Let us offer our prayers and best wishes to them as they sit their exams.
Over 115,000 students across the country have begun their Leaving and Junior Certificate exams today.
Exams in 89 subjects will take place at 4,500 exam centres around Ireland over the next few weeks
As well as the curricular subjects, native speakers from across the EU will sit exams in their mother tongue at Leaving Cert level in 15 non-curricular languages including Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian and Latvian.
Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe this morning sent his best wishes to the 55,383 Leaving Cert students, 56,513 Junior Cert students and 3,269 Leaving Cert Applied students who are due to begin exams.
The Minister admitted that the State exams can be stressful for students and their families.
'I want to send my very best wishes to each student sitting the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert exams over the coming weeks,” said Mr O’Keeffe.
“It's very important that you keep the exams in perspective and bear in mind that there are many opportunities for you to continue your education after the Leaving Certificate,” he said in a direct message to students.
Leaving Cert students are expected to have a more user-friendly exam timetable this week after a review by the State Exams Commission (SEC).
The SEC has continued rebalancing the examination timetable after concerns that the old timetable was too demanding on students.
The SEC says it has designed this year’s timetable to find a better balance between those papers with a strong writing requirement and those with a strong maths/science basis.
The timetable also gives a better balance between subjects that almost all candidates take and minority subjects, especially over the critical first week of exams.
Most students also now benefit from a free half-day in the first three days of the exams.
This year, students will no longer be asked to take English and chemistry on the one day. Instead, the chemistry exam has been moved to next week and replaced by engineering. The moves comes after feedback received by the Department of Education from a panel of students last year.
This year’s timetable sees two new subjects – technology and design and communications Graphics (which will replace Technical Drawing). This year, 343 students will sit the Leaving Cert exam in Polish while 183 will take Lithuanian.
The exams began this morning with English Paper 1 and Home Economics.
Exam results are due to be issued on August 12th.
This year, the exams are estimated to cost about €70 million to run, €9 million of which is funded directly by students who pay fees of €109 for the Leaving Cert and €103 for the Junior Cert exams.