The Student Room Group

average gcse grades for law at uni

hi, im in year 12 currently and im really worried about my gcse grades for entering a competitive law course in my desired unis.

my gcse grades are:
8765554 and a 7-6 in combined science

my a level grades are hopefully predicted to be aaa or a*aa

i want to study at york, ucl, queen marys, bristol and royal holloway

i am thinking of doing core maths in year 13 to hopefully boost my grade up. i am also thinking of resitting english lit and maths gcse as thats where i got 5s.

i also do piano grade 6, going to do grade 8 in the winter term of 2024 or spring term 2025.

do i have a fighting chance of getting in or am i js doomed and cant get into a russell group uni? my dream uni is ucl :frown:(

Scroll to see replies

Original post by hufflynn
hi, im in year 12 currently and im really worried about my gcse grades for entering a competitive law course in my desired unis.
my gcse grades are:
8765554 and a 7-6 in combined science
my a level grades are hopefully predicted to be aaa or a*aa
i want to study at york, ucl, queen marys, bristol and royal holloway
i am thinking of doing core maths in year 13 to hopefully boost my grade up. i am also thinking of resitting english lit and maths gcse as thats where i got 5s.
i also do piano grade 6, going to do grade 8 in the winter term of 2024 or spring term 2025.
do i have a fighting chance of getting in or am i js doomed and cant get into a russell group uni? my dream uni is ucl :frown:(
Hi there

It is great that you are looking at University options. Your GCSE and A levels are good! 🙂 So definitely have good prospects of getting into a good University.

Regarding Core maths and resitting English and Mathematics- make sure you are still able to achieve high grades for your A levels - I think Universities weigh A levels more than GCSEs. (For the GCSE grades, you may like to research different University entry requirements - whether they accept a 5 or not, to help you make your decision).

Regarding core maths, if you are already taking 3 A levels, you may not need to take core maths (however, it would depend on each Universities' requirements-- most do not specify the A levels which students need to achieve). I took core maths during A levels and found it to be a massive step up from GCSEs, you may like to get second opinions from any friends that have taken Core maths. 🙂

Instead of taking extra subjects, another aspect which may boost your applications would be an EPQ, work experience, or other hobbies/ extra-curriculars that demonstrate yourself as an all rounder/ or which demonstrate a keen interest in studying law.

I hope this helps.
Chloe
University of Kent Student Rep
Original post by hufflynn
hi, im in year 12 currently and im really worried about my gcse grades for entering a competitive law course in my desired unis.
my gcse grades are:
8765554 and a 7-6 in combined science
my a level grades are hopefully predicted to be aaa or a*aa
i want to study at york, ucl, queen marys, bristol and royal holloway
i am thinking of doing core maths in year 13 to hopefully boost my grade up. i am also thinking of resitting english lit and maths gcse as thats where i got 5s.
i also do piano grade 6, going to do grade 8 in the winter term of 2024 or spring term 2025.
do i have a fighting chance of getting in or am i js doomed and cant get into a russell group uni? my dream uni is ucl :frown:(

as long as you resit english and maths and get a 6, you should totally have a chance! despite gcses being taken into consideration, they aren't that heavily considered as long as you meet the requirements. for universities that consider the lnat like bristol and ucl, i'd say really focus on that as long as your a level predictions meet the requirements. for ucl you should be aiming to get a lnat score of at least around 28, so don't neglect that. good luck!
Reply 3
Original post by eliaaaaa
as long as you resit english and maths and get a 6, you should totally have a chance! despite gcses being taken into consideration, they aren't that heavily considered as long as you meet the requirements. for universities that consider the lnat like bristol and ucl, i'd say really focus on that as long as your a level predictions meet the requirements. for ucl you should be aiming to get a lnat score of at least around 28, so don't neglect that. good luck!


would i still have to resit as i get a contextual offer of grade 5 for gcses?
Original post by hufflynn
would i still have to resit as i get a contextual offer of grade 5 for gcses?

I'd suggest you do just to be safe, contextual applies more to a level grades and getting a reduced offer. They only accept lower gcses in some circumstances and rather than all contextual applications
Bristol scores applications for Law as - 20% GCSE / 40% LNAT / 40% A levels - and they only look at your top 5 GCSEs. So your GCSEs are actually a tiny part of this, and you really need to focus on LNAT and A levels.

