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A-level results show record numbers of top grades

August 19th, 2010 by Emily

This year's A-level results have been described as "record-breaking" as around one in 12 exams were awarded the new A* grade which was brought in to help top universities select the very best candidates. First Tutors would like to offer warm congratulations to our A-level tutees and tutors - well done!

More than 69,000 exam entries (just over eight per cent of the total) were awarded the A* according to the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ).

To earn an A* a student has to score an A overall, plus at least 90% in each of their papers in the second year of their course.

More than one in four entries (just over 20 per cent) were awarded an A, a slight increase from last year.

The success comes in the first year of the revamped A-levels, in which students sit four modules instead of the previous six and answered new "stretch and challenge" questions designed to help them demonstrate their knowledge.

The most popular subjects this year were English, Maths, Biology, Psychology and History, with Modern Languages decreasing in popularity while the Sciences experienced a resurgence.

There was also good news for the overall pass rate, with 97.6 per cent of entries awarded an E or above. This was an improvement in the 97.5% pass rate in 2009 and marked the 28th year in a row in which A-level pass rates have increased.

Around 300,000 students received their results this year, but with more than 660,000 applications to undergraduate university courses, it has been predicted that up to 200,000 learners could miss out on their desired place.

David Willetts, the universities minister, said: "The most competitive universities really are very competitive indeed, so it does mean that there are people who can get three As at A-level and not find that they have got a place at those intensely competitive universities."

He advised students to have an insurance offer for a less competitive university and to "think about doing the things that would make their CV even more distinctive and stand out for universities next year."

Categories: A-level, Results