Girls continue to outperform their male counterparts in the Leaving Certificate exam, according to the State Examination Commission.

At Higher Level, out of 38 subjects examined they achieved consistently more As and Bs in all but four areas.

Only in maths, applied maths, construction studies and agricultural economics did male candidates do better.

Girls favour languages and subjects like biology or art, while boys are more likely to opt for technical subjects such as engineering or construction studies.

The SEC has also revealed that it has decided to withhold 50 individual exam results because of suspected cheating by candidates - a figure that is slightly higher than previous years.

A further 52 results are being temporarily withheld while investigations continue.