Predicted UCAS grades and correlation to possible offer grades ?

(37 Posts)
chillie Fri 14-Feb-20 12:20:55

My daughter would like to do physics at university. She is doing a level, maths, physics, biology and geography. At the moment she is getting c,a,a*,a*. We have a tutor to improve the maths c into an a we hope by May mocks but what type of offers do you think she might get if the grades stand as is? I’m working on the worst possible scenario at the moment. she is in yr12 and is looking at Russell group universities as well as others.

OP’s posts: |
NormaSnorks Fri 14-Feb-20 12:27:49

Have a look at the UCAS offer rate calculator:

To be honest I would have thought she might be able to get an offer from almost anywhere with those grade predictions, although of course it's also about her GCSE grades, Personal Statement etc too.

Why is she doing four A levels? Nearly all schools now recommend concentrating on doing 3 good A levels, rather than spreading yourself over 4, unless two of them are Maths/ Further Maths.
Why not let her drop one? However Physics is quite mathematical, so will this really be right choice for her?

keyboardwarrior1 Fri 14-Feb-20 13:14:53

Those are really good grade predictions so she will be offered places at good universities.

But I would be asking why she is only predicted a C in maths given the A prediction for physics. Unusual discrepancy. Is the maths prediction too low? Physics too high? Is there a difference in the quality of the teaching between the two subjets? Physics at University will be a tough call without a higher grade in maths.

Would she be better off applying for biology? Or geography given that she is performing better in those subjects?

StrawberryPi Fri 14-Feb-20 13:26:01

I have a physics degree and I'm not sure I would recommend it with a c in maths a level. There's a lot more maths in degree level physics than at school (a lot of the maths was stripped out the a level syllabus). A lot of people will have further maths so even a good grade in maths would involve some level of catchup without further maths.

chillie Fri 14-Feb-20 13:44:08

Thank you for your replies. DD got an 8 for Gcse but had no good maths teaching in yrs 9 and 10 and was put in 2nd bottom group of 6 in grammar school. No one else in her group has gone on to to maths a level. She achieved five 9's four 8's and three 7's at GCSEs.
I have tried to tell her to go for geography as she has amazing grades in this with no real effort ( no revision for tests, minimum time spent possible) but she wants physics. She knew that geography for her would be very little work as she finds it very easy so took it as a 4th a level just as an easy 'good' grade. For this same reason she doesn't want to drop it as she says it doesn't make a difference to her work load so wouldn't help in increasing her other grades.
She has told me (now) that she has gaps in algebra hence the tutor to go backwards to go forwards.
She has 'thoughts' of Oxford but knows that without an 'Astar' prediction that this is likely to only ever be a thought! This was the rationale for the 4th a level.
She can't drop the biology as you need a second science to take physics.
Any chance being female and an ethnic minority mix might help with lower offers do you think?

OP’s posts: |
keyboardwarrior1 Fri 14-Feb-20 15:19:19

I do not think universities lower offers on the basis of sex and ethnic background. Many female members of ethnic minorities come from immensely privileged backgrounds. They may make a lower offer if she comes from a disadvantaged background (Polar/Tundra) and if she comes from a poorly performing school. But since she is at a grammar school this looks unlikely.

If her maths grades are the result of having missed parts of the curriculum can you address that with the school and do catch up classes on the missing elements? What does the maths tutor think? If that is the underlying cause you should see a swift improvement with extra classes.

But as I said before, if she cannot improve her maths grade she will find physics at any RG university very difficult.

titchy Fri 14-Feb-20 17:57:11

She absolutely can and should drop Biology - I don't think anywhere asks for a third Science on top of Maths and Physics. In any case Geography usually counts as a science.

titchy Fri 14-Feb-20 17:58:40

Her offers btw will be exactly what the uni websites state. She should expect five out of five offers, unless she puts Oxbridge in which case the aptitude tests will largely determine her offer likelihood.

titchy Fri 14-Feb-20 17:59:44

No - being female and BAME won't help, but she won't need help.

cantkeepawayforever Fri 14-Feb-20 18:16:20

Don't need Biology for Physics in most places - DD is considering Physics (as a fallback option if a specific career-based course turns out not to be 'her thing' )but does Maths, Physics, an art and a language, and very few places seem to need anything more than Maths + Physics.

