Can You Lie About GCSE Grades on UCAS?

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The importance of GCSE qualifications can’t really be overstated. For one reason or another, your GCSEs may not go as you had planned or hoped, and unfortunately, some students do find themselves disappointed on results day. Many students find themselves tempted to lie about their GCSE results on UCAS in the hopes of improving their chances of attending university, but the question of whether you “can” or “should” lie about your GCSE results on UCAS is a complicated one.

Technically speaking, you can lie about your GCSE results on UCAS – it’s your application, and you have to submit the information yourself, so you can do whatever you like. However, you will absolutely get caught for doing so, so don’t think you can lie and get away with it. UCAS screens every application they receive for false or fraudulent information, and proof of qualification must be supplied to your chosen universities. If the GCSE results provided by your exam boards and the GCSE results you included in your UCAS application don’t match up, your application can be cancelled.

Don’t worry if you still have some unanswered questions. In this article, I’ll provide you with what you need to know about faking results, your UCAS application, how they check and what to do if it goes wrong.

Can you fake GCSE results on a UCAS application?

As part of your UCAS application, you have to provide your GCSE results – the subject, the grade you received, which awarding body (exam board) assessed you, and which centre (your school) you sat your exams in.

Now, technically speaking, you could fake all this information if you wanted to and submit fraudulent GCSE results. The question is: Would you get caught for it?

If you faked your GCSE results on your UCAS application, you would get found out.

Universities can request to see your GCSE certificates if they feel it necessary, which you can read about in this Think Student article.

Also, UCAS states on their website, linked here, that “[they] have a responsibility to our applicants, course providers, and stakeholders to screen applications for false, missing and/or misleading information.”

This means that UCAS can double-check and verify all the information I listed earlier that you have to provide about your GCSE results. In short, it’s not worth lying, because UCAS and your chosen universities will be able to find out pretty easily.

Can you lie about your GCSE and A-Level results?

You can lie about your GCSE and A-Level results, but you can’t lie about your results and get away with it, so my advice is to avoid lying in the first place.

UCAS receive your A-Level results directly from your exam boards and send them to your chosen universities, as stated on this page of the UCAS website.

Similarly, UCAS also state on this page that “if a university or college has reason to believe that a predicted grade is grossly inaccurate, they retain the right to withdraw any offers.”

The same applies to GCSEs. Universities can request proof of qualification (i.e., your GCSE certificate) if they wish, which means that if you lied about any of your results, you’ll be found out.

Does UCAS check your grades?

UCAS receives hundreds of thousands of applications each year, and UCAS do not directly receive your GCSE results.

However, on the UCAS website it is written that “[your chosen course providers] will need to see proof of the qualifications you listed in the ‘Education’ section of your application – this also means GCSE/National 5s and BTEC results.”

You can find this information and more about results on the UCAS website linked here.

Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier in the article, UCAS “screens applications for false information”, so although they may not receive your grades directly, they can and will check the validity of the grades you provided on your application.

If you haven’t lied about your GCSE results, though, you have nothing to worry about!

How does UCAS check your grades?

Since 2008, students in the UK have been assigned a Unique Learner Numbers (ULN).

Attached to your ULN is a Personal Learning Record, which is an online record of all your academic achievements and verified qualifications, including your GCSEs, BTEC awards and A-Levels.

You have to enter your ULN as part of your UCAS application, which means that UCAS and your chosen universities thus have access to your Personal Learning Record, and your results.

You can read more about a Unique Learner Number, what it is and what it’s used for, on this section of the UCAS website.

What happens if you lie on your UCAS application?

In the UCAS verification report introduction, UCAS states that “If information is incorrect, missing or an issue is raised, the application will be flagged, and applicants or their referees will be asked to provide additional information or clarification. If, ultimately, the issues cannot be resolved, the application may be cancelled. Applicants may appeal cancellation decisions.”

The 2021 UCAS verification report is linked for you here.

This essentially means that if you’re caught lying, your UCAS application will be cancelled for that academic year. UCAS take lying seriously, so if you’re serious about going to university, don’t lie on your application.

Can you submit another UCAS application?

You cannot submit more than one UCAS application per academic year, and this page of the UCAS website states that “duplicate applications will be detected and cancelled as part of the initial checking process conducted by UCAS.”

You won’t receive a refund for additional UCAS applications either, so it’s not worth trying to cheat the system.

However, once the next academic year begins, you can fill out a new UCAS application. Just remember to put in the correct GCSE results, and you’ll be fine.

Is there an additional cost for submitting another UCAS application?

Yes, you will have to pay the application fee again if you submit another UCAS application.

However, as I mentioned earlier, you can’t apply twice in the same academic year, and you won’t be refunded if you do submit a second application (which will inevitably be cancelled).

All of this can be avoided if you provide the correct GCSE grades on your UCAS application the first time around! It’s better to apply honestly than have to deal with the stress and financial costs, just for a few ‘better’ GCSE grades.

Do you have to put all your GCSE grades on your UCAS application?

You must include all of your GCSE qualifications on your UCAS application. Just like if you include false/fraudulent information, you will be found out and your application will be terminated, so just don’t try to get around the system.

Not including all your GCSE grades on your application is a breach of the agreement you make when you pay for and submit your UCAS application. For more information about whether you need to include all of your GCSE grades on your application, check out this page of the UCAS website.

Can you put only your good GCSE grades on your UCAS application?

I know it can be difficult putting grades you aren’t happy with on your UCAS application, but you’re not allowed to cherry pick just the good ones.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, UCAS and your chosen universities are given access to your ULN when you apply, meaning they will be able to see the record of your qualifications anyway.

That means that even if you do cherry pick just your ‘good’ GCSE grades, it won’t matter, because your full list of GCSEs will be available to view regardless.

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