Are these GCSEs good enough for Oxbridge?

(124 Posts)
lawlawlaw Fri 25-Dec-15 22:08:52

Hello all.
Have been chatting with family over christmas about my daughters future... She want's to study history.
Family think she should apply to Oxbridge (of course they wouldhmm)
Her GCSEs were good but not stellar. She had 6A* and 6A (all in hard subjects thoughgrin)
She goes to an average comp if that gives any help as I've heard they are more leniant with results for state educated pupils.
She is ridiculously passionate about her subject. It's honestly her whole life.

Could any fellow mumsnetters give some advice... Should I help her to apply? Are these results under average for Oxbridge?

Oh and the school have suggested she apply but they aren't very experienced in the fieldshock so I don't want her to set her heart on it if there's no chance.

OP’s posts: |
LuluJakey1 Fri 25-Dec-15 22:10:34

Yes, particularly if the A*s were in History, English, English Literature, French etc.

thelaundryfairy Fri 25-Dec-15 22:13:02

I am a teacher in a secondary school and have been quite involved with UCAS and Oxbridge applications for the past two years. Yes, your daughter´s grades are fine to apply to Oxbridge with. What is more important is her predicted A2 grades (and what she achieves at A2) and her AS grades.

I would encourage her to research university courses widely (especially as you say her school hasn´t much experience), visit open days, or call the admissions´ offices to ask questions so that she knows exactly what each university is offering. She sounds like a great candidate who universities will want to snap up so it´s important she knows what she wants, especially with the eye-watering cost of university these days.

As she hears of exciting university courses, she should feel even more motivated to get on with her A Level studies, seeing clearly that they are the route to what she wants to do in the future. Good luck to her!

thelaundryfairy Fri 25-Dec-15 22:14:03

p.s. I think the rumour that Oxbridge or other universities are more lenient to state comprehensive students is unfounded.

ABetaDad1 Fri 25-Dec-15 22:15:09

There are a lot of myths about Oxbridge.

The first myth is that you have to have at east 10 A* at GCSE. That isn't true. She will no doubt get excellent A levels I suggest coming form a comprehensive she does 7th term when she has already got her Al level results.

The biggest hurdle she will face is not having experienced people to help her prepare for what will be a very stiff application and interview process. Oxbridge will take account of her comprehensive school education. They know that private school are excellently prepared. My wife was in exactly this position. I was the self assured well prepared public school 7th term applicant.

We both got in.

rosebiggs Fri 25-Dec-15 22:18:56

What is 7th term?

GloriaHotcakes Fri 25-Dec-15 22:24:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.


IrenetheQuaint Fri 25-Dec-15 22:34:47

She should go to lots of university open days and read up on all the different courses and see what really appeals to her. Oxbridge suits some people really well and others not at all so don't get hung up on it (her or you) but do encourage her to apply if she likes the course and feel of Oxford or Cambridge.

ABetaDad1 Fri 25-Dec-15 22:46:07

roseabiggs - applications can be made before the student has doen their A levels (4th terms) or after they have teir results (7th terms).

The 4th and 7th term refers to the term in which they do their Oxbridge exams/tests and interview.

Seventh term refers to the fact that the applicant effectively goes back to school for an extra term to do their Oxbridge exam.

rosebiggs Fri 25-Dec-15 22:48:33

Thanks abetadad - When do they go back to school if they apply after their A levels?

ABetaDad1 Fri 25-Dec-15 23:01:25

roseabbiggs - They do their normal six terms of Al level and then get their results then get support from school in the 'seventh term' while the applicant completes the tests. interview process, etc

Some people argue candidates should always try 4th term and hope to get a conditional offer but I think 7th term work better for some candidates as they come across more mature at interview which can hep a candidate who does not get great support from school.

rosebiggs Fri 25-Dec-15 23:26:15

Thanks abetadad.

Kez100 Sat 26-Dec-15 03:28:21

I can understand this in theory but how does going back to a school without oxbridge experience for a 7th term help?
And will it even be possible in the state sector now with poor sixth form funding?

