More students took GCSEs and A-levels in 'traditional' subjects this summer, according to Ofqual.
Provisional figures from the exams regulator reveal that entries for English, maths, science and computing qualifications all increased, BBC News reports.
Ofqual stated that the rise was likely to be due to government efforts to encourage youngsters to study more academic subjects.
It has introduced performance indicators such as the English Baccalaureate, which measures the percentage of students in a school who achieve more than five A* to C grades in English, a language, maths, science and history or geography at GCSE.
A further influence is likely to be the recommendation of leading universities that students avoid subjects they perceive to be less rigorous.
Back in 2011, the Russell Group published guidance advising students to study traditional subjects at A-level and to take at least two choices from a list of 'facilitating subjects' such as English and maths.
"These [traditional] subjects are seen to be very good currency for university," said Ofqual chief executive Glenys Stacey.
"We know maths is a requirement for some courses and is extremely well regarded and so it's not surprising that students with those sorts of ambitions will focus on them."
The Ofqual data also reveals a decline in subjects such as modern languages and citizenship, with the latter falling by 50 per cent. Modern languages have declined more steadily, despite being valued by employers.
A-level candidates are set to receive their results on Thursday 13 August, while GCSE candidates will get theirs during the following week.
Posted by Alan Douglas