THE overall A-level pass rate dipped in the UK for the first time in more than 30 years, figures show.
The A*-E pass rate fell by 0.1 per cent to 98 per cent - the first time it has fallen in 32 years.
In total, just over one in four (26 per cent) of exams were awarded an A* or A grade, down 0.3 percentage points on last summer.
But the proportion of A* grades handed out rose to 8.2 per cent, up 0.6 percentage points on 2013.
In Wales, the proportion of students achieving A* to E grades fell slightly from 97.6% to 97.5%.
The number of pupils who gained A* grades is up from 6% in 2013 to 6.7%
In the UK, boys have outdone girls at A* grade for the third year running, with 8.5 per cent of boys' entries attaining the top mark, compared with 7.9 per cent of the girls.
The latest results come amid major changes to the system, with January exams scrapped, leaving fewer opportunities for students to re-sit papers. All exams are now taken in the summer.
The latest results, which show how pupils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have performed, show that an increasing number of students are choosing science, with the number electing to study biology, chemistry and physics rising by 2 per cent, while those taking maths has gone up by 0.9 per cent and further maths by 1.5 per cent.
The number studying English has gone down by 4.6 per cent, but even greater decreases can be seen in subjects such as political studies, which is down by 10.6 per cent, and general studies, which has dropped by a massive 24.3 per cent.