The Student Room Group

Do GCSE resits matter for Oxbridge?

I got majority 5s in my gcses should I retake my GCSEs? Will Oxbridge know? In maths I got a 6 ( I’m currently doing a level maths) so if I resit I know I’ll get a higher grade and English lang I got a 6 but if I retake I can get higher however literature I got a 5 so if I retake I can also get higher.

Is it worth the investment?
Original post by tinaaa.aaaa
I got majority 5s in my gcses should I retake my GCSEs? Will Oxbridge know? In maths I got a 6 ( I’m currently doing a level maths) so if I resit I know I’ll get a higher grade and English lang I got a 6 but if I retake I can get higher however literature I got a 5 so if I retake I can also get higher.

Is it worth the investment?

They will know you have resat, as you’ll have to declare all achieved grades on your UCAS - including the grades from your first try.

Whether you should resit is questionable. If you are dead set on applying to Oxford, then you’ll definitely have to resit the majority of your GCSEs. Cambridge is a little more forgiving of GCSEs, but if dead set on applying there also, I’d say you should probably to resit the majority of your GCSEs anyway just in case.
Original post by TypicalNerd
They will know you have resat, as you’ll have to declare all achieved grades on your UCAS - including the grades from your first try.

Whether you should resit is questionable. If you are dead set on applying to Oxford, then you’ll definitely have to resit the majority of your GCSEs. Cambridge is a little more forgiving of GCSEs, but if dead set on applying there also, I’d say you should probably to resit the majority of your GCSEs anyway just in case.

Thanks, i was considering doing them this November.

I came from a very bad primary school where the school was shutdown, even when a new headteacher came during our SATS the teachers gave us all the answers and when i started secondary school they put me in the low set from yr7-yr10 (+ effects from covid) I only had 1 year to learn the whole of higher gcse maths since i was put in foundation since yr7

i mean if i didnt cram i wouldve scrapped 3s lol
Original post by tinaaa.aaaa
I got majority 5s in my gcses should I retake my GCSEs? Will Oxbridge know? In maths I got a 6 ( I’m currently doing a level maths) so if I resit I know I’ll get a higher grade and English lang I got a 6 but if I retake I can get higher however literature I got a 5 so if I retake I can also get higher.

Is it worth the investment?

You have to declare the grades as noted. Honestly my perspective is that it only really makes a difference to resit English language and/or maths to reach minimum requirements and anything beyond that isn't really a good use of time. As basically any courses/unis (bear in mind that Oxford and Cambridge look at GCSEs very differently, and this also varies across the courses offered at each to some extent) that do put a larger amount of weight on GCSEs will normally be less keen to see a lot of resits, and the ones that don't care about resits generally tend to put less emphasis on GCSEs anyway.

In general Oxford tends to care about GCSEs more than Cambridge, although at Oxford this can vary as courses like physics, maths, CS, and similar tend to not really be overly fussed about less relevant GCSE subjects. At Cambridge they're just considered holistically with the rest of your application, although several of the official rep ATs we've had on TSR now and in the past have indicated they had not yet to that point rejected a student solely on the basis of GCSEs in any event.

Grade 6 in English language and maths will fulfill the minimum GCSE requirements for most other unis (note Cambridge doesn't have any formal GCSE requirements - not sure if Oxford do) so I don't see it as a good use of time really.
(edited 7 months ago)
Original post by tinaaa.aaaa
Thanks, i was considering doing them this November.

I came from a very bad primary school where the school was shutdown, even when a new headteacher came during our SATS the teachers gave us all the answers and when i started secondary school they put me in the low set from yr7-yr10 (+ effects from covid) I only had 1 year to learn the whole of higher gcse maths since i was put in foundation since yr7

i mean if i didnt cram i wouldve scrapped 3s lol


I see. Idk if this is worth mentioning on your reference (I’d talk this through with the heads of sixth form or equivalent and get their opinions), as it may give some contextual information to the admissions teams and therefore give you slightly better chances.

You also should bear in mind the following:

-Your predicted A level grades need to be at least those of the entry requirements.
-You need to perform well in any admissions tests (not all courses have them).
-If you get through to interviews, then your A level predictions and achieved GCSE grades become less important and your interview performance essentially decides whether you get an offer.
Original post by TypicalNerd
I see. Idk if this is worth mentioning on your reference (I’d talk this through with the heads of sixth form or equivalent and get their opinions), as it may give some contextual information to the admissions teams and therefore give you slightly better chances.

