In short, not necessarily. You’ll come across Oxbridge students who don’t (but don’t be shocked to meet quite a few who do).
While every individual application should be treated on its own merits, there are a few boxes you should tick to keep your Oxbridge hopes alive…
1. Get good grades
Yes, your grades will need to really dazzle. GCSEs are seen as evidence of work ethic – and you need a really strong one of those to cope with studying at Oxford or Cambridge. Our ‘guesstimate’ is that the average successful applicant has around eight A* GCSEs – or 8/9 grades under the new system – under their belt.
Don’t have top GCSE grades? You might still have a chance – find out more with our helpful guide to the importance of your GCSE results.
And of course you need the A-level grades that Oxford and Cambridge ask for, for a given course – search for a course to see what these are exactly, as there can be some extra requirements or conditions. Our guide to the real story behind entry requirements sheds some light on what these are.
As per recent changes to A-levels, these are the grades you achieve in your final exams at the end of Year 13 (but you’ll apply with predicted grades based on your Year 12 performance). So expect for these to be scrutinised alongside your GCSE grades, plus any admissions tests the university requires you to take – more on this below.