A-Level Results Day 2016: Subject Winners and Losers

a-level results day 2016 has been and gone. How did your results go?

As you might be aware, yesterday was A-Level Results day 2016. Up and down the country, students received life-changing grades; which have a serious impact on their future aspirations. Results this year showed a minor drop in top level grades; for the 5th consecutive year in a row. But which subjects did the best overall, and which did the worst? In this blog, we’ll investigate what A-level results day 2016 showed.

A-Level Results Day 2016: Top marks

Approximately one quarter of A Level students received an A* or an A in their grades this year. While this might seem like a fairly low figure, the pass mark actually reflects the trend of the last 10 years; whilst still being a slight drop on the 25.8% of students who achieved the highest marks last year.

The A-level results day 2016 top subjects were exactly the same as in 2015. Both German and French did well; with over a third over students in these subjects achieving an A grade or higher, and Mathematics also did extremely well. Other foreign languages did extremely well too; with Irish second on the overall grade list. Further Maths was the top ranked subject, with 56% of students receiving an A grade or higher, and 88% receiving at least a C. Whilst languages performed really well; it was notable this year that the number of students taking the subject were down significantly. Languages have dropped from approximately 18,500 students to 13,500 students since 2011 – a worrying trend.

Not so good

The lowest ranking A-level results day 2016 subjects were ICT, Media, Film and TV Studies. Once again, this seems to follow a trend; where recent years have produced similar results. It seems that ICT and Media courses are really struggling to get their students top grades. More worryingly, ICT grades have slumped dramatically since 2011, with a 12% decrease in both marks and attendees. The number of students taking the course full stop has decreased by over 3000 in just 5 years. Critical Thinking, Communication Studies and General Studies prop up the bottom end of the grade table.

a-level results day 2016 showed new and familiar subject trends

Gender variation

Interestingly, it seems that the subject interest gender gap does not seem to have abated. There remains a significant difference between the subjects that boys and girls are taking, and indeed this follows on to university. Boys seem far more interested in subjects such as physics, ICT and tech; with these subjects largely male dominated, whereas girls seem to prefer arts and citizenship/sociological courses.

The most popular choice

So, after all the grades have been counted; what was the most popular subject choice of 2016? In order, the subject preference list was:

  • Maths. With 92163 students sitting the final exams; this was by far the most popular subject choice of 2016.
  • English. 84710 students sat the final English exam; marking an impressive year for the subject.
  • Biology. Biology maintained its spot as the most popular of the Sciences, with a tremendous 62650 students taking the final exam.
  • Psychology. Psychology took fourth spot, with 59469 students in total.
  • History. History rounded out the top 5, with an impressive 54731.

So, what does this tell us? Well, it continues the pattern we’ve seen in the last few years. Maths and computing have seen enormous rises in popularity since 2011; while subjects which are not recognised by top universities have dramatically fallen. Both critical thinking and general studies are indicative of this trend; with almost 50% less entries than 5 years ago.

a-level results day 2016 was full of highs and lows