Credit candidates were disadvantaged by a tendency for schools to give them "mundane" topics such as "Ma famille" and "La nourriture", while Foundation students were hampered by poor dictionary skills. Poor standards of English saw many lose marks.
The number of Standard grade applicants dropped from 33,838 in 2006 to 32,315 this year. There was a rise in Intermediate 1 (1,465 to 1,578) and Intermediate 2 (2,668 to 3,275).
At Intermediate 1, poor performances in writing suggested some centres were finding it difficult to present candidates at the right level. The performance in reading was "very encouraging".
At Intermediate 2, performance was good across all four language skills. Listening remained difficult. This was also a problem in Intermediate 1.
Schools were advised to stress the importance of good handwriting and the difference between rough notes and a final answer.