Thousands of Wigan teenagers have been discovering whether two years of hard work have paid off.
Thursday morning has seen students at the borough's five sixth form centres opening envelopes or finding out online how they have fared in their A-levels.
And early signs are that they have done very well.
At Orrell St John Rigby College' "class of 2019" have surpassed the achievements of previous years’ students with nearly 60 per cent of grades achieved being high grades (A*-B or equivalent).
The pass rate for Advanced Level courses has risen this year and has been above 98 per cent for five consecutive years.
Bosses say these grades give further cause for celebration in what continues to be the most successful period in the college’s history.
Principal, Peter McGhee said: “Our students work extremely hard to become the best that they can possibly be and are supported in doing this by staff who remain tireless in their efforts.
"This hard work and dedication has culminated in another day of celebration for our students, their families and our staff.
"These are excellent results from a wonderful group of young people who have much to contribute in the fields to which they are progressing.
"The main contributory factors to our students’ successes are the academic and pastoral care that they receive and the extra time that our staff spend with them outside of ‘normal’ lessons.
"We provide extra time for study and additional support and we also invest time in their future planning and employment skills through our Elective Programme within which students learn more about chosen career pathways from employers and through project work.
"It has been a joy and a privilege to work with these young people and I wish them well in their future careers and the opportunities that they have now created for themselves.”
Meanwhile at Winstanley College, students achieved a pass rate of 99 per cent with 31 per cent of those being A/A* grades, way above the national average of 25.
Some 99 students got 3 or more As or A*s and the majority of students secured their first choice place, many of them at Russell Group universities, including 10 students who will be going on to Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
Principal Louise Tipping said: “Congratulations to the class of 2019. We are delighted with today’s results and are excited to see where their future studies take them.
"Once again, dedicated and talented staff have worked tirelessly to support these hard-working students and it’s great that all that combined effort has paid off.
"I’m so proud that Winstanley continues to be at the top of its game!”
The Deanery Sixth Form are celebrating another exceptional set of results this year with a 98 per cent pass rate and 91 per cent of grades in A levels and L3 BTECS being A*-C or equivalent.
The number of top A-level grades at the Deanery are at a seven-year high, despite the introduction of new “tougher” linear exams. It has surpassed previous years' figures with 68 per cent of students achieving A*-B or equivalent and 43 per cent of students achieving A*-A or equivalent.
Some 93 per cent of university applicants received their first choice place.
Headteacher Martin Wood said: “This is an outstanding performance from our hardworking students, and we are immensely proud of them all.
"These excellent results and improvements in high grades have been achieved despite tougher examinations.
"The results reflect the hard work of the students and staff alike. Each and every result will help to ensure successful futures for our students.
"The majority will be continuing with their studies at University but many of our students have also secured sought-after degree level apprenticeships; we wish all of them the very best for the future.”
Students and staff at Wigan and Leigh College were celebrating an outstanding 100% pass rate in A-levels and 99.9 per cent pass rate in Advanced Vocational qualifications.
Bosses said it has been another special year for the A Level Professional Honours Programme with the majority of students achieving A* to B ensuring that they secure their next step to study at university or a degree apprenticeship.
Principal Anna Dawe said: “Our A Level Professional Honours Programme and Vocational students have surpassed themselves once again and I am delighted with the results.
"Our students undertake additional vocational qualifications related to their career and have completed substantial industry placements and we are extremely proud of their achievements.
"Their academic attainment combined with the technical skills they’ve developed means they can choose between the excellent university offers they’ve received and degree apprenticeship opportunities that are now available.
"We wish all of our students every success for their future. ”
At Astley St Mary's Sixth Form, one in four grades awarded were A*/A or their equivalent and over 99 per cent achieving A* to E or the equivalent.
Headteacher Andrew Dawson said: “The results that the students have achieved are outstanding and say so much about our young people and they are a reflection of their innate ability, hard work and determination.
"We all know that natural ability needs to be nurtured, challenged and channelled and I thank all the staff within the school who have supported our students academically and pastorally which is all the more difficult with so many new examinations .
"These results are the key to enable our students to confidently take their next step in life to university, further training or work.”
Coun Jenny Bullen, portfolio holder for children and young people at Wigan Council, said: “I’d like to congratulate all the young people who have worked tirelessly to receive their results today.
"I hope that the hard work our young people have put into their studies will have earned them the results they hoped for.
“Many will now be embarking on exciting new chapters in their lives and I wish them well in whatever they decide to do next, whether it’s taking up a place at university or moving into the world of work.
“We do recognise however, that not everything is that straightforward and for any young person who did not achieve the results they expected, it can be an extremely challenging time.
"But please be assured, you are not alone, there is a wide range of support available to assist you including directly from your school or college.”
*Students can call the exam results helpline on 0800 100 900, go to ucas.com, or if they would rather speak to someone in person, careers advisors will be at both Wigan and Leigh Life Centres from 1pm to 4pm on Thursday.
Nationally the proportion of candidates receiving top grades is the lowest since 2007. A total of 25.5 per cent of entrants scored either an A or A*, down on 26.4 per cent in 2018. The equivalent figure for 2007 was 25.3.
Some 7.8 per cent of entrants received an A*, down from 8.0% last year. This is the lowest level since 2013, when it was 7.6.
A total of 75.8 per cent received a C or above, down from 77 in 2018 and the lowest level since 2010.
The overall pass rate (grades A* to E) was 97.6 per cent, unchanged on last year. This is the lowest pass rate since 2010, when it was also 97.6.
Girls have reclaimed their lead over boys in the top grades. The proportion of girls who got A or higher was 25.5 per cent, 0.1 percentage points higher than boys (25.4 per cent). Last year boys led girls by 0.4 points (26.6 boys, 26.2 girls). Boys first took the lead in 2017, following a long period in which girls had been ahead.
The gap between the best-performing boys and girls has fallen slightly. The proportion of boys who got A* was 8.2 per cent, 0.7 percentage points higher than girls (7.5).
The most popular subject this year was maths. It was taken by 91,895 entrants, down 5.9 per cent on 2018.
Fewer students have been accepted on to UK degree courses this year, Ucas figures show.
In total, 408,960 people, from the UK and overseas, have had places confirmed, down one per cent on the same point last year, according to data published by the university admissions service.
Among UK students alone, 348,890 applicants have been accepted, also a one per cent fall compared to 2018.
A record 33,630 international students - those from outside the EU - have found places, Ucas said, adding that this has been driven by a 32 per cent rise in accepted applicants from China.
And there has been a small increase in the number of EU students accepted on to UK degree courses, with 26,440 confirmed so far.
But the number of UK 18-year-olds taking up places has fallen by just under one per cent to 199,370. This comes amid a 1.9 per cent drop in the population of this age group in the UK.