The Student Room Group

Could I realistically get into Cambridge

Cambridge has always been a dream of mine and I would love to go but I need some realistic advice I guess. I think it stems from the fact that I want to apply for computer science, which is pretty competitive from what I hear and I would like to apply to trinity which I think is hard to get into.

Some background info I guess:
I come from a pretty poor city and I would be the first generation in my family to actually go to university. I myself am eligible for things such as free school meals and bursary’s because of my poor background. I attend a State comprehensive school which I’m pretty sure only really ever gets 2 or 3 successful Oxbridge applicants each year.

For my gcses I received 3 grade 9s, 6 grade 8s and 1 grade 7, which I know isn’t bad but I see so many people talking about applying with like straight 9s so I can’t help but be a tad bit insecure of them.

I’m currently studying 4 a levels (maths, further maths, physics and computer science). To compensate for maybe the underwhelming gcse grades I’ve attempted to participate in as many and all super/extracurricular I could.
I took part in the ukmt exam thing (even though I didn’t get very far), I’m currently participating in a computing course online as well as many outreach programmes.

I just started year 12 so I can’t really say much about predicted grades but I’ll obviously work hard to get them as high as I can.

I’m just wondering because I don’t want to dream for something that is impossible. Also any tips would be appreciated :smile:
Reply 1
Original post by Anonymous
Cambridge has always been a dream of mine and I would love to go but I need some realistic advice I guess. I think it stems from the fact that I want to apply for computer science, which is pretty competitive from what I hear and I would like to apply to trinity which I think is hard to get into.

Some background info I guess:
I come from a pretty poor city and I would be the first generation in my family to actually go to university. I myself am eligible for things such as free school meals and bursary’s because of my poor background. I attend a State comprehensive school which I’m pretty sure only really ever gets 2 or 3 successful Oxbridge applicants each year.

For my gcses I received 3 grade 9s, 6 grade 8s and 1 grade 7, which I know isn’t bad but I see so many people talking about applying with like straight 9s so I can’t help but be a tad bit insecure of them.

I’m currently studying 4 a levels (maths, further maths, physics and computer science). To compensate for maybe the underwhelming gcse grades I’ve attempted to participate in as many and all super/extracurricular I could.
I took part in the ukmt exam thing (even though I didn’t get very far), I’m currently participating in a computing course online as well as many outreach programmes.

I just started year 12 so I can’t really say much about predicted grades but I’ll obviously work hard to get them as high as I can.

I’m just wondering because I don’t want to dream for something that is impossible. Also any tips would be appreciated :smile:


First of all, congrats on your GCSEs! Your stats are amazing.
Cambridge usually looks at grades in context of your school, and the low success rates from your state school is something they'll take into account. They attempt to measure academic potential as accurately as possible - they understand that people from disadvantaged backgrounds may not have perfect grades (though your grades are close to perfect, and often 8s and 9s are looked at as the same).
Also, if it's of any comfort (though I don't think it needs to be), Cambridge do not put as much weight on your GCSEs as Oxford might do. Unless you 7 was in maths or physics, it will likely mean nothing.
As for predicted grades, the requirement is A*A*A but you can expect a majority of applicants to be predicted A*A*A*. Your fourth subject will make little to no difference, so only keep it if you are predicted an A* or A.
You'll sit a TMUA in a year's time; just make sure you adequetly prepare for that.
It is very much possible and you have nothing to worry about, as of now.
Good luck :smile:
Original post by Anonymous
Cambridge has always been a dream of mine and I would love to go but I need some realistic advice I guess. I think it stems from the fact that I want to apply for computer science, which is pretty competitive from what I hear and I would like to apply to trinity which I think is hard to get into.

Some background info I guess:
I come from a pretty poor city and I would be the first generation in my family to actually go to university. I myself am eligible for things such as free school meals and bursary’s because of my poor background. I attend a State comprehensive school which I’m pretty sure only really ever gets 2 or 3 successful Oxbridge applicants each year.

For my gcses I received 3 grade 9s, 6 grade 8s and 1 grade 7, which I know isn’t bad but I see so many people talking about applying with like straight 9s so I can’t help but be a tad bit insecure of them.

I’m currently studying 4 a levels (maths, further maths, physics and computer science). To compensate for maybe the underwhelming gcse grades I’ve attempted to participate in as many and all super/extracurricular I could.
I took part in the ukmt exam thing (even though I didn’t get very far), I’m currently participating in a computing course online as well as many outreach programmes.

I just started year 12 so I can’t really say much about predicted grades but I’ll obviously work hard to get them as high as I can.

I’m just wondering because I don’t want to dream for something that is impossible. Also any tips would be appreciated :smile:

I always sigh a but when someone says their dream is to attend a certain institution. Your dreams should be about what you want to achieve (ultimately a reputation is built on success stories the name is simply a badge for it). I always think prioritizing institution over personal goals may well lead to an underwhelming university experience.

Id say a school which gets 2 or 3 students into Oxbridge per year is doing very well (of course it’s also about proportionality to student body).

I find your description of your GCSE performance somewhat irritating. Id think if you have achieved the GCSEs you present you should be able to contextualise your performance a little better- they are excellent, essentially in old money 9x A*/A & 1x A/B which is obviously excellent.
Reply 3
Original post by Anonymous
Cambridge has always been a dream of mine and I would love to go but I need some realistic advice I guess. I think it stems from the fact that I want to apply for computer science, which is pretty competitive from what I hear and I would like to apply to trinity which I think is hard to get into.

