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Dublin: 11 °C Sunday 17 February, 2019
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Good luck! Leaving and Junior Cert students begin exams this morning

Stress tests have a different meaning today for more than 116,000 third and sixth year students.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

D-DAY HAS ARRIVED for some 116,774 third and sixth year students as the State Examinations begin with English Paper One this morning.

Thousands of Leaving Cert and Junior Cert candidates are due in 4,786 exam centres by 9am, armed with their arsenal of pens, energy drinks, jellies, tissues and lucky charms.

Minister Ruairí Quinn has wished all students “the best of luck”, stating the next two weeks will be “the culmination of all their hard work” and “an opportunity to show all that they have learnt”.

And for some more scary and stressful facts and figures:

  • After a two-year preparation period, the exams are run off over a 13-day spell.
  • This is the 89th year of the formal Leaving Cert exams, which were first introduced in 1924.
  • It is, however, just the 21st year of the Junior Cert.
  • There are 4,800 superintendents involved in supervising the exams. They are now in charge of all the boxes holding 3 million papers (which use about 38 million A4 pages).
  • Including written and oral tests, there are about 6,000 teachers hired to mark the exams.
  • There are a total of 105 subjects, including 15 non-curricular languages such as Modern Greek, Polish and Lithuanian.
  • 17 teenagers are due to sit the Ancient Greek language exam.
  • Altogether, 57,789 students are due to begin the Leaving Cert today. That is a drop of 1,750 on last year.
  • Not forgetting the third years, there are 59,684 teens taking their first ever State Exams.
  • There are slightly more boys than girls taking the Leaving Cert exam (27,109 versus 26,627) this year.
  • At just 419, Leitrim has the lowest number of students sitting the Leaving Cert.
  • Always a talking point, there are more than 12,900 students registered to sit Higher Level Maths but that could drop by more than 2,000 on the day as Sixth Years panic and opt for the Ordinary Level paper instead.
  • Those who do pass the honours paper will receive a bonus 25 points for the CAO applications.
  • There are 53 Libyan students (30 girls and 23 boys) registered to sit the Leaving Cert. One will do so in Ireland, while the other 52 will travel to Malta.
  • Typewriting is a subject in the Junior Cert. Really.

The ASTI and Teachers Union of Ireland, as well as the State Examinations Commission, have wished all students the best as they approach their exams today. They have also warned against stress and putting too much emphasis on the exams, with the Irish Vocational Education Association reminding students to “keep the event in perspective”.

For all those who have already sat their Leaving Cert, you might enjoy this video sent in to us yesterday by Zenith Quinn, who describes the Irish final exam as a “big smelly doodoo”. There are about 57,789 people out there right now who might agree.

Message to Leaving Cert students: get to your exams on time>

The Libyan Leaving Cert: 53 Libyans registered to take Irish State Exam>

Fewer students to sit this year’s Leaving Cert>

Last year: Hey smartypants! Here’s your chance to know something that the country’s 55,000 Leaving Cert students probably don’t>

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