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how many GCSEs? How does doing 8 (rather than 9, 10, 11 etc) affect UCAS entry?

(39 Posts)
Majorca Sun 18-Apr-10 21:13:29

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Piffle Sun 18-Apr-10 21:22:41

Hi
my son is at a grammar ( Lincolnshire not south east) and yr11 he will have done a total of 13 ( 2 are half course RE and IT) and one a twilight course Mandarin Chinese
my son is extremely able and most boys at his school do 8-10 on average
I think whatever ensures the highest marks though is better

Piffle Sun 18-Apr-10 21:23:50

Oh and he is aiming for Imperial/ Cambridge

sockadoodledo Sun 18-Apr-10 21:32:19

8 seems a bit low maybe, though a lot of them are often filler ones.
my kids did 9 decent gcses(4 options, 2 science, 2 english, maths) then the RE, citizenships, gen studies blah blah
If you're doing triple science then that only leaves 3 other subjects which doesnt seem many. Bright kids can def cope with more I'd say.

BUT as long as she gets her good grades in maths and english then thats all unis normally insist on.
Of course, the more competitive unis will expect a string of A*s but if all her subjects are proper ones and she does well I don't think it would be a big deal.

I'm no oxbridge mum though so god knows if thats right.

Majorca Sun 18-Apr-10 21:32:44

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southeastastra Sun 18-Apr-10 21:35:13

i would hope universities take more into consideration than how many gcses a kid takes.

er a levels surely count for summat. and what sort of school they attend

Majorca Sun 18-Apr-10 21:40:06

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MagicMountain Sun 18-Apr-10 21:41:23

I work in admissions (Russell Group) and only look at the GCSEs when the later qualifications are non-standard (studies disrupted for whatever reason, for example). I wouldn't be looking at the quantity, either, but the spread and to be sure the maths/English passes are in order. Hope that helps.

webwiz Sun 18-Apr-10 21:45:24

I think 10 seems a good number (a nice round figure!) both DD's have 10 full GCSEs and a short course one in ICT. DD1 is in her first year at university and she didn't have any problem getting offers. DD2 is in year 12 and she is aiming for Oxford/Durham/Bristol the fact that she has 10 good GCSEs will hopefully get her over the first hurdle.

I think universities like to seem a reasonable number of GCSEs taken in one go to show that kids can cope with the workload.

Ponders Sun 18-Apr-10 21:45:41

My kids went to selective grammar & 10 was the minimum.

I suppose 8/8 A* might look better than eg 5/10 A* + 5/10 A/B (or whatever) but there's no indication in a student only doing 8 of how well they can cope with academic pressure.

Majorca Sun 18-Apr-10 21:53:52

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MagicMountain Sun 18-Apr-10 22:16:41

I'm in an arts subject, Majorca, so that's what I'd look at and I imagine it would be similar for sciences etc. I don't look for a foreign language. The A levels are the main thing ...tbh with so many applications to process there is just not the time to um and aah about GCSEs (how many, what subjects).

snorkie Mon 19-Apr-10 00:14:02

10 is the norm here. Does she know what she might want to study later? If it's something uber-competitive like medicine or law, then maybe universities might wonder why she did just 8, particularly if 9 or 10 is normal at her school. However, if the reason she wants a reduced load is because she's doing something else that's very time consuming like top level sport or somesuch, then I suspect universities would expect a reduced number and adjust any expectations accordingly.

Majorca Mon 19-Apr-10 08:41:33

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snorkie Mon 19-Apr-10 12:38:26

I know Durham & Cambridge, maybe some others do 'score' GCSE results for applicants & also sometimes adjust the score according to the school results where they were taken.

Their scoring systems are not capped but you only get points for As and A*s, so 10As would score higher than 8As, but 8As and 2Bs would be no higher than 8As. So taking more subjects might or might not increase your score (& could decrease it possibly as well). Info on Cambridge admissions here (Assessment of GCSE scores is about 2/3 of the way down).

But unless you know how these scores are used in making offers relative to other info, as well as whether you dd is likely to score higher, lower or the same if she takes more subjects that doesn't really help.

snorkie Mon 19-Apr-10 12:40:48

LSE are reputed to make a lot of use GCSE results to filter applicants by the way, and they also insist on a foreign language unless you attended a school that doesn't offer them (in which case you have to study one when you are there).

snorkie Mon 19-Apr-10 13:01:07

from Durham website...

"This (contextualised GCSE score) is only one of a number of items of information used when assessing merit and potential and is only likely to be considered by departments where GCSE achievement is required to differentiate between applicants. Typically these are departments that receive many more very high quality applications than places available. The following departments have used this information in making admissions decisions in the 2008/9 admissions cycle: Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Combined Honours, Economics, Education Studies, Engineering, English Studies, Geography, History, Law, Modern Languages, Natural Sciences, Physics, PPE, Sport and Theology."

sarah293 Mon 19-Apr-10 13:04:42

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stickylittlefingers Mon 19-Apr-10 13:25:57

If you are looking at a prestigious university in a reasonably competitive subject, there will be lots of (often independent school, but not always) candidates with "perfect" 9, 10, 11+ A*s at GCSE. If you turn up with 8 A*s, you are going to have to convince the admissions tutor that this is worthy to compete with these other people. Admissions tutors can only deal with what's in front of them.

Quite a few of the university websites set out, in general and for specific subject areas, what the requirements would be.

lazymumofteenagesons Mon 19-Apr-10 13:49:54

DS1 has 10 GCSEs one of which is art. he has been offered places on 2 of the degree courses at Durham (Anthropolgy and Combined Honours) mentioned in Snorkie's post. 8 maybe short by 1 just in case they want 8As, it doesn't give you any leeway. I do feel that 12 or 13 is completely unnecessary. However, the 8 should be traditional academic subjects (music included).

Majorca Mon 19-Apr-10 14:06:34

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Majorca Mon 19-Apr-10 14:13:48

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snorkie Mon 19-Apr-10 14:22:06

Snorkie when you say taking more than 8 could decrease the overall score do you mean that some univs deduct marks for grades less than a certain level?

No, no, not at all. But if you do more subjects you might spend less time on your other subjects and so achieve lower grades in them than if you had taken fewer iyswim.

So, for example, a child taking 8 subjects might get 8As, whereas if they had taken 10 subjects, the same child might have achieved 7As and 3Bs which would score lower on a system that only counts As and A*s.

Majorca Mon 19-Apr-10 14:31:40

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EpsonPrinter Mon 19-Apr-10 14:37:29

I don't think it is the quantity of the GCSE's that counts. Surely it is the quality of them. Good maths and English and Science/s possibly a language should see you through.

Once A levels have been done then it is those which count more towards university. I am sure you can get a place at a good uni with 5 good gcses and 3 good a levels.

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