The overall pass rate for GCSE results has fallen slightly in Wales, and is lower than the UK average.
The GCSE pass rate has dipped but middle grades have risen
However, the proportion of exam entries attaining A* to C grades has risen slightly.
Girls are still outperforming boys. A total of 65.5% of girls' entries got grades A* to C, against 56.9% of boys'.
Candidates took 307,033 exam papers this year - the number has fallen by 2.7% compared with 2004, which reflects a fall in the size of the age-group.
This year, 97.7% of entries passed with grades A* to G, which is down 0.1 percentage points on 2004. It is also 0.1 below this year's UK average.
Although the overall pass rate has dropped, the percentage of passes at grade A* to C is 61.3%, a 0.6 percentage point increase on last year and 0.1 point higher than the 2005 figure for the UK.
Meanwhile, the number of candidates taking French and German has fallen. In 2004, 9,605 candidates took French, which fell to 8,997 in 2005, while the number of German exams dropped from 2,699 to 2,467.
This year was also the second year of results for the Welsh Baccalaureate Intermediate Diploma, which is being piloted by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Ninety-seven of the 193 candidates who completed the programme were awarded the full intermediate diploma.
Education Minister Jane Davidson congratulated GCSE students on their results, and thanked teachers and parents for their work and support.
"These results show that we are maintaining our very high standards and they also compare very favourably with the national picture. A pass rate of 98% is a credit to all concerned," she said.
Last week, the A-level pass rate in Wales rose to a new record high.
According to figures released last Thursday, A-level students took a total of 35,475 exams, and secured passes, with grades from A-E, in 96.8% of them.
This figure was up 0.3 percentage point on 2004 and was slightly more than the overall UK pass rate of 96.2%.
A national exam results helpline number - 0808 100 8000 - is open for the next few days offering free, confidential advice to school and college leavers.