The Higher pass rate was down to 66.4 per cent from 72.4 per cent in 2009, when there was a stronger cohort. There is still evidence of candidates being presented at the wrong level.
The most notable good news about exam technique was that candidates - whose numbers rose to 6,557 from 6,333 in 2009 - were generally handling command words well, an area which has "improved considerably" in recent years.
On the downside, although it did not result in a loss of marks, some candidates tended to write excessively when handling the command word "describe". The command words "compare" and "distinguish" caused most difficulty.
Standard grade candidates were "very well prepared" for the exam at all levels. The percentage of Credit awards was down slightly. Among the difficulties at this level, there were widespread problems in describing the difference between gross profit and net profit.
At Advanced Higher, despite the average mark falling, markers commented that overall performance for the business report had improved. There was, however, a "significant increase in the gap in competency" from school to school.
Very poor performance in the report resulted in some candidates who scored well in the external examination failing to achieve any award.