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Long wait ends as students get A-Level results

By Lisa Smyth

The waiting was finally over today for thousands of Ulster A-Level students with the publication of the much anticipated examination results.

Education experts were keen to see whether the unprecedented examination success of the past quarter of a decade would continue among this year's batch of students.

Last August, a record number of teenagers scored top grades in their A-Levels as the national pass rate increased for the 24th year in a row.

The number of exam entries awarded an A grade rose sharply from 22.8% in 2005 to 24.1% last year, according to figures from the exam boards.

There was an even more dramatic rise in top grades given for maths A-Level - up by nearly three points to 43.5% of all exam entries this year.

While many students will be delighted with their results, today marked the beginning of an anxious wait for those teenagers who did not achieve the grades required for their degree course.

Ulster parents were today urged to provide emotional comfort and support to their children as the countdown to the results finally came to an end this morning.

Pip Jaffa, chief executive of Parents Advice Centre, which has offices in Belfast, Londonderry, Dungannon and Ballymena, said that parents must remember to remain as calm as possible if their children do not attain their expected grades.

"Your son or daughter may well be upset and this is understandable. He or she will need emotional comfort and practical advice. You will need to sit down with them and look at the situation before deciding on the next steps."

Meanwhile, the Belfast Telegraph will publish its annual UCAS supplement on Monday, which will include details on the available full-time and sandwich higher education course vacancies for the most popular universities and colleges for applicants from Northern Ireland.

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