Once you have received your GCSE results either at the end of Year 11 or later on in your life, you may wonder if your future employers can check your results whenever they want. Perhaps you have applied for a job and have not declared all of your results on your CV, or maybe you have even lied about your GCSE results to an employer. Whatever you have done, you have probably thought about whether it was the right thing to do and the chances you have of getting away with it. So, can employers check your GCSE results and find out that you have undeclared or false grades on your CV?
In short, the answer to this question is yes, employers can (and probably will) check your GCSE results, especially if they suspect that you have lied about them to apply for a position with them. If (or when) you do get caught lying about your results, you will be seen as an untrustworthy, dishonest person and your reputation in the world of work will be damaged. The best thing to do if you are thinking of lying about your grades is to either retake your exams, appeal your original grades or move on to another job which is more suited to you. You are better off doing this than lying, getting caught and facing prosecution.
Read on to find out the more about how employers can check the information on your CV and your results.
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What Do Employers Look for on Your CV?
What each employer looks for in their employees really varies depending on the type of job position they are looking to fill. However, one thing is universal – all employers look for trustworthy, honest people. The best way to present yourself as one of these people is to tell the truth on your CV about everything – GCSE results, A-Level results, work experience, references and your hobbies. If you lie, it is more than likely that it will come back to bite you and you will most likely not be able to talk your way out of the trouble you will be in.
As stated above, employers usually do not base their handing out of jobs on only GCSE grades, in fact, it is pretty rare for your application to rejected simply because of a single GCSE grade. Employers often base their opinions on your previous work experience and where that work experience was done (for example, if you are applying for a job in a café, they might want to see if you know how to work a coffee machine or till), your references (previous teachers or bosses who can vouch for your character and you have worked close with) and your extracurricular activities (these can tell your employer a lot about you as a person, your interests and your work ethic/commitment to certain hobbies).
Why Do GCSE Grades Matter?
When applying for a job, the usual mandatory requirement is that you must have a certain minimum grade for each of your GCSEs (most of the time, the minimum needed is a grade 4 for GCSE Maths and English Language). But why do certain jobs have higher expectations for their applicant’s GCSE grades?
These expectations are there because certain jobs need a certain level of skill or knowledge which determines how well the job is done. If you apply for a job that requires for you to know your way around computers, one of the requirements may be a higher grade in GCSE computing, for example.
In relation to this, A-Levels and the grades you achieve at this level matter when applying for a job – you must have A-Levels relating to what the job entails, and these must be at a good level to give you a good chance of being employed. Most job advertisements let you know which A-Levels they require their applicants to have.
What Happens if You Lie About Your GCSE Results?
If you decide to give fake GCSE results to your employer when applying for a job or to a university when you are applying to study, chances are that you will be found out. Most of the time, employers and university officials will ask for proof of the results which you put on your CV or UCAS form in the form of official certificates. If the employer finds that you have lied on your CV during the background checks that are carried out, then you will definitely not be offered the job.
Lying on your CV is considered as fraud. In some cases of lying on your CV, you could face criminal prosecution.
This doesn’t just go for your CV – if you are caught lying about your grades on your UCAS form when applying for further education (apprenticeships, university etc), you will be stopped from applying through UCAS altogether which will seriously affect your future education in an extremely detrimental way.
Why Might You Lie or Hide Your GCSE Results?
It is common for students on the day of their GCSE results day to be disappointed with the grades they have achieved. It is also common for these very same students to carry on with their A-Levels and ignore their GCSEs – but this might come back to bite you.
Many people apply for jobs without thinking about how their CVs look and the grades that are on them. It can be a shock to look at your GCSEs if you found them less than desirable on your results day – and this is why many people choose to lie or hide their GCSE results. In order to avoid the fuss of having to re-sit or appeal their grades, people may see the easy way out as simply not declaring the correct grades.
This is the wrong thing to do. It goes without saying that you must be truthful when writing your CV, and you must remember that employers can probably tell when certain people are lying on their CV in order to get a job quickly.
What Do You Do If You Need a Job, But You Don’t Have the Qualifications?
If you are in desperate need of a job but find that you just don’t have the qualification it requires, then it would be a good idea to enrol in the classes which teach the content for the qualifications you need. This gives you a kickstart into your studying and gives you the peace of mind that you are working towards your qualifications.
By enrolling in a class or classes for the qualifications you need, you are giving yourself the opportunity to apply for the job that you need. You could tell the employer that you are currently studying for the GCSEs that you need for the job, and this will give you a better chance of being employed than you would have if you simply said that you did not have the qualifications.
If you are having difficulties finding resources to help you to study for your GCSE qualifications, check out these free websites which are designed to help with revision:
- Seneca GCSE Maths (website)
- Corbett Maths GCSE Revision (website)
- BBC Bitesize GCSE Maths Revision (website)
- Maths Made Easy (website)
GCSE English Language
- BBC Bitesize GCSE English Language Revision (website)
- Seneca GCSE English Language (website)
- English Biz (website)
- Revision World GCSE English Language (website)
Don’t forget that you have support everywhere – teachers, family, friends, books and online revision sites will all be able to offer you help with your studying, so there is no need to drown in your studying!
