Seeing as it’s GCSE results day here in the UK for all 16 year olds, I thought I’d quickly post in regards to this & the Oxbridge application process!
Your GCSEs DO matter – if people tell you they don’t in the application process, then they aren’t telling you the entire truth! To what degree they matter, I can’t honestly say, but it is certain that both Oxford & Cambridge do take the results into account.
Of course, what really matters to them are you A Level/IB/equivalent results when you hit 18, but when you apply you do have to state what grades you got for GCSEs, as you do when applying to other unis too!
Supposedly Cambridge take GCSEs into account moreso than Oxford, but I think that’s probably because for some courses at Cambridge you don’t have to take a test upon applying. Oxford do look at them, though when reading your application.
Basically all that they’re looking for is to see that you’re academically consistent throughout your schooling life. They want to see that you are & have been hard-working for a long length of time. I got 5 A*s and 6 As for my GCSEs but these weren’t the best or the worst grades of people I know who applied & got an interview or a place, so it isn’t the end of the world if you don’t do quite as well at GCSE level!
It’s not the end of the world, but don’t think that they don’t matter!