A new qualification that allows A-level entrants to study a subject in-depth and produce a final dissertation has been taken up by more than 20,000 students.
The extended project qualification (EPQ) is a free-standing AS qualification intended to "stretch the more ambitious scholar".
Students getting their EPQ results today have given themselves a great head start at university, said exam board AQA.
More than 20,000 students have taken AQA's EPQ this summer, a 20% increase on last year.
Charlotte Christie, Qualifications Manager for AQA's EPQ, describes it as a real success story:
"It's about more than just the results the students have achieved today: many universities really advocate the EPQ, as it bridges the higher education skills gap better than anything else.
“The EPQ students will already have a genuine taste of what studying for a degree is actually like. All round they are better prepared for university – in terms of their academic skills, data handling and presentation. But they are also ahead of the game when it comes to many other things, including getting the most out of the university library - thanks to their research skills .”
335,000 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are receiving their A-level results today.