What Do You Do If You Have Given Incorrect Grades?
Everyone makes mistakes – whether you decided to give false GCSE grades to your employer or have just realised that you have mistakenly given a wrong grade, the best thing to do is to confess to your employer. Contact your employer as soon as possible and tell them about your mistake. You should preferably do this before they have conducted a background check for your grades, and not after they have brought it up with you – this would make it seem as if you are only confessing because you got caught.
By being honest, you are making sure that you do not get punished for handing in the wrong grades and showing your employer that you have good morals and are trustworthy (this could improve their opinion of you and make it more likely for you to get the job if it does not depend entirely on your grades!)
Letting your employer know about the mistake will clear your conscience and motivate you to keep moving forward, whether it be with retaking your exams to achieve a higher grade or applying to another job which you are more suited for.
If you do not have access to your exam certificates, or have forgotten them, then you can either contact your school or your exam board. Check out these links for different exam boards:
- AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) website
- Edexcel website
- OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA) website
- WJEC (Welsh Joint Education Committee) website
In conclusion, employers can absolutely check your GCSE results, and they probably will due to standard procedure. Because of this, you definitely should not lie about your GCSE grades as you will get caught and have to face the consequences. But all hope is not lost! There are plenty of ways to improve your chances of employment without lying or hiding your results and loads of support for when you find it difficult. Leave your thoughts and experiences (if you have any) below if you think I missed anything!
What Happens If You Choose to Not Declare A GCSE Grade?
Like many other people, you may have thought about ‘forgetting’ to declare a GCSE grade on either your CV or UCAS form in order to make your results look ‘better’ or more consistent. Although the repercussions for doing this may not be as severe as lying about a grade, this still is not a good idea. The best thing to do would be to declare your grade – chances are if you are applying for a job or university course that has nothing to do with the subject you have a bad grade in, it will not affect your application in any way.
The Importance of GCSE Maths and GCSE English
When you take your GCSEs, the most important subjects to pass are Maths and English Language. These subjects are your keys to further education and employment, and it is unlikely that you will be employed without these GCSEs.
The reason Maths and English Language GCSE are so important to employers are the skills which are commonly used, no matter which job you apply for. Mental arithmetic, good spelling and grammar, problem solving and a simple grasp of units of measurement are all skills which employers need their employees to have, and the way in which they expect you to learn them is through a passing grade in GCSE Maths and English Language.
If you are a student who finds Maths and English Language difficult, you can always take Functional Skills Exams at a further education college in order to show at least some skills in both of these subjects. You could also pay for private tutoring in these subjects in order to bump your grade up before your exams or your resits.
The ‘New’ Numerical Grading System
In recent years, the UK grading system for GCSEs only has switched from alphabetical grades (A, B, C etc…) to numerical grades. Opinions are mixed over them, but we can still compare the new grades to the old grades to get a feel of people’s ability. Here are some rough comparisons of the numerical grades to the old alphabetical grades.
- Grade 8/9 = A*
- Grade 7 = A
- Grade 5/6 = B
- Grade 4 = C (standard pass)
- Grade 3 = D
- Grade 1/2 = E/F/G
These comparisons may vary depending on where you find your information, but please note that it is difficult to match numerical grades to alphabetical grades perfectly. You may find that after comparing your grades to the previous alphabetical grades will make you feel better about the grades you have and make you less likely to want to hide or lie about your grades.
How to Improve Your GCSE Results
You may be wondering how you can improve your grades to apply for that job you want without lying on your CV. First things first, it is important to have a good think about whether you truly do need higher grades for the job you are applying for – could you apply with the GCSE grades you have, or does the employer definitely need higher grades? If you find the latter, then there is no need to panic!
If you truly need to up your grades for a specific job application, then the best thing to do is to retake your exams. This gives you the opportunity to really study up and achieve the grades you need, perhaps only in one or two of your subjects. Resits of GCSEs are usually taken in November of each year, and you can retake your GCSE exams at any age. If you want some advice about resitting exams, check out another article – How Many Times Can You Resit GCSEs?
If you feel like you did your absolute best in your exams and did not receive the grades you deserved, you can appeal your grades to try and gain a higher grade. Appealing a grade costs a certain amount of money per paper you want marking again, but if it gets marked again and a higher grade is awarded, you will be given your money back. You must also remember that there is a possibility that your grade can be brought down through appealing, too. If you truly think it will get you a higher grade by appealing, then this is the way to go.
Consider The Importance of GCSE Grades vs A-Levels
A very common reason for people choosing to lie on their CVs about their grades is because they ‘don’t look good’, and not because they necessarily need better ones for their application. Instead of lying, you should think about how important your GCSE grades are for the job you want. Most employers prefer to look at A-Level results when choosing their employees (if you took them). Like GCSEs, you can re-sit your A-Levels at any age, as long as you have a grade C (new grade 4 to 5) in the subject you are studying at GCSE level.
A good thing to do would be to ask older friends and family about how much their GCSEs counted for their job application’s success and their experiences with employers looking at their GCSEs grades. You may find that you are stressing over nothing and have no reason to lie about your grades.