So forget taking Core Maths - it wont any difference to your application - it would be a total waste of time and you could mess up your main A level grades as a result. And btw, no-one will care that you play the piano.
Reply 6
Original post by McGinger
Bristol scores applications for Law as - 20% GCSE / 40% LNAT / 40% A levels - and they only look at your top 5 GCSEs. So your GCSEs are actually a tiny part of this, and you really need to focus on LNAT and A levels.
So forget taking Core Maths - it wont any difference to your application - it would be a total waste of time and you could mess up your main A level grades as a result. And btw, no-one will care that you play the piano.


doesnt hurt to try, plus piano is my passion, idc if ppl dont care that i play piano. if my diploma level piano can get me lots of ucas points as well as be a talent and a money maker on the side i can do on a daily basis, why not?
Original post by hufflynn
doesnt hurt to try, plus piano is my passion, idc if ppl dont care that i play piano. if my diploma level piano can get me lots of ucas points as well as be a talent and a money maker on the side i can do on a daily basis, why not?

For Universities like Bristol who make offers in grades, not points, anything like music certificates will just be ignored.
Reply 8
Original post by McGinger
For Universities like Bristol who make offers in grades, not points, anything like music certificates will just be ignored.


really? wow thats unfairr
Original post by hufflynn
really? wow thats unfairr

No it isnt.
Your ability or otherwise, at the piano will not make you a better Law student.
And as its likely a reflection of parental income or type of school, it would be grossly inequitable to give this any credit.

And btw, although music etc exams may be 'worth' UCAS points, the majority of the Unis that use UCAS points in their offers will usually only recognise music exams etc for relevant performing arts courses.
Original post by hufflynn
doesnt hurt to try, plus piano is my passion, idc if ppl dont care that i play piano. if my diploma level piano can get me lots of ucas points as well as be a talent and a money maker on the side i can do on a daily basis, why not?

of course people will care that you play the piano, if you mention it in your personal statement and what skills you get from it (apply them to a law degree), it will help your personal statement to stand out and it'll show that there's more to your person. it can also get you a music scholarship which will be very helpful.
Original post by eliaaaaa
of course people will care that you play the piano, if you mention it in your personal statement and what skills you get from it (apply them to a law degree), it will help your personal statement to stand out and it'll show that there's more to your person. it can also get you a music scholarship which will be very helpful.

It will NOT make a Law PS stand-out - its a demanding academic degree course, not a middle-class vanity contest. You can list what you like under 'qualifications' but wasting valuable PS space of this sort of stuff really is a total waste of time, and only marks you out to Admissions staff as not actually having a clue what a Law degree involves.
Reply 12
Original post by University of Kent
Hi there
It is great that you are looking at University options. Your GCSE and A levels are good! 🙂 So definitely have good prospects of getting into a good University.
Regarding Core maths and resitting English and Mathematics- make sure you are still able to achieve high grades for your A levels - I think Universities weigh A levels more than GCSEs. (For the GCSE grades, you may like to research different University entry requirements - whether they accept a 5 or not, to help you make your decision).
Regarding core maths, if you are already taking 3 A levels, you may not need to take core maths (however, it would depend on each Universities' requirements-- most do not specify the A levels which students need to achieve). I took core maths during A levels and found it to be a massive step up from GCSEs, you may like to get second opinions from any friends that have taken Core maths. 🙂
Instead of taking extra subjects, another aspect which may boost your applications would be an EPQ, work experience, or other hobbies/ extra-curriculars that demonstrate yourself as an all rounder/ or which demonstrate a keen interest in studying law.
I hope this helps.
Chloe
University of Kent Student Rep
Hi Chloe, I’m about to join year 12 in September and was thinking of doing environmental law. I’ve decided on English geography and idk what other subjects to pick. I would choose economics/business and core maths but I’m not sure if they are good options.

I want to do plumbing too but rn my aim is on law .
Also what English should I pick
Original post by McGinger
It will NOT make a Law PS stand-out - its a demanding academic degree course, not a middle-class vanity contest. You can list what you like under 'qualifications' but wasting valuable PS space of this sort of stuff really is a total waste of time, and only marks you out to Admissions staff as not actually having a clue what a Law degree involves.

