Official figures show the gap between the very top-performing girls and boys at A-level has narrowed for the first time in five years.
The proportion of A* being awarded to students in 2016 has also dropped from 25.9% last year to 25.8% this year. Early UCAS figures show a record number of almost 424,000 A-levels students have now been placed in UK higher education, increasing by 3%.
Boys continued to earn more A* grades, with 8.5% of pupils achieving the very top grade, but for all marks overall, girls continue to slightly out-perform their male counterparts.
Michael Turner, the director general of the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ), said: "Overall, outcomes are relatively unchanged.
"However, the shift in entry patterns and the introduction of new specifications in reformed subjects could lead to a greater volatility in year-on-year results in some schools and colleges than is experienced in a typical year."