The 2021 Leaving Certificate Examinations begin for 55,000 students today.
Many students are choosing to sit at least paper, while they also have the option to take accredited grades.
Almost 40,000 students have applied to sit exams in five or more subjects.
99% have opted for an Accredited Grade in at least one subject and 91% have opted to sit an examination in at least one subject.
Some 500 students sitting the new subject of computer science had an early start to their exams in May.
The Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has sent her best wishes to all students today.
Minister Foley said: “I would like to wish all students starting their Leaving Certificate examinations today the very best of luck. These exams are the culmination of many days and nights of hard work and I want to thank you for all your determination and efforts throughout a challenging period for all students.
“This is a unique year with students having the option of sitting the examinations and also receiving Accredited Grades. It is heartening to see so many students taking the exams this year while also having the second option of the State Examinations Commission Accredited Grades.
“I would also like to take this opportunity remind students of the public heath guidelines that should be followed throughout the next number of weeks during the examination period. You should limit your contacts and continue to follow the public health advice right up until 29 June. This is incredibly important to ensure all students have a fair opportunity to sit their exams.”