Some background info I guess:
I come from a pretty poor city and I would be the first generation in my family to actually go to university. I myself am eligible for things such as free school meals and bursary’s because of my poor background. I attend a State comprehensive school which I’m pretty sure only really ever gets 2 or 3 successful Oxbridge applicants each year.

For my gcses I received 3 grade 9s, 6 grade 8s and 1 grade 7, which I know isn’t bad but I see so many people talking about applying with like straight 9s so I can’t help but be a tad bit insecure of them.

I’m currently studying 4 a levels (maths, further maths, physics and computer science). To compensate for maybe the underwhelming gcse grades I’ve attempted to participate in as many and all super/extracurricular I could.
I took part in the ukmt exam thing (even though I didn’t get very far), I’m currently participating in a computing course online as well as many outreach programmes.

I just started year 12 so I can’t really say much about predicted grades but I’ll obviously work hard to get them as high as I can.

I’m just wondering because I don’t want to dream for something that is impossible. Also any tips would be appreciated :smile:


Absolutely bro, the GCSEs aren’t a massive deal. Your predicted grades need to be top of the top and need to score well in whatever the admissions test is and you have a very solid chance like the majority of people have. Don’t discredit yourself because you didn’t get all 9’s like some did (note that a lot more ppl get in with ‘bad’ gcse grades than you think)
(edited 4 months ago)
Original post by mnot
I always sigh a but when someone says their dream is to attend a certain institution. Your dreams should be about what you want to achieve

It's possible they have more than one dream, like how they said "Cambridge has always been a dream of mine".
Reply 5
Hi, if it helps, my school allowed me to apply for History and politics despite only getting 1 A* and two A's for GCSE (rest were 6s and one 5). The school itself is a selective academic one but they let me apply as i had excentuating circumstances and came from a terrible school which (simmilar urs) only had one oxbridge offer every couple of years. I genuinly think you should go for it :biggrin: future you in a couple of years time will regret at least not trying. Also if applicable they send a form talking about how much Covid impacted ur learning so if u want you can talk about that
Reply 6
(Original post by Anonymous)Cambridge has always been a dream of mine and I would love to go but I need some realistic advice I guess. I think it stems from the fact that I want to apply for computer science, which is pretty competitive from what I hear and I would like to apply to trinity which I think is hard to get into.

Some background info I guess:
I come from a pretty poor city and I would be the first generation in my family to actually go to university. I myself am eligible for things such as free school meals and bursary’s because of my poor background. I attend a State comprehensive school which I’m pretty sure only really ever gets 2 or 3 successful Oxbridge applicants each year.

For my gcses I received 3 grade 9s, 6 grade 8s and 1 grade 7, which I know isn’t bad but I see so many people talking about applying with like straight 9s so I can’t help but be a tad bit insecure of them.

I’m currently studying 4 a levels (maths, further maths, physics and computer science). To compensate for maybe the underwhelming gcse grades I’ve attempted to participate in as many and all super/extracurricular I could.
I took part in the ukmt exam thing (even though I didn’t get very far), I’m currently participating in a computing course online as well as many outreach programmes.

I just started year 12 so I can’t really say much about predicted grades but I’ll obviously work hard to get them as high as I can.

I’m just wondering because I don’t want to dream for something that is impossible. Also any tips would be appreciated :smile:

Original post by Anonymous
Cambridge has always been a dream of mine and I would love to go but I need some realistic advice I guess. I think it stems from the fact that I want to apply for computer science, which is pretty competitive from what I hear and I would like to apply to trinity which I think is hard to get into.

Some background info I guess:
I come from a pretty poor city and I would be the first generation in my family to actually go to university. I myself am eligible for things such as free school meals and bursary’s because of my poor background. I attend a State comprehensive school which I’m pretty sure only really ever gets 2 or 3 successful Oxbridge applicants each year.

For my gcses I received 3 grade 9s, 6 grade 8s and 1 grade 7, which I know isn’t bad but I see so many people talking about applying with like straight 9s so I can’t help but be a tad bit insecure of them.

I’m currently studying 4 a levels (maths, further maths, physics and computer science). To compensate for maybe the underwhelming gcse grades I’ve attempted to participate in as many and all super/extracurricular I could.
I took part in the ukmt exam thing (even though I didn’t get very far), I’m currently participating in a computing course online as well as many outreach programmes.

I just started year 12 so I can’t really say much about predicted grades but I’ll obviously work hard to get them as high as I can.

I’m just wondering because I don’t want to dream for something that is impossible. Also any tips would be appreciated :smile:

Also to add on, many Cambridge colleges emphasise about meeting the predicted grades first- if not that can make then flat out reject you, rather than ur GCSE scores. Overall they prioritise that and the Personal statement
Reply 7
Original post by Riann246


First of all, congrats on your GCSEs! Your stats are amazing.
Cambridge usually looks at grades in context of your school, and the low success rates from your state school is something they'll take into account. They attempt to measure academic potential as accurately as possible - they understand that people from disadvantaged backgrounds may not have perfect grades (though your grades are close to perfect, and often 8s and 9s are looked at as the same).
Also, if it's of any comfort (though I don't think it needs to be), Cambridge do not put as much weight on your GCSEs as Oxford might do. Unless you 7 was in maths or physics, it will likely mean nothing.
As for predicted grades, the requirement is A*A*A but you can expect a majority of applicants to be predicted A*A*A*. Your fourth subject will make little to no difference, so only keep it if you are predicted an A* or A.
You'll sit a TMUA in a year's time; just make sure you adequetly prepare for that.
It is very much possible and you have nothing to worry about, as of now.
Good luck :smile:


they are scrapping the TMUA for 2024 so it will probably be another similar admissions test :smile:

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