The proportion of A-levels awarded at least an A grade has fallen for the second year in a row, official figures showed today.
In total, 26.3 percent of entries scored an A or A* this year, down from 26.6 percent in 2012 - a drop of 0.3 percent. It is believed to be the second biggest fall in the history of A-levels.
The A*-A pass rate fell for the first time in more than 20 years last year.
The latest drop comes amid rising numbers of teenagers taking A-levels in science and maths.
Figures show around 345,300 student applicants have been accepted to their first choice of university.
A further 98,740 applicants are awaiting results or decisions, while 145,730 are eligible for clearing - the process that matches students without places to courses with vacancies.
The gateway to higher education swings open for many people today based on these results - congratulations to all of them.
Demand for higher education has recovered after a dip last year and universities are keen to accept qualified applicants.
For some, that means going through clearing where there are plenty of high quality vacancies. The Ucas website has all the information you need.
Students waiting to learn about university places can check whether they have been accepted by logging on to the Track service on the UCAS website.
Tom attended Plymouth College and officially picked up his results on Thursday.
Credit: Tom Daley/www.keek.com
Whether you are considering looking for a job, apprenticeship, course or a gap year, there is a website to help you.Read the full story ›
Thousands of students who do not get the results they hoped for still get places at university through clearing. Here's how it works.Read the full story ›
A record number of students have already been accepted on university courses with 385,910 securing a place, up nine per cent on this time last year, Ucas figures showed today.
Reforms to the A level and GCSE system will not devalue a degree, the University minister has told Daybreak.
David Willetts congratulated A level students on their hard work and dubbed University "a worthwhile experience" despite a dwindling job market and mountains of debt graduates can get into.
He also let slip his A level grades - two As, one B and a C.
The Government needs to "give more thought" to the students who did not get A-levels or equivalent qualifications, a leading teaching union has said:
We hope students get the grades they need tomorrow to enable them to go to university, get a training place or find a good job.
But we fear for those who don't, because their prospects don't look rosy at a time when nearly a million 16 to 24-year-olds are out of work.
All young people need the chance to show what they've learnt, whether they want to go to university or not, but these new exam proposals won't let them do that.
Last year saw the number of A grades slip for the first time in two decades, according to official figures.
It has been suggested a focus on more traditional subjects could fuel a slight drop.
- Last summer, the proportion of A-levels scoring at least an A grade fell for the first time in more than 20 years.
- Official figures for 2012 showed that 26.6 percent of the exams were given an A or A*, down from 27 percent in 2011 - a record drop of 0.4 percent.
- Around one in 12 (7.9 percent) exams were given an A* grade, down from 8.2 percent in 2011, while 76.6 percent of entries got at least a C grade, up from 76.2 percent the year before.
Ten per cent of students spend less £10 a week on food, according to a new survey.
The survey carried out by Student Beans.com for ITV News, found that 36 per cent of students have debts of more than £25,000.
Thousands of 18-year-olds are will receive the results of their A-level exams tomorrow morning which could determine whether they go to university.