Britain's 250,000 A-level candidates will soon be spared the agonising wait until mid-August for their exam results, according to the head of the Government's exams watchdog.
Dr Ken Boston, the chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, said that - even this year - the results could have been brought forward by four to five days.
In future, he predicts, results will be ready by mid-July - with students applying for university courses after they have received them instead of being awarded places on provisional grades, 45 per cent of which prove to be false.
By 2012, they should be out by 3 July, early enough to relax and enjoy that year's London Olympics.
"There's no reason why they couldn't have three text messages telling them their results at 7am on the Monday of the week the results come out,"Dr Boston said.
"The exam boards get the results before the previous weekend. They could easily send them out by computer to each individual." This could shave up to five days off the wait for results.
An experiment in online marking by one of the exam boards, Edexcel, could save another week. It is set to be adopted nationwide within the next few years.
New technology for marking exams will soon end the current university admissions system - under which candidates are given provisional offers based on prospective grades, he said.Reuse content