are terrible. 333444456. I’m on track with As hopijg to achieve A*s but my GCSEs are horrendous. I’m considering retaking them all this year but idk how to juggle that and my year 12 mocks.
I have reasons for my grades it’s not because I’m stupid or something but idk if they count as extenuating circumstances.

During the time of gcse season my parents split up unexpectedly a month before. I lived near to my school but me my mum and sister had to live out to the otherside of the town so instead of being able to walk to school and come back early I had to take 2 busses. Getting home was late so I didn’t have much revision time.
My sister couldn’t cope with the split and her school got a social worker involved. My dad emotionally abused me throughout that time blaming me for a lot of things that happened it was a really messy time.
I also was struggling with an ED. In one of the weeks of gcse season I didn’t eat the entire week. I say many exams without eating in days in desperate attempts to be skinny for the long gcse summer holiday. ( I know man super stupid.)

On top of that I was also dealing with mental issues. I’ was severely bullied which is where I got my issues from. During gcse season I tried to unalivd myself with paracetamol.

Basically I was a mess and wasn’t mentally able ti cope with GCSEs. I didn’t expect to pass more than 4 subjects. Problem is I never told anyone my issues not even the social worker so I have no idea how to get proof this is real or a doctor note or something. I’m trying to get into therapy. Before all my friends left me they said it’s the best thing I need and I can’t let my depression get the best of me at a levels again. But then again people treat me like a human here. I’m far from being bullied.

I don’t know if these are good reasons. I know at the end of the day I should have tried more had more willpower but gcse season was the most depressing era of my life. I get ill when I think about that may-June period. It was awful. Are these counted as mitigating circumstances?

Those are definitely extenuating circumstances. You'll get into a top Russel Group with your GCSEs, not sure about Cambridge but you could always contact them and ask I guess.
ok so my friend had kind of similar issues but not to the same severity - she got all 9s at GCSE for the subjects she took for A level but scraped a 4 in maths and underperformed in other subjects, especially considering our school is high performing. She’s predicted 3 A*s and did her interview for Cambridge, and overall is doing super well now.

I know your situation is kind of worse but it is still savable. if you can’t retake all your GCSEs I suggest to retake them strategically, ie. retake subjects you’re still doing at A level (if applicable), Maths, English. It’s better to get good results on a few retaken GCSEs than retaking it all and getting a mediocre set. You could also consider discussing with your teachers retaking Year 12 so you have 3 years to do your A levels + GCSEs.

The majority of universities offer a “contextual offer” for “mitigating circumstances”, which is often a reduced offer by 1-2 grades. Even though your A Levels are good, and contextual offers are largely based on criteria you might not fit (look them up), this means that there’s a good chance unis will be less harsh on your GCSEs. Your school writes everybody a reference letter and some unis also have a “mitigating circumstances” forms or something. Basically if your school is good they will put everything you just said into the reference to persuade the unis as much as possible you deserve to be considered specially.

I will also say it looks really impressive for a student to go from those **** GCSEs to top A Level grades. You could even mention retaking GCSEs on top of learning a levels in your personal statement to show your study ethic and time management. Bad GCSEs and good A levels are much better than good GCSEs and bad A Levels

For now, participating in Access programmes like the Sutton Trust summer schools is great as well as entering essay competitions etc. Remember that although you might not officially meet mitigating circumstances often just taking the chance and emailing about your personal circumstances can get you in anyway. Overall retaking maths and english is a good idea because a lot of unis say you have to have a certain grade to go, but it’s not necessary to retake any others.
Original post by TTAva2000
So I really want to get into Cambridge or atleast Russel group but my GCSEs are terrible. 333444456. I’m on track with As hopijg to achieve A*s but my GCSEs are horrendous. I’m considering retaking them all this year but idk how to juggle that and my year 12 mocks.
I have reasons for my grades it’s not because I’m stupid or something but idk if they count as extenuating circumstances.

During the time of gcse season my parents split up unexpectedly a month before. I lived near to my school but me my mum and sister had to live out to the otherside of the town so instead of being able to walk to school and come back early I had to take 2 busses. Getting home was late so I didn’t have much revision time.
My sister couldn’t cope with the split and her school got a social worker involved. My dad emotionally abused me throughout that time blaming me for a lot of things that happened it was a really messy time.
I also was struggling with an ED. In one of the weeks of gcse season I didn’t eat the entire week. I say many exams without eating in days in desperate attempts to be skinny for the long gcse summer holiday. ( I know man super stupid.)

On top of that I was also dealing with mental issues. I’ was severely bullied which is where I got my issues from. During gcse season I tried to unalivd myself with paracetamol.

