Congratulations to all of you who received AS level and A level results yesterday – I hope your hard work paid off – well done! If your results haven’t gone as well as you would have liked, we understand that you may well have questions regarding your application to Oxbridge. We’ve spoken to a number of students over the past few days and so thought it would be helpful to post the most common queries we have received just here. You may of course have a specific query you’d like us to answer or simply want to talk through your options – if you do, we are here to help and so do just get in touch with us – either on the phone or email – (0)207 499 2394 / firstname.lastname@example.org – we’ve all been through the process and know how important the next few steps can be.
Q) I’ve got my three As at AS, but I got a B in my fourth AS. Will this be a disadvantage in my application?
A) Very well done for getting three As. Despite what the papers say, this is no mean feat. If you have three As at AS, you have the requirements for applying to Oxford as long as your As are in the appropriate subject – if you want to study English and you got a B in your English AS, then you might be in trouble. Cambridge is a slightly different matter as they request at least one A* at A2. They will want to see your module marks (which you write down in the Supplementary Application Questionnaire). You need to be getting high marks in at least one of your AS marks – preferably in the subject you want to study – to ensure you are on track for an A* in A2. If this isn’t the case, you shouldn’t be immediately put off from applying as Cambridge may still consider your application, but you may think about applying to Oxford instead. With regards to that fourth B, whilst it is not required by Oxbridge, it’s difficult to say whether, when faced with two similar candidates, Oxbridge might choose the one with four As over the one with three As and a B. Unfortunately it is impossible to answer this question – Oxford and Cambridge have their own special criteria for admitting their students. Having three As and a B will certainly not rule you out – our research has shown applicants with this grade profile have been invited to interview. have got a place and have fulfilled the requirements to take it – but it is impossible to say whether you may find yourself in the situation where a full house of As trumps your three As and a B.
Q) I’ve just missed my 3 three As at AS – I just don’t know what went wrong in the exam as I usually do really well. Should I get my paper remarked or resit it?
A) This is a really horrible situation. You’ve worked hard and you’re good at your subject, but somehow and somewhere something has gone wrong. The first thing to do in this situation is to speak to the teacher who taught you for that subject and the teacher who will be writing your teacher’s reference for your UCAS form. It may well be that they are as surprised as you are. In this case, they need to make it clear on the teacher’s reference that this results is not a fair reflection of your ability. You should consider resitting this paper only if it will not be detrimental to your performance in the other exams you will be sitting at the same time. Oxford and Cambridge will not know that you are resitting the exams and your personal statement is definitely not the place to mention this. You are unlikely to be able to resit before you send off your application in October, so you will have to submit this mark. Getting your script remarked is another possibility and if your grade goes up you should have time to include this on your UCAS form. You can opt for a ‘priority remark’, which will mean that your script comes back to you quicker, although precise timeframes vary from subject to subject and exam board to exam board. If you decide to get your script remarked, it is also worth getting a photocopy of your script sent to your school so your teacher can have a look at it as well and see where you lost marks.
Q) Will I have to declare my module grades?
A) You only have to declare your module grades if you are applying to Cambridge. The Cambridge SAQ (Supplementary Application Questionnaire) has a column which you have to complete to show all your module marks as well as your class sizes. It is a way of Cambridge finding out a bit more about you. Whilst Cambridge require A*AA, the fact that they are looking at your module grades implies that they are looking for high grades – although if your class size has been particularly large, it may give a clue as to why your modular grades are not as strong as they could be. If you are worried about your modular marks, you could check out some similar courses at Oxford, and maybe consider switching your application over. …. Unfortunately there are not hard and fast answers to how your grades will affect your Oxbridge application. This is in some ways very frustrating, but in others quite reassuring: Oxford and Cambridge have developed their own way of choosing their students and are looking for more than just A level grades. This means that you need to focus on making your application as strong as possible by perfecting your personal statement, performing as strongly as possible in your admissions tests, making sure your written work is the best it can be and by being as prepared as possible for your interview. As I said, if you do have any individual questions, or if you think we could help you with your application, do just get in touch with us directly on 0207 499 2394 – we are here to answer your questions.