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How many 8/9s GCSE for a top Russell Group University or Oxbridge?

(54 Posts)
TartanTexan Fri 08-Mar-19 14:39:05

Realistically what do you need as a minimum and for Oxbridge?

If taking 9 or 10 GCSEs - all 9s needed? Mainly 9s for say Newcastle or Exeter?

It will surely depend on course & subject but in very general terms. Thanks

OP’s posts: |
teenmother Fri 08-Mar-19 15:27:46

i suppose especially for Oxbridge, the more 8/9s the better. 10 GCSEs expected as standard I would have thought there as well. Same would apply for other unis but a lot goes off the predicted A level grades too.

Callicarpa19 Fri 08-Mar-19 15:36:50

Have a child in first year of GCSE so watching with interest....are GCSEs gateway to A levels or are they added to child's point score (does that exist?) for uni too? Have a child v strong in science and maths less so in English and MFL

sandybayley Fri 08-Mar-19 16:00:32

Not quite there yet but DS1 is Lower 6th. Had parents evening last night and they are happy to support an Oxford application. He has 3 x 9s, 1 x 8, 5 x A star (iGCSE) and 1 X A. I seem to remember reading somewhere that they look at the best 8.

titchy Fri 08-Mar-19 16:15:26

No where near that amount I think only a couple of hundred kids got all 9s last year!

A level predictions are what count, and for Oxbridge entry tests (BMAT, STEP, LNAT etc).

Ds has 3 RG offers, inc Bristol, and an average GCSE grade of B.

sandybayley Fri 08-Mar-19 16:22:04

@titchy is right. It's the A Level predictions that really matter. Less than stellar GCSEs will surely be OK if you have great predictions and do well on any aptitude test (if applicable).

pearldeodorant Fri 08-Mar-19 16:24:04

Ok oxbridge fair enough you need some 8/9s. However for Russell group unis? You would get into many many courses without a single 8 or 9. Newcastle and Exeter I know people at with say 4/5As (7s). Different kettle of fish for some degrees eg medicine but 100% a levels are what is most important

TartanTexan Fri 08-Mar-19 16:33:38

Helpful - thank you - so 7/8 etc at GCSE all fine and A levels count much more.

OP’s posts: |
Seeline Fri 08-Mar-19 16:36:08

DSs school said those with less than 7 A*s would be less likely to be successful at gaining Oxbridge places, so maybe not as high as some think.

mimbleandlittlemy Fri 08-Mar-19 16:36:43

I believe it was 752 kids that got all 9s last year and 9s are only supposed to be awarded to the top 2% in each subject, so if Newcastle and Exeter start requiring that at GCSE they aren't going to be getting many kids.

DS in Y12 and school keeps saying exactly what titchy says. A level predictions are key - so all the Y12s I know are getting far more stressed about their upcoming May/June exams which will be used by school to do the A level grade predictions than they did their GCSEs as they know everything hangs on that as far as their university choices and any offers are concerned.

One of the funny things with GCSEs is they seem so important up to Y11 and then come Y12 no one seems to give a damn what you got.

WombatChocolate Fri 08-Mar-19 18:04:24

From working in a selective school with most aiming for RG or Oxbridge, we find GCSEs are very important.

Many applicants have high A Level predicted grades,nwhicwhich are known to often be unrealistic and inflated and the GCSEs are the only concrete evidence of ability for Unis which don't have their own internal tests, now As levels are not generally sat and don't hold any weight as a qualification in their own right.

Unis have to sift their applicants. Some are more over subscribed than others and those that need to weed out will use both predicted grades and GCSEs. They might look for a percentage of L8/9 or a percentage of L7/8/9. For more competitive courses, an odd B won't be a problem, but majority of grades in this ballpark probably will be.

Oxbridge face far too many applicants who almost all have all top grade predictions and most of whom have a stellar GCSE profile. Those who don't can easily be sifted out. The internal exams set for their most popular courses also allow people to weeded out before interview. Sometimes those with the best GCSE results get weeded out as the internal exams show them to have less academic potential and that perhaps the GCSEs were indicators of hard work and exam technique more than anything else. It is rare for people to get through these exams without great GCSEs though.

We find that even though GCSEs are not always a top indicator, for those who get to interview, actually there is a correlation between GCSE marks (I say marks not grades - those who get the offers often had pretty much full marks at GCSE and didn't scrape the L9) - so by then those students have great GCSEs, have performed well on challenging internal exams and then confirmed a preliminary judgement that Oxbridge was holding of them through interview.

titchy Fri 08-Mar-19 18:30:38

From working in a selective school with most aiming for RG or Oxbridge, we find GCSEs are very important.

They're not though - sure they important for the teachers and the head, but RGs really don't care about GCSEs, however much you like to tell your pupils and parents how important they are to universities.

Unis have to sift their applicants. Some are more over subscribed than others and those that need to weed out will use both predicted grades and GCSEs.

We really don't you know grin

lljkk Fri 08-Mar-19 18:39:04

There are freedom of Info requests that list all this out from recent applicant waves.

