Oxbridge minimum 8 A* GCSE results ???

(103 Posts)
rhubarbmum Thu 21-Aug-14 11:01:22

Is it true that Oxbridge require a minimum 8 A* GCSE results for applications? I know a very disappointed 16 yr old who thinks he hasn't got high enough GCSE grades - he got 7 A*s and 3 As. Please advise. I looked on their website and it looks like they base their offers on A level (and AS level) alone.

titchy Thu 21-Aug-14 11:04:49

It's not true. They tend to place more emphasis on gcses than Cambridge and a large percentage of applicants will have straight A stars, but they're in with a good chance as long as they're predicted a star at a level and have a good ps.

rhubarbmum Thu 21-Aug-14 11:09:25

Thank you for a quick reply

LadySybilLikesCake Thu 21-Aug-14 11:11:15

They are great results, rhubarbmum! You must be really proud smile

happygardening Thu 21-Aug-14 11:20:58

We've been told very recently by my DS's school which send about 33% a year to Oxbridge that you have to have 6A*'s at (I)GCSE this also applies to some London universities. But I think they implied that the main reason is that they only do pre U's so no AS levels to use a guide to potential performance at the end of yr 13.
Good lick to your DS.

empathetic Thu 21-Aug-14 11:25:27

Oxford puts a lot of store by GCSE grades, Cambridge by AS grades. Play to your strengths and have your DS apply to Cambridge if he gets over 95% average for AS levels, otherwise give Oxford a shot

VegasIsBest Thu 21-Aug-14 11:28:51

The type of school your son attended and the subject he is aiming to study will both affect Oxford's expectations re GCSES results. Does his school send many kids to university and Oxford in particular each year?

LadySybilLikesCake Thu 21-Aug-14 11:31:42

Ds wants to go to Oxford and sits his GCSE's next year. He's currently predicted 6A*'s and 4A/B's (iGCSE's) but he's not really been very studious and has a pretty laid back approach. He said he's going to work hard this year might hide this thread incase he see's it and goes back on this grin.

Boleh Thu 21-Aug-14 11:37:53

I went to Cambridge with 6A* and 4A but that was in the days of A-levels (no AS) if that makes a difference. I was thrilled with my GCSE results - it's rather sad that he could be disappointed with such amazing grades!

empathetic Thu 21-Aug-14 13:27:17

To be more explicit, Oxford look at the best 9 GCSE's and it's difficult to get in if you have fewer than 8 of them A*. Cambridge take almost no notice of GCSE results (ranking A grades and A* grades similarly - I have the formula they use somewhere) but put great store by AS percentages. For example, absent exceptional circumstances, you need average 97% for medicine and about 95% for law. Lower for less popular subjects eg MFL.

When I went to Cambridge, we took an exam to get in. No relevance now!

TheWordFactory Thu 21-Aug-14 13:35:24

Oxford place a good deal of importance on GCSEs and aptitude tests.Most applicants are not offered an interview. The majority of those interviewed will have excellent GCSEs.

Cambridge are less bothered about GCSEs and will interview a lot of applicants with less than perfect GCSE grades. Offers will go out to those who interview well and have fabulous AS level grades. Their offers tend to be higher, including quite a lot of A* offers.

Slipshodsibyl Thu 21-Aug-14 13:45:12

Quite a few Oxford students have fewer than 8 A*. I know an Economics and Management (the most over subscribed subject) student at a very competitive College, always in the to handf of the Norrington with 1 or 2A*. He is from a comprehensive.
My children's school, which is a well known, selective independent has had no one accepted with fewer than 6 A* for the past several years. Mostly they have 8 and above. It depends on quite a few factors so be realistic but don't be put off.

Slipshodsibyl Thu 21-Aug-14 13:46:06

The top few of the Norrington Table that should read.

Luckytwo Thu 21-Aug-14 13:59:03

My son has delusions of Oxbridge, and in addition to the 3 A*s he got last year, he has today got 6A*s and 4As. He does attend a comprehensive school which is a bit better than average.
Should he try for it , or should I advise not to ?

