Record-breaking A-level results

by Emily

Private tutors can be proud: this year's A-level exam results have broken all previous records. Here's our run-down of what today's A-level results mean for our tutees and the other 310,000 students who sat their exams this year:

Record A-level results

More than half of all grades were As or Bs, and the overall A-E pass rate was an impressive 97.5%. Over a quarter (26.7%) of all exams received an A grade, and more than three quarters received at least a grade C.

Only Northern Ireland experienced a fall in A-level results, with a 1% drop in the number of students receiving A grades. Nevertheless, students in Northern Ireland have outperformed their counterparts in England and Wales with an overall A-E pass rate of 98.4%.

It seems the traditional girl-boy divide is showing signs of improvement. Although A-level results for girls were still better than those for boys, the gap in the number of A grades narrowed to its lowest since 2003.

Results for more than 310,000 students across England, Wales and Northern Ireland were described by government ministers as the "sign of a thriving education system".

Traditional A-level subjects most popular

Today's results show that traditional subjects remain more popular A-level choices than so-called "soft" subjects. English and Maths were the top choices for A-level subjects. Certainly our experience bears this out: there are more searches for English tutors and Maths tutors every month than for any other subject.

There is hope for the sciences as well, despite a long-term downward trend. Biology was the third most popular A-level subject after English and Maths, and there was also an increase in Chemistry and Physics entries.

However, foreign languages did not fare so well. French entries dropped to a record low of 14,353 entries and A-level German received only 5,765 exam entries.

University places

Students who have not yet lined up places at university need to act quickly: the university admissions service (UCAS) said that 135,114 students were eligible for clearing this year - for only 22,000 places. Last year there were 112,000 eligible candidates for 43,000 places.