Published on August 11, 2020 by Holly Porter

You may have recently received your GCSE results and be wondering if you can still become a lawyer. Are your grades too low? Do they matter? Read on to find out.

What Grades Do You Need?

You must have attained at least a C in your Maths and English papers but otherwise there are few GCSE grade pre-requisites for a career in law. Your GCSE grades help universities to decide whether they would like to make you an offer so for the very tops ones, more A*s and As will be required. Although universities don’t normally explain the importance of each aspect of the application, admissions tutors at the University of Bristol have previously stated that GCSE grades account for 25% of the application. Therefore, if Bristol is your aim, then you might need slightly higher GCSE grades.
You do also have to list them in your applications to law firms and chambers so naturally higher grades will make you a more competitive candidate later down the line.

How to Apply for GCSE Resits

Contextual Recruitment

Many law firms now use Rare Recruitment or a similar contextual programme in their applications. This is a survey in which you answer questions about your socio-economic background. This includes information about the school you studied at and your parents’ educational background.

The firms can use this to measure students from different backgrounds more fairly against each other. For example, if you received grades that were well above the average of the those usually awarded to students at your school, your application will be viewed more favourably against a student who may have received slightly higher results but from an institution where their grades were lower than the average.


Law is an intellectually demanding topic to study and practice, therefore better grades will certainly help to make you a more competitive candidate. However, if you feel as though your school and background may have precluded you from receiving higher grades, this certainly won’t be held against you in your applications.

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