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* Differences show up even before children start school, although they tend to be tied up with social expectation

* Girls outscore boys in almost every subject - except maths - at almost every stage of education

* Research suggests that girls' command of written language is the most important factor in their higher test scores

* Subject choice reflects gender. In last year's A-levels, more than 23,500 boys took physics, compared with about 7,000 girls

* But more than 55,000 girls took English, compared with 23,000 boys

* Boys and girls answer questions in different ways: girls set things in context, boys consider questions in isolation

* Boys seem happier with multiple-choice. Some researchers believe it's because there's an element of risk

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