Beastofburden Thu 21-Aug-14 14:02:23

The most important thing is what A level subjects they choose. Make sure they pick the subjects that oxford or Cambridge advise on their websites for the specific degree they want to do. Aim for straight A* in three or four good subjects. And don't obsess about GCSE grades, these all sound fine.

Luckytwo Thu 21-Aug-14 14:04:31

Thank you, and well done to mini Rhubarb, these are great results.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Thu 21-Aug-14 14:28:51

DS has just been to an Oxford open day plus and was advised that less than stellar gcses were not necessarily a dealbreaker. His results today are 7 a* and 5 a and the head of sixth form said to me so far so good.

Clavinova Thu 21-Aug-14 15:04:11

There's still hope. Take a look at the Sixth Form Prospectus for the Judd School in Tonbridge (boys' grammar school - 19 to Oxbridge last year). They have a small but useful section on applying to Oxbridge and won't support any applications with less than 6 A*s.

LadySybilLikesCake Thu 21-Aug-14 15:12:51

Does anyone know if it's different applying if you're a disabled student? I doubt ds can pack his personal statement with things that he's done sad

Molio Thu 21-Aug-14 15:22:22

Which subject OP? And by Oxbridge does he really mean Oxford or Cambridge or not bothered which? At Oxford different subjects use different criteria. A*s are one measure but lack of them can be countered by an excellent aptitude test. Things change all the time, so be sure to keep up to date if you can. If he wants to do Medicine at Oxford he might struggle to get an interview with those grades if he went to a reasonable/ good school - he'd be at the lower end anyhow. But then Medicine is odd.

I find that a bit narrow of Judd Clavinova. Some students are great at their niche subject but are not all rounders; some only come into their own in Sixth Form. I don't think Oxford or Cambridge are quite that blinkered, which is one reason for aptitude tests to test potential at Oxford and reliance on ASs at Cambridge and of course interviews at both.

virelai Thu 21-Aug-14 15:23:05

It's interesting to see the sort of information which is given out about Oxbridge admissions by schools and parents. It doesn't always match my experience as a tutor at Oxford in English Literature.

Empathetic is exactly right: "The type of school your son attended and the subject he is aiming to study will both affect Oxford's expectations re GCSES results." We are given some contextual statistical data about the school which allows GCSE results to be put into context. We are also conscious that there are some late developers who will not have a perfect profile at GCSE but are on a trajectory towards greater things. The grammar school information about 6 or 8 A*s may be right for that school, but not for all schools and circumstances.

For my subject, the decision as regards who to interview comes down to a combination of factors: GCSE results, AS grades, predicted A levels, school ref, personal statement, written work sent in (this is important) and aptitude test (also important). Each Faculty website should have some information about the criteria they use for each subject. You can see that for English GCSE results would only be one part of the decision.

I realise it is asking a lot for applicants to put down Oxbridge as one of their places if they don't stand a realistic chance, but my experience is that often assumptions are made about our requirements which are not accurate. We are looking not only for achievement but for potential later down the line. GCSEs are a predictor of later achievement in many cases, but not exclusively, and we are really looking to see how people do at interview (which offers a brief 'model' of a tutorial).

I hope this helps - careful research on each subject website, and asking tutors at Open Days, will I hope provide the most accurate info.

Molio Thu 21-Aug-14 15:23:57

LadySybil yes it's different.

LadySybilLikesCake Thu 21-Aug-14 15:25:52

Thank you, Molio. I'll start a thread asking about it at some point, I don't want to hijack this one smile

queenofthemountain Thu 21-Aug-14 16:30:12

I would imagine a lot of weight is attached to aptitude tests because it is the university's chance to test for exactly the skills they are looking for.

TheWordFactory Thu 21-Aug-14 16:43:30

queen I think the aptitude tests have proved themselves . I also think they will become ever more widespreAd when we lose as levels.

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