Performance at the top grades has improved for English and mathematics GCSEs in Northern Ireland.
There were also better results for science subjects, including physics and biology. Girls outshone boys at all levels in grades A*-C.
The results were better than England and Wales, with three quarters of Northern Ireland pupils obtaining A*-C, according to examining body CCEA.
The number of entries has decreased in line with declining numbers of young people. A total of 186,217 sat the exams.
CCEA director of qualifications Anne Marie Duffy said: "Our students have again produced an excellent set of GCSE results and they should be proud of what they have achieved.
"It is encouraging to see that the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects remain a popular choice, particularly the sciences.
"Preparation for GCSEs requires a huge amount of work and commitment. Our students, their teachers and their parents are to be commended for their efforts. I wish them every success and hope they continue to excel in their future studies and careers."
Performance increased at the top grades A*-A by 0.6% in English and 0.5% in mathematics.
A total of 8.5% obtained an A*, down from 8.9% the previous year but better than the English, Welsh and Northern Irish average of 7.8%.
For A*-A the proportion in Northern Ireland increased to 27.7%.