However, Physics with poorer maths is HARD - DD is not sure about Physics because she doesn't do Further Maths, which she thinks would be really useful. So i would get those Maths skills really, really solid, not just for the grade but also simply for the facility and strong subject knowledge basis.

Ironoaks Fri 14-Feb-20 18:18:45

DS has applied for physics this year, and got five offers.

The maths grade is as important as the physics grade. Many of the most competitive courses specify A* A A, with A* A in maths and physics (in either order).

If her predicted grade for maths ends up being a B, then she could consider applying for places like Southampton (or similar level). Although Southampton asks for A grades in both Maths & Physics, last year the course was in clearing and they were accepting B grades, which suggests they might be more likely to give an offer to an applicant predicted B at maths A-level.

If she can get the maths predicted grade up to A, she could apply pretty much anywhere.

Ironoaks Fri 14-Feb-20 18:24:30

Oxford physics department don't look at A-level predicted grades when shortlisting for interview. The first stage of selection is based on a number compiled from the PAT score and the GCSE grades in context (i.e. compared to the average GCSE grades at the school where they were taken).

clary Fri 14-Feb-20 21:02:38

Agree with those saying bexeary of physics degree with weaker maths.

She may need another science to do a physics degree, but that would certainly include maths and probably geography, so that's no reason to keep doing biology.

But as others say, why not consider biology or geography or some course using those if she is doing so well there? What makes her want to do physics?

clary Fri 14-Feb-20 21:03:13

Be wary, not bexeary (?) stupid phone.

lanthanum Fri 14-Feb-20 22:41:47

Maths is going to be really important for Physics. Check out what the universities say, because most of them are likely to specify a grade for maths. Hopefully the tutor will help get that improved, but she needs to be aware that maths is going to be a big part of her study at uni.

Some Russell group entry requirements for physics:

Oxford: "We expect that all students who are accepted to study Physics at Oxford would be capable of achieving a Grade A in Further Maths A-level, even if they have not taken the exam." (They provide some extra teaching for those who haven't been able to take FM, but it looks like they expect them to pick it up very quickly.)

Manchester: "A*A*A-A*AA to include Physics and Maths. "

Southampton: "AAB-ABB including grades AA-AB* in mathematics/further mathematics and physics, with a pass in the physics Practical
ABBC including grades AB in mathematics/further mathematics and physics, with a pass in the physics Practical"

Ironoaks Sat 15-Feb-20 09:42:01

DS's offer from Southampton this year was AAA / AABC (including AA in Maths and Physics). It's possible that some applicants might receive a lower offer, especially if they have several contextual flags.

TastyFish Sat 15-Feb-20 12:08:05

I work for a university that offers Physics and I agree with many of the comments above. Four A-levels is unnecessary, especially if it dilutes the grades of Physics and Maths, so unless she is adamant she wants all four I would agree drop Biology.

Some lower ranked universities will be more flexible and take into account overall UCAS points whereas some of the most famous Physics departments will specify things A* A* A, so a fourth A-level doesn't actually help her there.

Maths is just as important at degree level, it's a big step up and if students can't keep up with the Maths she will have a miserable time and possibly drop out.

She needs to be really honest with herself about the Maths - is this something she wants to explore at degree level and possibly a core part of her career? (If she stays in Physics).

Universities are gearing up for their post-application Open/Visit days, these are the standard Open Days are the best opportunity to talk to universities to understand what the course and assessment is like, but also what makes their courses different from each other, what research and industry links they have, and types of jobs graduates go onto.

I'd advise that she doesn't need to have her whole career mapped out, but if there are topics, research areas or careers out there that inspire her she's on the right path!

