Results for National Courses 2012

The Scottish Qualifications Authority announces details of the 2012 National Course results.
Examination certificates are being sent to 158,908 candidates, down from 159,744 in 2011. The slight decrease reflects falling school rolls across the country. Collectively over the period from April 25 – June 8, those involved in taking traditional examinations, as opposed to those involved in continuous assessment, sat some 732,000 exams. They did so at nearly 550 schools and colleges with the examinations being set, monitored, marked and quality assured by nearly 15,000 SQA appointees.

All candidates will receive their certificates in the traditional manner by postal delivery.

Those candidates who activated their MySQA accounts whereby results are sent by text message to their mobile phone and/or by email are due to receive their results by 9.00am on Tuesday, August 7. This year 35,084 candidates have opted for this service.


The entries for National Courses have increased this year despite the slight fall in the number of candidates at all levels between Intermediate 1 and Advanced Higher. There continues to be a move away from Standard Grade to Access 3, Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2 levels.

Pass rates remain broadly stable with some improvements in performance being seen and this is particularly so at Higher and Access 3 levels. Percentage pass rates at all levels are shown below.  (The percentage point difference from 2011 is indicated in brackets). 

  • Scottish Baccalaureate – 79.1% (-1.3)
  • Advanced Higher – 80.1% (+0.9)
  • Higher – 76.9% (+1.8)
  • Intermediate 2 – 80.2% (-0.1)
  • Intermediate 1 – 76.1% (+0.2)
  • Standard Grade overall 98.9% (+0.4) – of which 48.1% (+1.3) achieved Credit level, 40.0% (-0.3) achieved General level and 10.8% (-0.6) achieved Foundation level
  • Access 3 – 93.2% (+1.2)
  • Access 2 – 62.5% (0.0)

Revision of Higher sciences

This year was the first in which candidates were offered the opportunity to participate in the revised Higher sciences (Higher Biology, Higher Chemistry, Higher Human Biology and Higher Physics). The aim of the revisions is to update the content and context of qualifications in order to reflect the significant changes which have taken place within the field of science.  Additionally some adjustments have been made to the assessments to allow learners to show how they can apply their science learning in unfamiliar situations.

Schools and colleges presenting Higher science candidates could choose to do so under the existing or the new arrangements. As expected, the numbers of those opting for the revised arrangements were relatively small with 810 candidates taking the new courses and 33,431 taking existing courses. Feedback on the revised Highers from the teaching profession is positive in terms of a range of benefits, one of which is allowing for deeper understanding, learning and application.

Examinations in the medium of Gaelic

This year saw an increase in the number of candidates taking subjects in the medium of Gaelic. These included Standard Grade and Higher Maths (Matamataig), Standard Grade History (Eachdraidh), Standard Grade Modern Studies (Nuadh-Eòlas) and Standard Grade Geography (Cruinn-Eòlas) - 110 entries in total.

This reflects the increased numbers of candidates taught in the medium of Gaelic earlier in their school lives and who are now taking qualifications.

In line with SQA's commitment to the Gaelic language, this is also the first year in which the 68 candidates who took these subjects will have Gaelic-medium subject qualification titles displayed on their certificates.

Commenting upon this year’s results, Dr Janet Brown, SQA’s chief executive and Scotland’s chief examining officer, said:

“Today, in what has become a rite of passage for generations of Scottish young people, nearly 160,000 candidates will have their hard work recognised through their achievement of SQA qualifications.

“I want to congratulate everyone and whether they will be returning to school or college, moving on to Higher Education or entering the workplace I wish them continued success.

“The increased number of qualifications achieved by candidates not only reflects their hard work and commitment but also the value they place on qualifications, particularly in this difficult economic climate.

“As we celebrate the success of Scotland’s learners, I want to offer my thanks also to all of the teachers and lecturers who have supported them in their learning. I would also like to thank all SQA staff and our 15,000 appointees who ensure that the massive task of delivering the results within a robust and stable environment continues year after year.”

SQA Candidate Advice Line

Ou Candidate Advice Line will open on Tuesday 7 August and close on Friday 10 August. The Advice Line will operate during the following times:

  • Tuesday 7 August, from 8am-6pm
  • Wednesday 8 August, from 8am-6pm
  • Thursday 9 August, from 9am-5pm
  • Friday 10 August, from 9am – 5pm

The Advice Line number is 0345 279 1000 and the e-mail enquiry address is  The SQA Candidate Advice Line provides advice for candidates on the content and layout of their certificate.

Exam Results Helpline:

Exam Results Helpline Service provided by Skills Development Scotland will operate between Tuesday 7 August and Wednesday 15 August 2012.

The Helpline will operate during the following times:

  • Tuesday 7 August and Wednesday 8 August, 8am-8pm
  • Thursday 9 August - Wednesday 15 August, 9am-5pm

The Helpline number is 0808 100 8000.  The Exam Results Helpline offers candidates impartial careers advice and information on university vacancies and college options.