Students have raised their game in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE), with more than 50,000 scoring high enough marks to get into sixth form. English, Chinese and mathematics all improved compared with last year, results announced yesterday showed. The results show 61 per cent of 140,000 candidates obtained at least a pass, or Grade E, in English language (Syllabus B), against 58.3 per cent last year. Almost 60 per cent passed Chinese and 71.8 per cent passed mathematics. Some 38 per cent - 50,521 - scored at least six passes, giving them the minimum sixth-form course requirement. At the top end, 23,260 scored at least 14 points in six subjects, giving them the right to apply to their own choice of feeder school or other schools for Form Six places. The results show that 16.5 per cent of pupils failed every exam, a slight fall on last year. A total of 62 per cent of 1,794 candidates passed Putonghua, which was introduced for the first time this year. Nine cases of cheating were reported this year. Examination Authority Secretary Choi Chee-cheong attributed the improvement to the efforts of schools and their pupils. 'It's absolutely not because the Examination Authority has lowered examination standards,' he said.