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A level results 2023: Boys pull ahead of girls at A*

The A-level gender gap has narrowed as boys have reclaimed their lead over girls in the highest A* grade as A level results drop today.

Girls continue to outperform boys overall, with the proportion of girls who got A or higher this year at 27.5 per cent, 0.6 percentage points higher than boys. Last year, girls led boys by 2.2 percentage points.

But the proportion of boys who got A* this year was 9.1 per cent, up 0.3 points on girls. Girls had moved in front of boys in 2020 and remained ahead in 2021 and 2022. Boys had led girls at A* from 2012 through to 2019.

Meanwhile, the number of A-level students awarded A* and A grades has fallen by 9.2 percentage points after exam boards returned to pre-pandemic grading standards.

Students receiving their exam results today face a clearing scramble as a reduced number of university places are expected to be offered this year.

A total of 27.2 per cent of entries were awarded either an A or A*, down from 36.4 per cent last year, with 73,000 fewer top grades than in 2022.

Grades were higher than in 2019, the last time the summer exams were taken before the Covid outbreak, up from 25.4 per cent.

The overall pass rate – the proportion of entries graded A* to E – has fallen to 97.3 per cent this year, which is down from 98.4 per cent in 2022 and 97.6 per cent from 2019.

Maths remained the most popular subject for the 10th year in a row, with 96,853 entries, up 1.3 per cent from 2022.

Psychology remains the second most popular subject, with 80,493 entries, up 2.2 per cent on 2022. The third most popular subject was biology once again. It had 74,650 entries, a rise of 3.7 per cent.

For the first time economics entered the top 10 most popular subjects, with 39,141 entries, up 7.3 per cent from 36,483 in 2022.

The number of top grades handed to students had been expected to drop, with exam board braced for a record number of A-level appeals.

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