In my honest opinion, while GCSEs are important to some extent, since they will allow entry to sixth grade and universities, they are not as important as levels AS and A in the grand scheme of things. Even with mediocre GCSE ratings, universities are more likely to have a positive outlook on you if you have strong AS grades. Both GCSE ratings and UCAS points are valuable things to consider for selection committees. However, there is hardly any relationship between them.
GCSE scores are not worth any UCAS points. And UCAS points don't affect GCSE ratings. A-level, AS Level and IB diplomas are essential for earning UCAS points, as well as for case-dependent grades. GCSE grades, on the other hand, are useful for deleting courses and selecting where to apply with better knowledge.
Selection committees use GCSE scores as predictive scores that provide suggestions about their potential in A-level studies or other advanced studies. For that reason, you need to know your GCSE scores and where you can apply, while also checking UCAS to see if your grades attract UCAS points or not and in what grade. Other prizes included a new mobile phone (a slide-out phone with a color screen and polyphonic ringtones), a bicycle and an Xbox. For a researcher, an A* was equivalent to four driving classes, an A was worth three and a B was worth two lessons.
One particularly lucky person got a trip to Florida, which years later earned him the title of GCSE's biggest reward here at The Key. A nice bonus, but I guess the trip to Florida was probably the best prize.