Published Thursday, 22 August 2013
The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) released this year's statistics on Thursday morning.
English language A* to C grades rose 0.6 percentage points to 68.8% while mathematics improved slightly moving up from 62.9% in 2012 to 64.6% this year.
Results for biology in this bracket increased, but physics and chemistry decreased.
The number of top A* grade awarded to pupils fell to 8.7% compared to 8.9% the previous year.
However, the proportion of overall entries awarded A* - C grades was up - to 76.5% in 2013 from 75.6% last year.
Girls continued to outperform boys across the grades, with the gap widening.
The proportion of girls who achieved the top mark A* grade remained unchanged at 10.8%.
However, the boys did not perform as well in this category.
At A* - C grades, the boys results rose from 72.0% last year to 72.6% this time around.
But, the girls increased the gap with 80.3% of entries gaining C or above in 2013, compared to 79.3% last year.
Exam entries jumped by almost 5'000 to 176,301 and subjects such as history, geography and engineering were among the many which saw an increase in popularity.
French remains the most popular modern language among entrants, however, the downward trend for French and German continues. The number of students sitting Spanish and Irish exams rose once again.
CCEA Director of Qualifications, Anne Marie Duffy said: "Congratulations to all students on an excellent set of results. It's very pleasing to see an increase in performance at A* - C across English and mathematics, subjects that provide access to a wide range of courses and routes to employment. The STEM subjects continue to attract increased entries and to show a strong performance in terms of grades awarded."
Ms Duffy said that it was the first time since 2007 that there was an upturn in the number of GCSE entries in Northern Ireland.
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"This is broadly in line with a rise in this year's Year 12 school population and is evidence of the continued value placed on GCSE qualifications."
© UTV News