One in 12 of all A-level examinations sat this year were awarded the new A* grade as the overall pass rate rose for the 28th year in a row.
As clearing opened this morning, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service confirmed that a record 379,411 applicants had already been accepted into university. However, an unprecedented scramble for the remaining places is anticipated as the overall A-level pass rate rose marginally from 97.5 per cent last year to 97.6 per cent.
Just under 70,000 A* grades were awarded, equal to 8.1 per cent of the total, and more than one in four entries ( per cent) were awarded an A grade. Figures reveal that girls achieved more A* grades than boys (8.3 per cent compared with 7.9 per cent).
The highest percentage of A* grades was awarded for further mathematics, where 29.9 per cent of candidates received the mark. The lowest percentage was awarded in media, film and TV studies, where just 1.8 per cent of pupils achieved the highest standard.
The figures also show an increase in the number of students taking science subjects, with biology entries up 4.3 per cent, chemistry up 3.7 per cent and physics up 5.2 per cent.
Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of Ucas, said this year was “perhaps the most competitive year for higher education admissions” in the past 10 years.