STUDENTS across Oxfordshire have started celebrating after ripping open their A-level results this morning.
Teenagers and mature students are learning whether they have got the grades they need to go to university or secure the job they want.
Nationally, it has been another record-breaking year of A-level results, with one in 12 exams achieving an A* grade.
But while the proportion of top grades rose, the percentage of exams scoring at least an A stalled for the first time in 15 years.
In total, 8.2 per cent of entries were awarded an A* this year, up 0.1 percentage points from 8.1 per cent last year, the first year the grade was introduced.
More than one in four (27 per cent) exams achieved at least an A, the same percentage as in 2010. The last time this percentage plateaued was in 1996 and 1997, when 15.7 per cent of exams were awarded at least an A.
Overall this year, the pass rate rose for the 29th year in a row, with 97.8 per cent of A-level entries receiving at least an E - up from 97.6 per cent last summer.
More than 250,000 teenagers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving their A-level results today.
But while many will already be celebrating, others still face a scramble to secure a university place.
More than 384,000 would-be students are believed to have already had university applications accepted, according to the latest Ucas figures, while around 185,000 people are eligible for clearing. Both figures are up on last year.
The A-level results were published as Universities Minister David Willetts stressed the importance of "traditional" A-level subjects for university admissions.
He said that subjects such as dance and media studies should not be recognised as core academic subjects.
Mr Willetts told the Daily Telegraph that the points system used in university admissions "sends a very bad message to young people by implying that all A-levels have an equal chance of helping them into university".