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Are these grades good enough??????????

(16 Posts)
strictlovingmum Sun 28-Aug-11 15:41:07

Pleased with over all DS's grades, he got what he expected, and did secure place at preferred sixth form, he had chosen his subjects for a Levels:
Further Maths
Chemistry
Physics
Economics
All of these subjects are GCSE A or A*, So pleased with that, problem is DS also had four B's in his "not" key subjects, my question is, Has he blown the chance to apply to Cambridge, Imperial London, or can he still salvage this?
How important are these B's are going to be, if and only if he gets A*AAA or AAAA at the A levels?
Should he retakes his B's?
His plan his for the degree either in Quantum Physics, or Pure mathematics, Statistics for purpose of Economics, thanks.confused

webwiz Sun 28-Aug-11 16:34:47

It depends on how well he does in his AS levels - if he has stunning module results then the B's at GCSE become less important. Maths and Physics departments are aware that some students aren't as good in essay writing subjects as they are at mathematical ones.

The individual universities usually give a lot of information on their websites about entry requirements eg Maths at Imperial asks for at least 5 A/A* at GCSE and then A* in Maths, A* in Further Maths and A in a third A level. He won't know whether those sorts of grades are feasible till he's actually started his A levels. Cambridge will be as eye wateringly high with STEP thrown in as well.

I wouldn't have thought there was any point resitting GCSEs as the originals have been cashed in and will be listed on the UCAS form as well as the retakes.

noblegiraffe Sun 28-Aug-11 22:13:06

Presumably he is taking maths as well as further maths?

strictlovingmum Sun 28-Aug-11 22:15:07

Yes, noblegiraffe.

roentgenium Sun 28-Aug-11 22:49:55

For maths degrees admissions bods even at Cambridge/Imperial type places generally care mainly about maths results and aren't so bothered about non-key GCSE results. Super whizzy maths bods don't always do brilliantly at other subjects and they recognise this - all maths results need to be top notch though - he should be aiming for A* A* for maths + f.maths for Cambridge or Imperial and would need to do STEP (even harder) for Cambridge as well.

For economics at say Cambridge, candidates do tend to have quite strong GCSE results all round, so that might be a longer shot and A level results would need to be really stellar to compensate.

Physics, not sure, but suspect that if maths and physics results are good he'd still have a chance.

I think he'd be better advised to focus on getting really good AS results than to resit non key GCSEs.

strictlovingmum Sun 28-Aug-11 23:29:29

Thank you all for replying, as I suspected, his salvation will be probably in his very strong maths, physics, chemistry and statistics.
He is keen to try Imperial and Cambridge, so we are glad it's still on the table so to speak, he is a very talented mathematician and science comes naturally to him (top mark in his year for maths and physics) so hopefully he will be able to pursue his dream still.
We had a look today at Imperial college website, and it's gives very clear grade requirements at GCSE and A level (A*AAB and A*AAA), one more question to you in the knowledge on the subject , What is STEP?blush

Talker2010 Sun 28-Aug-11 23:31:26

Sixth Term Examination Papers
They are the extra exam that Cambridge Mathematicians sit

roentgenium Sun 28-Aug-11 23:43:41

strictlovingmum, it's definitely A* A* A for Imperial maths, from their website here ...

"For Mathematics degrees except GG14 and GG41 (joint Mathematics and Computer Science) the normal minimum entry requirement is A* in A-level Mathematics, A* in Further Mathematics, and A in one other A-level."

They are also known for making offers that stipulate no maths modules may be resat (ie: grades have to be achieved at the first attempt).

I only know this as my ds is a year ahead of yours, doing the same subjects and also wanting to study maths at university.

strictlovingmum Sun 28-Aug-11 23:44:18

Thanks * Talker2010*, When is he suppose sit STEP?

roentgenium Sun 28-Aug-11 23:47:33

STEP is sat in June at the end of the final set of A level exams. There are 3 papers, Cambridge normally require the harder two, Bath, Warwick require one either the easiest or any of the others if you prefer! They are all harder than Alevels and trip quite a few people up.

unitarian Mon 29-Aug-11 00:26:46

DD's at Imperial (not Maths). She thinks it's absolute heaven. Nerd Nirvana.

The decision is more likely to depend on his A/S level results and his predicted grades. They do take GCSEs into account at the initial weeding stage but most likely on some sort of points system but 4 Bs aren't going to bring his score down all that much.
They do like 'roundedness' and lay on 'meet the author' sessions in the hope that the geeks get to read some fiction! It is also a very musical place. Your DS might try to address 'roundedness' in his PS.
In other words, they like candidates who are, above all, brilliant at what they choose to study but also have other interests, such as sport.

Take a look at The Student Room. There are bound to be threads there on getting into Imperial or Cambridge.

unitarian Mon 29-Aug-11 13:55:52

A quick look at TSR brought up www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?p=33722493&highlight=imperial

This should give you a starting point even though it's not precisely the thread you want. TSR is strangely addictive!

Some people say the Personal Statement isn't important but then why have it at all?
Frankly, for Cambridge and Imperial he is going to be up against candidates with straight A's at GCSE but his best course of action is to work like hell for excellent A/S and A-levels and maximise his chances by presenting a first-class PS.

strictlovingmum Mon 29-Aug-11 14:09:51

Thanks unitarian I hope he is planing at working his socks off for his A levels, he needs to work hard and maintain his achieved grades at maths, Further maths, physics, chemistry and economics, as for his personal statement I think he will do well, he plays two musical instruments, he's sporty and generally has a lot going for him, articulate and very good looking, of course I am biasblush.
He is also bilingual and most importantly very self assured, best thing for him to do is to really puts effort into his studies and produce the best that he can.
His mind is set on Imperial, but if it does not happen, I hope he will have maturity to take it in his stride and do his degree somewhere else.

unitarian Mon 29-Aug-11 14:44:44

He sounds as though he will fit in very well at Imperial - or anywhere, for that matter.

He has five choices on a UCAS form so make sure he adds a couple of unis that are less demanding. DD only ever wanted Imperial and gave me a heart attack the day before the A level results when she told me she would turn down her insurance offer if she didn't make it to Imperial. There are people who would have killed for that insurance offer but she was going to turn it down.......

Going by her experience in a different subject, Imperial interviews quite late - after Oxbridge. The interviews are very friendly and, for her specialism, there was a 75% chance of an offer after interview. Those are good odds and he seems to be the type who will interview well, hence the advice to set out his stall well enough to be invited for interview. DD already had an offer from elsewhere when she went to the Impy interview so she had her tail up. It helps.

strictlovingmum Mon 29-Aug-11 18:18:08

Thank you unitarian for all the advice, and first hand insight, I have taken it all on board what you said, and for DS one hurdle at the time, I know he will get theresmile
I just don't want him to put all his eggs in one basket, and I have mentioned to him about what you said vis a vis couple of unis that are less demanding, thanks again.

unitarian Tue 30-Aug-11 01:09:20

Good luck to him, and you. (I think some luck is involved as well as hard work, determination and ability.)

Tell him that having an early offer in the bag, even if it's not from a uni he particularly wants to go to right now, is a great psychological boost so it is worthwhile to consider the application strategy. That's probably the reason why so many parents get addicted to lurking on TSR!

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