Yes it does. Universities and even law firms do not want to accept bog-standard law geeks who cannot do anything else but blab about law. They are looking for transferrable skills and extra-curricular experiences outside of academia to show that the applicant has a variety of skills. As you may or may not have noticed, I said to apply them (piano skills) to law, showing how they would be useful within the study of law making them very much relevant. Nowhere did I say make your whole PS about it as it should be mainly academic, simply reference it. And compared to a whole cohort of applicants who base their personal statement around the same recurring 4 books or themes, it will make the PS stand out. I do not know when you applied to law school, where you applied to law school or even if you did, but it is 2024, the application process has changed and writing a few words in bold letters will not make your statements valid.
Original post by eliaaaaa
Yes it does. Universities and even law firms do not want to accept bog-standard law geeks who cannot do anything else but blab about law. They are looking for transferrable skills and extra-curricular experiences outside of academia to show that the applicant has a variety of skills. As you may or may not have noticed, I said to apply them (piano skills) to law, showing how they would be useful within the study of law making them very much relevant. Nowhere did I say make your whole PS about it as it should be mainly academic, simply reference it. And compared to a whole cohort of applicants who base their personal statement around the same recurring 4 books or themes, it will make the PS stand out. I do not know when you applied to law school, where you applied to law school or even if you did, but it is 2024, the application process has changed and writing a few words in bold letters will not make your statements valid.

Playing the piano is wonderful, and I hope that the OP never stops playing the piano, but nobody gets into a good law school or gets a legal job because they can play the piano. There are no transferable skills between pianism and lawyering, save perhaps willingness to work hard on a project.

McGinger makes the valid point that passing Grade 8 piano may reflect socio-economic advantage. It is wonderful that some families and some schools can enable music and other arts to flourish. In a fairer society all children would have the same artistic opportunities. But society is not fair. If law firms recruit on the basis of middle class accomplishments, the unfairness is perpetuated.

Do I prefer my colleague in chambers to love Shakespeare and Chopin as much as they love charterparties and counterclaims? Yes, and luckily for me they do, but when we interview for pupillage we don't test people on their knowledge of Ovid.
Original post by Gpowr
Hi Chloe, I’m about to join year 12 in September and was thinking of doing environmental law. I’ve decided on English geography and idk what other subjects to pick. I would choose economics/business and core maths but I’m not sure if they are good options.
I want to do plumbing too but rn my aim is on law .
Also what English should I pick

A lawyer-plumber would be cool! "I'll fix your taps, and re-draft your articles of association!" NB, a plumber can make more money than a junior criminal defence lawyer.

English Literature seems the obvious choice. Economics is a better choice than business, which may be seen as a soft option by some universities.
(edited 2 weeks ago)
Original post by Stiffy Byng
Playing the piano is wonderful, and I hope that the OP never stops playing the piano, but nobody gets into a good law school or gets a legal job because they can play the piano. There are no transferable skills between pianism and lawyering, save perhaps willingness to work hard on a project.
McGinger makes the valid point that passing Grade 8 piano may reflect socio-economic advantage. It is wonderful that some families and some schools can enable music and other arts to flourish. In a fairer society all children would have the same artistic opportunities. But society is not fair. If law firms recruit on the basis of middle class accomplishments, the unfairness is perpetuated.
Do I prefer my colleague in chambers to love Shakespeare and Chopin as much as they love charterparties and counterclaims? Yes, and luckily for me they do, but when we interview for pupillage we don't test people on their knowledge of Ovid.

Well I apologise about that, I'm quite unfamiliar with the bar application process. I was moreso addressing student and graduate schemes at law firms, with initial applications often asking about your skills and positions of power held. Showing transferable skills eg. resilience displayed by several years of piano showcases some of that. These interests are also a great way to join a society and be eventually elected to an executive role. A scheme at a silver circle firm that I applied to specifically asked about non academic interests and skills and how they'd help me in law. So it's definitely useful initially.
Playing the piano and such like, although beneficial in general, won't land an otherwise insufficiently qualified person a place at a competitive law school or a job at a law firm. Oxford and Cambridge for example, pay no attention to the extra curricular activities of applicants. The academic stuff has to come first.

When my chambers assesses a candidate for pupillage and tenancy we of course hope that the candidate will be a rounded person, but we are mainly interested in their potential to do well as a barrister.
Original post by Stiffy Byng
Playing the piano and such like, although beneficial in general, won't land an otherwise insufficiently qualified person a place at a competitive law school or a job at a law firm. Oxford and Cambridge for example, pay no attention to the extra curricular activities of applicants. The academic stuff has to come first.
When my chambers assesses a candidate for pupillage and tenancy we of course hope that the candidate will be a rounded person, but we are mainly interested in their potential to do well as a barrister.

As I mentioned previously, not as the main point, I believe that is obvious. I've mentioned it's a good extra to the application.
Original post by eliaaaaa
As I mentioned previously, not as the main point, I believe that is obvious. I've mentioned it's a good extra to the application.

Perhaps at some universities, but not at the most competitive ones.

I have been involved in hiring people at law firms and in recruiting people to chambers, for years. I've also applied for jobs. Things like musical interests form no part of the decision making process.

Quick Reply