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extenuating circumstances Oxford

So in a nutshell I suffered from anorexia throughout all of year 11. I was in recovery around GCSEs but because of my illness I ended up not doing as well as I wanted to in my GCSEs. I got all 8s apart from in Spanish and English lit. I was initially predicted 9s for all of my subjects however did not get any in my actual exams. I understand however that this was because of how unwell I was throughout year 11 and how many lessons I had to miss to go to CAHMs meetings. Recently i have become interested in applying for Oxford medicine. As I am now recovering, my grades have been all As and A*s and I have no worries for supercirriculars. The only concern is my GCSE grades as many people have said that Oxford looks more into GCSE grades rather than Alevel grades. If I was to apply, would I be able to put down my anorexia as an extenuating circumstance and would they take this into account and view my application as a competitive application?
Also I am aware that Oxford medicine is hard to get into anyways. It's literally 8%. I would like to give it a go as the medicine course looks promising and I like their style of teaching.
I don’t think it would have a big impact on your application considering by your current grades being good it’s clear it was just caused by your extenuating circumstances. I would recommend asking your teacher to put it into extenuating circumstances or to submit extenuating circumstances form and it should be alright then.
Also just to say your grades were still great so if you also had extenuating circumstances alongside, I think it may not impact you negatively at all.
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by Alesha_sk
So in a nutshell I suffered from anorexia throughout all of year 11. I was in recovery around GCSEs but because of my illness I ended up not doing as well as I wanted to in my GCSEs. I got all 8s apart from in Spanish and English lit. I was initially predicted 9s for all of my subjects however did not get any in my actual exams. I understand however that this was because of how unwell I was throughout year 11 and how many lessons I had to miss to go to CAHMs meetings. Recently i have become interested in applying for Oxford medicine. As I am now recovering, my grades have been all As and A*s and I have no worries for supercirriculars. The only concern is my GCSE grades as many people have said that Oxford looks more into GCSE grades rather than Alevel grades. If I was to apply, would I be able to put down my anorexia as an extenuating circumstance and would they take this into account and view my application as a competitive application?
Also I am aware that Oxford medicine is hard to get into anyways. It's literally 8%. I would like to give it a go as the medicine course looks promising and I like their style of teaching.

Hi! Glad to hear you're recovering :smile:

I'm a first year at Oxford studying languages, so a bit far from medicine, but I might still be able to offer some advice.
As other users have commented, you don't lose anything by applying! If you are really interested in the subject then I would say go for it.
For context, I got 7x7s, 2x8s and a 9 in my GCSEs. My highest three were history and physics (8) and a 9 in Spanish. The rest, like English, were 7s. I must mention though that I did sit my GCSEs in a covid year, so semi-real but not real exams. Though I think if anything that is more reason to not let your results put you off applying, as they do consider things like this, as well as your home area's average. I do think you can still add extenuating circumstances to your application if you are concerned.
My highest grade was in my degree subject, so I think that shows a sustained level of capability and interest. If that's the case with your 8s in STEM I think that's good also :smile: My course is literature heavy and I got a 7 in lit (was predicted a 9 though </3) but didn't seem to put them off lol, so for STEM I imagine it wouldn't be make or break.

For my A Levels I got my grades in Spanish and English lit, but dropped down for maths. As this was the year the gov. reverted to pre-covid grade boundaries, I think they heavily considered this across all applicants, as I still ended up here:smile:
I think with Oxford it does definitely vary case by case, so any unconfirmed, sweeping statements made about how admissions works might not be 100% accurate, considering interviews are done by tutors studying/teaching different areas at different colleges etc.
Obviously with medicine being so competitive it can be tricky to rely on exceptional grades to get a place, so I would have a good look into the entrance exams like the UCAT & BMAT if you haven't already, as some unis consider these scores quite heavily.
Don't forget as well that Oxbridge as well as Med/Vet/Dentistry applications usually have an earlier deadline in the October of your second A Level year :smile: So would be good to find out when the entrance exams for those take place!

Hope this helps and lmk if you have any questions I could try to answer
i have a younger brother who has horrible issues (anger, violence etc) and we’ve taken him to a therapist who said he couldn’t be helped and was referred to a psychiatrist as well. he throws tantrums on a daily basis and threatens to attack us with a knife at times. would this count as extenuating circumstances?
Reply 4
Original post by Alesha_sk
So in a nutshell I suffered from anorexia throughout all of year 11. I was in recovery around GCSEs but because of my illness I ended up not doing as well as I wanted to in my GCSEs. I got all 8s apart from in Spanish and English lit. I was initially predicted 9s for all of my subjects however did not get any in my actual exams. I understand however that this was because of how unwell I was throughout year 11 and how many lessons I had to miss to go to CAHMs meetings. Recently i have become interested in applying for Oxford medicine. As I am now recovering, my grades have been all As and A*s and I have no worries for supercirriculars. The only concern is my GCSE grades as many people have said that Oxford looks more into GCSE grades rather than Alevel grades. If I was to apply, would I be able to put down my anorexia as an extenuating circumstance and would they take this into account and view my application as a competitive application?
Also I am aware that Oxford medicine is hard to get into anyways. It's literally 8%. I would like to give it a go as the medicine course looks promising and I like their style of teaching.
I'm not sure if they will continue doing it like this, but in the past Oxford have considered a grade 8 and a grade 9 as falling into the general category of A* and so are interested in the proportion of 8s and 9s (see here https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/medicine/pre-clinical/faqs/what-is-the-gcse-cut-off). No guarantee they won't start treating them as separate but right now this might not be as concerning as you think it is.

However there is no harm in mentioning these extenuating circumstances (and indeed they ask you to https://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/medicine/pre-clinical/faqs/i-performed-badly-at-gcses-am-i-eligible-to-apply though I would not describe your GCSEs as bad!). And remember applications are assessed holistically - GCSEs are just one part, and having excellent predicted grades and a high score in the admissions test, plus your performance at interview, count for a lot too.

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