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This year's A level results have just come out and biology was a very popular subject as always, accounting for 7.7% of all A levels taken, compared to chemistry at 6.4% and physics at 4.4%.

The number of UK biology candidates rose from last year by 0.2% (from 63939 to 64070). There was also a great 2% combined increase in the number of candidates taking biology, chemistry and physics.

This year's results were pretty stable compared to last year. 72% of biology candidates achieved A*-C grades which is a slight decrease on 73.7% last year.

Biology reflected the general trend with a higher proportion of A*s than last year (rising 1.4% to 9.4% of grades) and a dip in A*-As (falling 0.8% to 27.5% of grades).

There are several factors that could possibly contribute to this pattern in results. The A* has become more important for highly selective universities so it provides a greater incentive for students. Also it is important to note that this is the first year in which the exams have been linear, with no exams in January, so no chance to retake January modules in the summer. This might mean that while the best students continued to get A*s first time, those who previously would have retaken modules in order to achieve an A, now didn't have the chance.

59% of the biology candidates this year were female compared to 58% last year. Female candidates outperformed male candidates by nearly 2% at A*-C (72.8% of females candidates achieved A*-C compared to 70.9% of male candidates).

If you or someone you know collected biology A level results on Thursday we hope that it went well. The Society of Biology careers pages can provide lots of advice if you are interested in a career in the biological sciences.

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