You also should bear in mind the following:

-Your predicted A level grades need to be at least those of the entry requirements.
-You need to perform well in any admissions tests (not all courses have them).
-If you get through to interviews, then your A level predictions and achieved GCSE grades become less important and your interview performance essentially decides whether you get an offer.

Thank you a lot, the way that TSR gives me more support than my school combined is truly shocking, I'll consider writing it in my personal statement.

however obviously theres 2 sides of everything, if i dont retake my gcses but get A's in a level i feel like I will stand out??? i have no clue lol because i've heard from Quora that when they compare your gcses to your A Levels if they see that you get A's but got 4s,5s in GCSE they'll see a massive improvement in work ethic.
Original post by artful_lounger
You have to declare the grades as noted. Honestly my perspective is that it only really makes a difference to resit English language and/or maths to reach minimum requirements and anything beyond that isn't really a good use of time. As basically any courses/unis (bear in mind that Oxford and Cambridge look at GCSEs very differently, and this also varies across the courses offered at each to some extent) that do put a larger amount of weight on GCSEs will normally be less keen to see a lot of resits, and the ones that don't care about resits generally tend to put less emphasis on GCSEs anyway.

In general Oxford tends to care about GCSEs more than Cambridge, although at Oxford this can vary as courses like physics, maths, CS, and similar tend to not really be overly fussed about less relevant GCSE subjects. At Cambridge they're just considered holistically with the rest of your application, although several of the official rep ATs we've had on TSR now and in the past have indicated they had not yet to that point rejected a student solely on the basis of GCSEs in any event.

Grade 6 in English language and maths will fulfill the minimum GCSE requirements for most other unis (note Cambridge doesn't have any formal GCSE requirements - not sure if Oxford do) so I don't see it as a good use of time really.

Thank you alot for this info, honestly i couldn't find any info about this so thank you alot for the help.
Original post by tinaaa.aaaa
Thank you a lot, the way that TSR gives me more support than my school combined is truly shocking, I'll consider writing it in my personal statement.

however obviously theres 2 sides of everything, if i dont retake my gcses but get A's in a level i feel like I will stand out??? i have no clue lol because i've heard from Quora that when they compare your gcses to your A Levels if they see that you get A's but got 4s,5s in GCSE they'll see a massive improvement in work ethic.


I’d be very cautious about taking what random people on TSR, Quora and Reddit have to say about Oxbridge admissions as gospel. It is worth noting that I have largely based my advice on the published admissions criteria I had to follow for my applications to Oxford (I applied for Chemistry), rather than any of the above three websites. I appreciate this advice may not be entirely applicable given you may well be considering an entirely different course.

Also, DO NOT put anything about having to learn higher maths in one year and going to a weak primary school in your PS - that is something your referee(s) should consider writing about in your reference if they consider it appropriate to do so.
(edited 7 months ago)
Original post by TypicalNerd
I’d be very cautious about taking what random people on TSR, Quora and Reddit have to say about Oxbridge admissions as gospel. It is worth noting that I have largely based my advice on the published admissions criteria I had to follow for my applications to Oxford (I applied for Chemistry), rather than any of the above three websites. I appreciate this advice may not be entirely applicable given you may well be considering an entirely different course.

Also, DO NOT put anything about having to learn higher maths in one year and going to a weak primary school in your PS - that is something your referee(s) should consider writing about in your reference if they consider it appropriate to do so.

Yup im aware since most of the people in Quora or Reddit haven't even went to Oxbridge and they talk like they studied there or got a PHD

I'll try talk with my referees, and if its possible can I actually email their admissions for answers?
Original post by tinaaa.aaaa
Yup im aware since most of the people in Quora or Reddit haven't even went to Oxbridge and they talk like they studied there or got a PHD

I'll try talk with my referees, and if its possible can I actually email their admissions for answers?

If you want to email them, then you should be able to find a relevant email address somewhere on the Oxford or Cambridge website. Where exactly will, to some extent, depend on which course(s) and college(s) you are interested in.

Generally you should be able to find a page with FAQ’s for whichever course you are considering, so I’d imagine emailing them wouldn’t be worth the bother for the time being.

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