• Question: What Grades do you need at gcse and a level?

    Asked by Max on 21 Sep 2016. This question was also asked by 786cara48, Ct.
    • Photo: Marianne Baker

      Marianne Baker answered on 21 Sep 2016:

      I’d ask not what you need but what you want!
      If you’re loving science, do your best to learn all the stuff. There’s plenty of time to revise the courses fully (not as possible at uni!) so see if you can spot the patterns and apply what you know to different areas. If you come out of school with a solid grounding in that material, you’re starting from a good place in your degree.

      At university you have to do more learning for yourself, so it’s good to get used to that early on. If you’re not enjoying a subject at school, it might not be the best one to choose to study further!

    • Photo: Melanie Zimmer

      Melanie Zimmer answered on 21 Sep 2016:

      Hi Max,

      I have not attended a school here in the UK, so I can’t say anything about that.

      But as Marianne said, you have to enjoy what you are doing. 🙂


    • Photo: Katie Mahon

      Katie Mahon answered on 21 Sep 2016:

      I went to school in Ireland so I’m not sure about GCSEs grades… but like Marianne says, it’s best to go with the subjects you enjoy and have a keen interest in. It’s hard to stay motivated at a subject if you really don’t like it.

      The subjects that you are curious about and find interesting are where you will do best!

    • Photo: Rebecca Dewey

      Rebecca Dewey answered on 21 Sep 2016:

      For GCSEs, you need to get the grades that your school or local college requires for entry to the A-level courses that you want to study. You should aim to do really well in the subject you’re planning to take forward, otherwise you’ll struggle later down the line.

      For a-levels, every university and course will have different requirements based on the subjects you need to study. Some will ask for 3 Cs, whereas others might ask for an A in Physics and at least a B in Maths, Chemistry, Further Maths, etc. You need to find out what courses you might want to study (I think you can look on the UCAS website) and look at their entry requirements.

    • Photo: Joanna Bagniewska

      Joanna Bagniewska answered on 21 Sep 2016:

      Like Melanie and Katie, I didn’t go to school in the UK – but Marianne is very right about studying for yourself. Think about why you love science. And don’t let bad grades get you down – my worst grades were in Biology, and yet I’m a zoologist now (this is not to say that you shouldn’t try your best!).

    • Photo: Katie Sparks

      Katie Sparks answered on 21 Sep 2016:

      I didn’t know at all at GCSE what I wanted to do, by A level I knew my next steps would be science, but that was as narrow as I had made my choices.
      There is one massive thing in common with all subjects:
      Grades A-C in Maths, English and Science and, if you can, a modern foreign language is really useful.
      For A levels, that depends what route you want to take.

      If your grades aren’t what you need for the route you want, look for different routes, or maybe pause a year and retake things. There is no right or wrong path to anything.

      To me, there are two important things to do in all parts of life:
      – try your best, you give yourself the best chances that way
      – do something you love, then whatever you do on the back of that is something you’ll love too.

    • Photo: Evan Keane

      Evan Keane answered on 22 Sep 2016:

      So I didn’t do GCSEs or A Levels as I went to school in Ireland, but sufficed to say that you need pretty good grades and in the subjects you want to do in Uni (an A in French doesn’t help you get a place on a Chemistry degree). Every university usually publishes the grades you need to get to get into their courses, so you can find it for any university with a bit of googling. That goes for universities elsewhere in Europe too, who will also say what A Levels they would accept for admission.

      Of course some universities can be very competitive and you might need all As to get in, but you should check out how good the universities actually are, and in your subject. For example an ‘average’ university could be world class in the subject you want to do. A ‘world class’ university could be rubbish at the particular thing you want to do there.

      Sadly also, in the UK, a big obstacle to going to university is money. I think this is terrible – the criteria to go to university should be ability, enthusiasm and work ethic, not money! So if you want to go to university in the UK be prepared to go into debt. I didn’t do that as university was free (in Ireland) when I went and when I went for more university in the UK I was doing a masters and PhD and you usually actually get paid (a small amount) to do these. Remember that universities in other European countries are often free and always cheaper than the UK, which is the most expensive in the entire EU by a lot. So consider doing that – you also learn a lot by living somewhere different and those are very valuable life skills which you can’t learn in a lecture or in a book.

    • Photo: anon

      anon answered on 19 Jan 2018:

      I was educated in the US so also don’t know about GCSE and A-level grades. The key thing about getting high marks is that it opens more doors – more opportunities.

    • Photo: Dmitry Dereshev

      Dmitry Dereshev answered on 19 Jan 2018:

      Check the university and the subject you want to apply to/for – they will tell you UCAS points they need. Then you can use the calculator here: https://www.ucas.com/ucas/tariff-calculator to see what kind of marks you need to match the UCAS points.

      At least in my experience there was a lot of flexibility in the process, so even though I was mediocre at Maths, the university I chose only required a certain *total* amount of UCAS points, and I got enough to be accepted for a Maths degree. Turns out, Maths in the Uni was taught in a much more preferable style than school-level Maths, so I ended up with the first class degree, even though I couldn’t have foreseen it from my school-level grades.