ReallyTired Sat 26-Dec-15 03:46:51

A state school applicant would not be able to stay at school for a seventh term as there would be no funding. There isn't even funding for state school kids to a level resits yet alone for a bright child to be prepared for Oxbridge.

Decorhate Sat 26-Dec-15 08:01:30

Yes I have never heard of the 7th term thing at state schools.

If she is interested let her find out more (try to get a place on the Uniq summer school - she'll need to apply soon) and if she likes it it's only one of her 5 choices so she's not losing anything by applying.

Her GCSE grades should be fine, & they will also go by how she does in the assessment test.

LineyReborn Sat 26-Dec-15 08:08:47

There is no '7th term' available in the state sector in my local authority area (sixth form colleges).

Eastpoint Sat 26-Dec-15 08:09:02

Applying after you have got your A2 results is still possible but no one seems to call it 7th term anymore. Oxford pre-tests for more subjects. Can she go & talk to the university application people at school/college & ask them what they recommend she does this term now the current yr13 have sorted themselves out? Might be best to wait until after 15 January, the deadline for applications for Sept 2016 places.

SheGotAllDaMoves Sat 26-Dec-15 08:17:17

Will she sit any AS this Summer?

PinkFondantFancy Sat 26-Dec-15 08:28:52

I would think the GCSEs results are fine if the A*s are in the relevant subjects. Oxford and Cambridge are more different than you might think, and each college is different again so I'd encourage her to go to as many open days, department visits etc. as she can. I know Oxford does entrance exams, I'm not sure Cambridge does so much.

senua Sat 26-Dec-15 08:36:59

It's not a case of 4th term or 7th term. I'd recommend 4th and then 7th, if she needs to.

Has she defined what sort of History she wants? It means different things to different Universities. Some do ancient history. And some do history that is so modern that it is almost politics.

purpledasies Sat 26-Dec-15 08:37:52

Wasn't 7th term exams phased out about 25 years ago? Oxford do their own exams in December of upper sixth these days (pre interview), and AFAIK Cambridge only do entrance exams for maths and they're done alongside a levels.

OP - did you post this same question a month or two back? If not, there was a really similar thread which you might want to have a look for. Same GCSE grades as your DD if I recall correctly.

Yes those grades are definitely good enough to apply if that's what she wants to do.

Molio Sat 26-Dec-15 10:23:44

Those results are completely fine for Oxford OP regardless of which subject they're in. History marking can be fickle so it doesn't even make a difference if she has an A* in that subject or not. But the crucial thing, since Oxford does pre-tests and interviews, is whether she can show a real aptitude for the subject in both of those. If she doesn't do well in the History Aptitude Test then she won't even get an interview and the test doesn't really measure 'passion' so the fact that history is 'her whole life' is pretty irrelevant to that. No doubt it would be useful in an interview though, unless she's landed with a source paper and no questions which are more general to demonstrate her enthusiasm. Anyhow, the results are fine as a starting point for an application. If she's at a school taking AS then Cambridge will look more closely at the AS results, not the GCSEs.

Eastpoint Sat 26-Dec-15 10:43:03

The aptitude tests this year were the week after half term, interviews in December after the students had come down (8th Dec onwards). If she wants to do law she'll have to do the Law National Aptitude Test, 2nd week after half term this year. Have a look at the outreach courses, there are lots & as your daughter is at a comprehensive they should be available to her, there's a lot of info out there, teens need to be proactive.

Bumpsadaisie Sat 26-Dec-15 10:53:58

Beta Dad - there hasn't been a 7th term entrance exam for ages. It had gone by the time I went and that was 20 yrs ago.

Nowadays you apply in your upper sixth year (yr13) or of course you can apply post a level results too.

Elmersnewfriend Sat 26-Dec-15 10:59:35

Have you talked to your daughter's school? It may come as a shock to some out there, but state schools do exist where they are very capable (and keen) to prepare their students for the Oxbridge application and interview process.

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