A levels for UK universities

Do students get 4/5 A*s in A Levels get into Oxbridge easily? I’ve heard that UK unis generally only look at your exam scores, unlike US. How true is this for Oxbridge? Are there precedent counterexamples that you can provide?

4-5 stars typically guarantees you will get an interview, unless you essay, school recommendation or entrance exam went badly. After that it depends on your interview. Side note, unlike U.S. university interviews which is more about your background and interests, Oxbridge interviews are much more academic, and subject knowledge focused.

Hi Sarah,

Generally - as Victor says above - you really want to do yourself a favour and be looking to get 4/5 A*'s. This is in part because they are looking for someone who can prove their ability to perform academically but it’s also worth being honest with yourself about this. Oxbridge courses generally require you to digest/process information rapidly so if you don’t like intense academic challenge and thrive on this… it might not be for you!

In terms of exceptions to the rule, I’d say if you’re a bright student who believes that you have had considerable set-backs to achieving this number of A*'s then there may still be an opportunity. Many Oxbridge colleges rely on GCSE grades as a predictor for academic potential, particularly as you will not have anything but predictions for your A-Levels when you apply. If you have previously excelled, and believe you could love the Oxbridge experience, there’s an opportunity in the supplementary application form (at least I know for Cambridge) that allows you to explain any gaps in academic success.

I’m writing this rather rambly post because, it’s a few years back now, but I’m your counterexample! I went to a poor performing school and had a few personal barriers. In the end, I attended Cambridge (even after I’d failed, by a fraction, to meet my conditional offer!) The most important thing is to be honest with yourself in the end.