Basically I was a mess and wasn’t mentally able ti cope with GCSEs. I didn’t expect to pass more than 4 subjects. Problem is I never told anyone my issues not even the social worker so I have no idea how to get proof this is real or a doctor note or something. I’m trying to get into therapy. Before all my friends left me they said it’s the best thing I need and I can’t let my depression get the best of me at a levels again. But then again people treat me like a human here. I’m far from being bullied.

I don’t know if these are good reasons. I know at the end of the day I should have tried more had more willpower but gcse season was the most depressing era of my life. I get ill when I think about that may-June period. It was awful. Are these counted as mitigating circumstances?

Do you have any evidence at all; even a GP visit?

Sadly, with some back-up evidence this will be hard.

What degree are you thinking of and why Cambridge?
Original post by TTAva2000
So I really want to get into Cambridge or atleast Russel group but my GCSEs are terrible. 333444456. I’m on track with As hopijg to achieve A*s but my GCSEs are horrendous. I’m considering retaking them all this year but idk how to juggle that and my year 12 mocks.
I have reasons for my grades it’s not because I’m stupid or something but idk if they count as extenuating circumstances.

During the time of gcse season my parents split up unexpectedly a month before. I lived near to my school but me my mum and sister had to live out to the otherside of the town so instead of being able to walk to school and come back early I had to take 2 busses. Getting home was late so I didn’t have much revision time.
My sister couldn’t cope with the split and her school got a social worker involved. My dad emotionally abused me throughout that time blaming me for a lot of things that happened it was a really messy time.
I also was struggling with an ED. In one of the weeks of gcse season I didn’t eat the entire week. I say many exams without eating in days in desperate attempts to be skinny for the long gcse summer holiday. ( I know man super stupid.)

On top of that I was also dealing with mental issues. I’ was severely bullied which is where I got my issues from. During gcse season I tried to unalivd myself with paracetamol.

Basically I was a mess and wasn’t mentally able ti cope with GCSEs. I didn’t expect to pass more than 4 subjects. Problem is I never told anyone my issues not even the social worker so I have no idea how to get proof this is real or a doctor note or something. I’m trying to get into therapy. Before all my friends left me they said it’s the best thing I need and I can’t let my depression get the best of me at a levels again. But then again people treat me like a human here. I’m far from being bullied.

I don’t know if these are good reasons. I know at the end of the day I should have tried more had more willpower but gcse season was the most depressing era of my life. I get ill when I think about that may-June period. It was awful. Are these counted as mitigating circumstances?

Re: Extenuating circs, yes, possibly they could come into play. Usually for GCSE's they're less of a factor as the candidate has had time to retake the odd subject, but where it affected your overall results there is no harm in submitting them along with your application.

With regards to your wider consideration, it really depends on what course you are applying for. I work at a RG uni (don't fixate on getting into one, they're not best for all subjects), and we would score the whole GCSE profile only for a small number of courses. The majority just want English and Maths. You've not specified those grades, but those are the chief ones you'll want at least 6 in each in to maximise your options.
Reply 6
The 6 is English and only a 4 in maths. However I want to do law and many Russel group unis I’ve check for law only ask for a 4 in math 6 in English. This is why I’m also not sure I’m retaking since I meet the criteria for many…but my GCSEs overall willl look terrible on my application. I also just don’t want to sabotage my year 12 mocks by starting to revise for 9 subjects all over again this summer.
Reply 7
Original post by Muttley79
Do you have any evidence at all; even a GP visit?

Sadly, with some back-up evidence this will be hard.

What degree are you thinking of and why Cambridge?

I had a referral from my social worker to this counselling service and I had a session with them shortly after GCSEs ended. That’s the only ‘visit’ I’ve had unfortunately.

Law. When I was at secondary I found English and essay subjects the easisesr. I only got a 6 in Lang but it was my best subject and I feel like law is mainly on the fighting side. Plus after looking into the field I. Feel it would suit me. I like debating and I think the way the law industry works is interesting.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Muttley79
Do you have any evidence at all; even a GP visit?

Sadly, with some back-up evidence this will be hard.

What degree are you thinking of and why Cambridge?
You mentioned a social worker - this is evidence - if you were appointed a social worker there was a reason for it (presumably parental spilt and dads' emotional abuse) your GP could write this letter stating that the spilt occurred it was difficult emotionally and u required help of social worker at time. I hope you got into the Uni you wanted but if you are reapplying it is definitely worth attaching the that kind of extenuating circumstances letter to your application, particularly if you write on your personal statement how hard that time was for you and how you've had to focus to get your great predicted grades for A levels.

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