Does Oxford University Consider GCSE Results?

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The University of Oxford has consistently ranked as one of the best universities in the world, and has one of the highest application rates of any UK university. This means that their selection process is very strict, with thousands of competitive applications. On your UCAS application, you’ll have to fill out which GCSEs you passed and your grades, which the universities you apply to will be able to see: but how much does Oxford actually take your GCSE grades into consideration?

The University of Oxford does take the GCSE results of their applicants into consideration, but they do not have a large weighting in the application overall – there are several other aspects, such as A-Level predicted grades, that the university considers more important. Although you will not be asked for any specific GCSE results as part of your academic requirements for your application, you will need to have at least the core GCSEs (GCSE English Language and GCSE Maths) in order to make an application that the university will thoroughly consider.

In this article, I’ll be taking you through everything you need to know about GCSE grades and how Oxford uses them to assess your application.

Does Oxford University take your GCSE results into consideration?

Yes, the University of Oxford does take your grades into consideration when viewing your application, but they do not play a significant part in whether your application will be successful.

On the University of Oxford’s website, linked for you here, they state that “none of our courses have a specific GCSE requirement; however, there are some parts of our admissions process that use GCSE grades to contextualise applicants’ performance.”

This essentially means that you won’t necessarily be turned away specifically because of your GCSEs, unless you don’t have the compulsory subjects, which are discussed later in the article. However, they will look at your GCSE results to aid their assessment of other parts of your application.

When you apply to university through UCAS, universities will look most at your predicted A-Level grades, which are calculated based on recent assessments sat in school.

The University of Oxford may take your GCSE results into account when looking at your predicted A-Level grades.

For example, if your GCSE results were relatively low, but your predicted A-Level grades were A*’s, the university might raise some questions about the discrepancy between the two.

The most important thing to note is you will not be accepted into or rejected from Oxford solely based on your GCSE results. They play a very small part overall in your application.

The University of Oxford is far more concerned with your predicted A-Level grades, any entrance exams you have to sit, written work you have to submit, and your interview if you get to that stage.

Although it is always good to have the top GCSE grades, they aren’t the be all and end all.

Which GCSEs do you need to get into Oxford?

Considering GCSEs do not play a big part in your application, the specific GCSEs you took (excluding the mandatory GCSE subjects) do not have any significant weight, but they still matter a little bit.

For example, if you applied for a degree in Geography and had a high predicted grade for Geography A-Level, but didn’t take GCSE Geography, the university may ask you some questions if you get to interview.

However, it is absolutely mandatory that you have GCSE English and Maths, and preferably GCSE Science (Combined or Triple), in order to apply to Oxford.

You need these GCSE subjects to study at A-Level, so you require these to be able to progress to higher education. If you do not have these GCSE English Language and GCSE Maths, you are still able to apply, but it is almost guaranteed that your application will be rejected.

Outside of the 2 core GCSEs, most universities including Oxford ask applicants to have at least 5 GCSEs.

Although your GCSE choices don’t particularly matter, it’s still a good idea to have GCSEs in a similar field to your degree subject.

For example, if you wanted to study English at university, some good GCSE options to have might be History, Drama or Art. Alternatively if you wanted to study Maths at university, some good GCSE options might be Triple or Combined Science, Computer Science and Economics.

Can you get into Oxford with average GCSEs?

Yes, you absolutely can get into Oxford with average GCSE grades!

One of the most important things to remember is that your GCSE grades are impressive no matter what the grade on your certificate is. Passing your GCSEs is a massive achievement, so you should be proud of your grades no matter what!

The University of Oxford will not ask you for specific GCSE grades, although this does not necessarily mean that they don’t prefer certain GCSE grades over others.

As a general rule, it is good to have as many GCSEs at grade 7-9 as possible. According to this page of the University of Oxford’s website, “successful applicants typically have a high proportion of 7, 8 and 9 [GCSE] grades”.

However, you do not need all 10 of your GCSE options to be at grade 9 just to have a chance of getting into Oxford. In my GCSEs, I got a grade 6 in GCSE Maths, one of the core GCSE subjects, and I was accepted into Oxford!

There is definitely an exaggerated perception about Oxford, that you have to be a super genius to be able to go to Oxford, and get 100% scores on all of your exams. As someone who successfully applied, it is definitely not true, and you can absolutely get into Oxford with what are considered “average” GCSE grades.

If you’d like to read more details about what GCSE grades are ideal for an Oxford application, I’d recommend checking out this Think Student article.

How many GCSEs do Oxford University applicants have?

There is no specific number of GCSEs that the University of Oxford will require you to have.

According to Oxbridge Applications, whose website you can check out using this link, “the majority of successful Oxbridge candidates have 7 or more A*s (grade 8-9) at GCSE”. Similarly, The Uni Guide, whose website is linked here, estimates that “the average successful [Oxbridge] applicant has around eight 8-9 grade GCSEs”.

This information may seem daunting, but this is just a general trend, and it shouldn’t deter you from making an application if your grades are slightly lower than 8s and 9s.

If you failed or missed a GCSE due to extenuating circumstances (i.e., circumstances beyond your control, such as a serious illness), then you should notify the university as soon as possible. This is so that they know not to take this missed GCSE into consideration when reviewing your application.

There are plenty of people who have successfully got into Oxford that haven’t had all 9/10 of their GCSEs, or who have GCSEs with grades lower than 8 and 9. I myself am one of those people and I know many others who also didn’t get ‘perfect’ results.

Although it should be noted that Oxford is a very competitive university with applications all across the world, you still have a right to apply. Your application will be considered fairly in comparison to other candidates, and you don’t need perfect grades for this. Every applicant is unique!

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