Tens of thousands of teenagers became the first to receive the results of tougher GCSE exams in English and Maths today.
For the first time they were awarded number grades instead of letters.
It's all part of reforms designed to raise standards.
Overall, passes dipped slightly - but for many pupils there was plenty to celebrate, as Christine Alsford reports.
A teenager from Hove has achieved one of the best set of GCSE results in the country.
Polly Milsom who is 16 and attends Brighton College, gained 13 A* grades, with an additional top grade A in advanced maths.
Polly said she was keen to continue training for her favourite sports of cricket, hockey and running at the same time as studying.
She added she was proud of her results and hoped to either enter the army or become a stockbroker after university.
She said: "I hope to go to university, probably Oxbridge and I have spent six weeks in the summer with the cadets in Canada so I am thinking of doing something with the army or working with banking, I really like maths so possibly a stockbroker, I am going to see how my A-Levels go and what I like doing."
She said that she planned to study maths, further maths, economics and chemistry at A-Level.
More than half a million students across the Meridian region are set to receive their GCSE results this morning. It comes amidst growing pressure on teenagers and ongoing exam reform. Less coursework and fewer opportunities mean many teenagers are sitting more than 20 different papers.
The number of students getting top GCSE grades is up for the first time in three years. The wait was finally over for thousands of teenagers this morning as they picked up those all important exam results. Juliette Fletcher has our round up.
A ten-year-old boy from Sussex is celebrating after passing his maths GCSE. Harry Rock sat the Foundation Level of the Edexcel exam and passed with a grade C.
A student whose dyslexia is so severe she did not learn to read or write until she was 10-years-old has achieved an A* in her English literature GCSE.
Holly Sayer also gained an A in English language in her results which totalled 10 GCSEs including two A*s, three As, two Bs and two Cs.
The 16-year-old, who studied at the Ark Charter Academy in Portsmouth, Hampshire, said: "There was a lot of stress involved and now I am really happy."
"Personally, I'm quite heavily dyslexic and yet my favourite subject is English. "The only way I could get round it was through the extra-curricular help that I was given."
She added: "I feel just a little bit chuffed, I think the hard work has most certainly paid off."
Sayer, who hopes to one day become a film director now hopes to complete her A-levels and go to Cambridge University or an Ivy League college.
Pupils are nervously opening their GCSE results across the Meridian region.
It comes after pupils are achieving higher GCSEs than before - however national figures show large swings in English and maths results
More students than ever across the south are achieving high GCSEs, but national figures also show large swings in English and maths results.
Head teachers said some schools were seeing "volatility" in results, warning that for some students, this could put their chances of a place at a top university such as Oxford or Cambridge, or their opportunity to go on to sixth-form college, at risk.
Results for England, Wales and Northern Ireland showed a sharp drop in English grades, with 61.7% of entries scoring A*-C, down 1.9 percentage points from last summer.
Exam chiefs suggested that the changes in results were down to recent education reforms, including removing speaking and listening from final English grades, a decision that in England, making only a teenager's first attempt at an exam count.
In recent years there had been a growing trend towards schools entering pupils for exams early, or multiple times, but the new rule has changed this, and figures published earlier this year showed around a 40% drop in early entry across all subjects.
"What I think is really of note is the change in the 15-year-old results overall," Mr Hall said. "What is driving that is the 'first result counts'. Only the students who are really strong in the school's judgment are being entered at 15, whereas before they were being entered to see how they get on."
Students from St John Fisher School in Kent are opening their GCSE results today to a mix of tears of joy and disappointment.
The biggest impact on this year's GCSE results have stemmed from changes that mean students did not sit exams early - compared to previous years when pupils could take their exams several times.