Tell me course (history, English, medicine, chemistry?) & I'll find some links for you.

titchy Fri 08-Mar-19 18:55:06

There won't be any kid who took all numerical grade GCSEs applying for uni yet, let alone starting!

lljkk Fri 08-Mar-19 19:45:30

oh yeah... good point.

Still, if you know how many U-grads went to CambrOx, and what percentages of pupils got (eg) 8x8+ last year, if all of them went to CambRox I reckon there'd still be plenty of spaces at Oxbridge for the mere mortals.

I know I have seen individual gCSEs for (example) medical school students (successful applicants) that included the occasional C & no shortage of Bs. Even if you just took the old letters & turned them into new numbers, you'd get an estimate of thresholds of what grades got kids onto the most competitive courses, but according to new grades. In theory in the new system, main thing is turning A*s into 7+, it's not like the rest of the profile shifts much.

lljkk Fri 08-Mar-19 20:06:49

2018 data on DoE website, about 37,000 kids got 7s in all of the 2 English exams & math. 732 kids got at least seven grade 9s in their 2018 GCSEs.

There are about 7000 U-grad spaces at Oxbridge.

If all 11750 kids who got 8-8-8 in English-math GCSEs in 2018 applied to Oxbridge, that means 4000 would go elsewhere....

RG claimed in 2014 to have 417,000 undergrads.. assume 3.5 yrs on avg (medicine & 4 yr courses, right?) so that suggests RG Unis have spaces for (rounding down) 100,000 freshers each year.

100,000 spaces is Hugely more than the 38,000 or so who got at least 7-7-7 in English & maths 2018 GCSEs.

WhyAmIPayingFees Fri 08-Mar-19 22:18:07

I think the counting of A* or now 8/9 for Oxbridge is something schools have made up. There will be an association between level of GCSE success and admission success but I recall from doing Oxford admissions that we just looked for an A* in our subject but were otherwise much more
Interested in our own test results and any mitigating factors plus some idea that the kid had a real passion for the subject. If a school tells you or your DC they are not Oxbridge material because they do not make the mythical count but in the key subjects DC is really talented and interested then pay no attention to the school and apply anyway. If a school is coming up with predicted grades you think are rubbish wait till after A levels to apply.

clary Fri 08-Mar-19 22:52:21

We were told Oxford and Cambridge expect at least six grade 8/9 or A*.

Other than that I would say it has a lot to do with other factors. My dd got 2x 9s, a bunch of As (she was the year of the mix) a 6 and a B. She is holding four offers from good RG unis. Birmingham did tell us tho that for an unconditional offer they expect 6 X grade 9s I think (not sure why this question was raised at an offer day, but still)

NeleusTheStatue Fri 08-Mar-19 23:17:05

10 GCSEs expected as standard
How true is that?

WhyAmIPayingFees Sat 09-Mar-19 03:27:50

Getting an unconditional offer would need strong GCSEs for sure. But DC of a friend of mine had 3A*, 5A and 2B at GCSE but strong math competition results and got offered and accepted to Cambridge for maths. It’s all about exceptional strength and passion in the subject, though for medicine there are other factors.

jeanne16 Sat 09-Mar-19 07:22:52

Both Cambridge and Oxford have their own entrance exams and this is the most important factor. Of course, students who are capable of doing well in these entrance exams will probably also have very good GCSE and A level results. However there is no magic number for results. Cambridge publish the number of A*/9 grades achieved at GCSE and you will see a full range of grades.

Bowchicawowow Sat 09-Mar-19 07:28:08

Context is everything. You will get a lot of people on here whose dc attend top schools and as such their school will only support them if they get near flawless GCSEs. I think the average A* for GCSE at Oxbridge is 6 which means that a lot of candidates get fewer than that. The fact a parent seriously thinks their dc needs all 9s to get into Newcastle shows how misinformed parents are about GCSEs

WhyAmIPayingFees Sat 09-Mar-19 09:05:18

Good schools can be unhelpful in setting silly thresholds for putting kids into their “Oxbridge entrance group” or whatever daft thing they have concocted to make themselves look good. It is not up to the school where you apply. One of my contemporaries at Cambridge went to a school that thought she was unsuitable to the extent that they refused to let her sit the then entrance exam in school. So she organised with Cambridge to sit it privately and was given an entrance scholarship. So just remember the school does not decide this!

Twerking9til5 Sat 09-Mar-19 11:32:45

“I think the counting of A* or now 8/9 for Oxbridge is something schools have made up. “

Especially selective schools, per chance?
Brandishing their (Selectively derived) stats at GCSE and Uni Entrance levels, and keeping the correlation high for parents who don’t understand the causation and stats, as alleged justification for selectivity?

Stickerrocks Sat 09-Mar-19 12:57:27

Around 700-800 students got straight grade 9s in 2018. It was 726 on results day, but some more grade 9s were awarded after re-marks. DD is being encouraged to apply with 4x9s, 3x8s, 2x7s a 6. She has got an Oxford UNIQ place.

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