But a quick look at last week's results may encourage some critics to think again.
They show pupils taking classical Greek were almost five times more likely to get an A grade than sociology students. Indeed, the list of subjects with the highest proportion of As reads like a traditionalists' A to Z of academic rigour.
Top of the pile is Russian. A staggering 87 per cent of the 532 candidates gained top marks. Next come classical Greek (83.9), Latin (64), Persian (60) and further maths (58).
By contrast, fewer than one in five students got A grades in sociology, general studies and media studies.
Traditionalists will argue that the subjects with high success rates are taken by the brightest pupils and offered mainly by elite private schools rather than "bog-standard" comprehensives.
But that begs the question: are toffs running scared of sociology?