Page last updated at 08:48 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 09:48 UK

NI students top of A-level class

Foyle and Londonderry College pupils Edwina Heggarty, Sinead Magner and Nina Singh celebrate straight As
Three Foyle and Londonderry College pupils celebrate straight As

Northern Ireland A-Level students have again outperformed those in England and Wales, with 35.4% gaining an A grade compared to the 25.9% overall figure.

Despite fears of declining interest in science subjects, Biology was the most popular A-Level with 10.9% studying it.

Girls again outperformed boys, but the gap between those achieving A grades this year narrowed from 3.9% to 2.5%.

Students disappointed by their results were advised by the Careers Service not

to make any hasty decisions.

Careers advisor Margaret McGuigan said students should be careful if they did not get the grades they wanted.

"They feel they just need to take a course, for the sake of a course. We would utter a word of caution, just try not to make hasty decisions," she said.

Students who want to query a grade can ask for a remark. Last year, about 200 students got higher grades after paying for a remark, but applications must be made by 22 August.

Traditional subjects

Northern Ireland's awarding body, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CEA), said traditional subjects remained the most popular.

Biology was the most commonly taken subject, followed by English, Mathematics, History and Religious Studies.

There was a increase in Chemistry and Biology entries, while Physics remained constant, CEA said.

Languages also continue to do well, the examinations body said, with increased entries in French and German and a slight decrease in Irish and Spanish.

Overall, the gap between girls and boys achieving A to E grades was just 0.5%.

The number of students receiving A-Level grades was 30,020, a slight decrease for the third year running.

Students or parents with concerns over results should contact CCEA's Exams Helpline on 028 9026 1260, email, or visit the frequently asked questions section of the CCEA website.

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