But it's definitely worth looking at degrees in Engineering or fields of Geography where the Maths and Physics could be invaluable. Environmental science and environmental engineering are getting a lot of attention these days.

Good luck!

Chemenger Sat 15-Feb-20 12:18:11

I lecture (engineering) in lecture theatres in the physics building. They're not that great at cleaning the black boards and what is left there is very scary maths. I say that as an Engineer, where we did daunting maths (most of which I have forgotten because I don't use much maths in my specialities, many of my colleagues use the difficult maths every day). Modern physics is largely maths, so its unsurprising that good entry grades in maths are required. My university asks for a minimum of ABB at A level with the A in maths.

Clairecolwall Sat 15-Feb-20 13:06:57

Maths counts as a science A levels for all UK universities so she doesn't need biology. Far better to get 3 higher grades than 4 lower ones: universities really don't care about the 4th. Drop biology unless she adores it. Really unwise to drop maths if she wants to do physics. One daughter just graduated from Sheffield in physics and philosophy (A levels maths, physics, rs) and a second has offers from 4 Russell group universities (rejected from Oxford) for biology (A levels maths, biology, rs and AS drama).

MillicentMartha Sat 15-Feb-20 15:26:04

30 odd years ago I took physics at uni because my maths (B, well before A* grades were a thing) wasn’t good enough to do maths. It was a mistake because my maths wasn’t really good enough to do physics! I stuck the course but only got an average degree.

So unless she can improve her maths significantly, she might be better off doing geography or even biology than physics. And concentrate on 3 A levels.

chillie Sat 15-Feb-20 19:48:33

Thank you everyone for responding, it's very kind of all of you. DD is very aware that physics at university will be a disaster if maths is even slightly bad. She has now said that if her mock grade is less than an A in May mocks then she will think again about what to do and probably apply instead to do engineering of some type. She has never really had to work at anything before and this will be a good test for her in hard work, dedication, perseverance and planning. If it does not go perfectly how she wants then she will have to re evaluate, it is all part of life. Regardless of what she wants I'm sure she will be fine in the end, she has a better brain than most and is very fortunate. I will support her as best I can.
Does anyone know whereabouts universities reject you based on mocks. Eg if you are predicted abc and their expected offer grades are usually astar astar a then would they give you an offer or just reject you?
Not for my daughter but what if you were predicted ccd, would you just not get any offers from places that want aaa? Basically how close does your predicted grade need to be to their usual offer to be made an offer?

OP’s posts: |
titchy Sat 15-Feb-20 20:11:14

She should apply to places across the offer range. I'd be very surprised if she didn't get five offers even with say ABC predicted for Physics. It's a shortage subject being blunt - unis need bums on lab stools. Ds had ABC predicted - got five offers for Physics, three RG.

Very few will reject even with low predicted - they'll simply make the usual offer.

TheMotherofAllDilemmas Sat 15-Feb-20 20:28:36

Every university is different but I would say that a C in ma Maths is likely to disqualify her for physics and most engineering degrees. Simply put, the main indicator that a student is going to be successful in a Physics degree is not their physics grade but the strength of their maths at A level.

I would say however that considering the problem might be deficient teaching, she may still catch up even if his predicted maths grade is not fantastic:

Clearing is changing, these days you see a lot of high achievers shopping around on the day with their attained grades on hand. So even if she gets rejected due to her predicted grades, she can still get a place in a top university if she catches up by her A levels exams.

titchy Sat 15-Feb-20 20:32:28

She is very unlikely to be rejected due to predicted grades - that's just not how the majority of shortage subject departments work!

TheMotherofAllDilemmas Sat 15-Feb-20 20:33:27

* Does anyone know whereabouts universities reject you based on mocks. Eg if you are predicted abc and their expected offer grades are usually astar astar a then would they give you an offer or just reject you?*

They are likely to make the standard offer regardless of her grades. For example, if the uni standard offer is A*A*A they are likely offer a place conditional to her getting that offer but, if they don’t have as many applicants with those grades, they may accept her anyway with slightly lower grades but she won’t know until results day.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in