THE doors finally closed yesterday on almost 4,750 exam centres around the country as the last few hundred students sat religious education, Japanese, applied maths, Italian and technology.
In the past two-and-a-half weeks, 55,550 Leaving Certificate pupils, 57,732 Junior Certificate pupils and 3,245 Leaving Certificate applied candidates were tested in 90 subjects.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn yesterday urged young people to celebrate the end of the exams responsibly.
The papers proved onerous right up to the last day for those who sat applied maths.
Aidan Roantree of the Institute of Education said that while the paper was "well-received", the calculations tended to be time consuming, particularly question 4.
"Students were particularly pleased with Q1, 2 and 10," he said.
Christy Maginn, of ASTI and St Declan's College, Cabra, Dublin, agreed that the inclusion of two extra equations in question 4 made it "more of an endurance test".
Overall, he said the examiners had provided a "comprehensive" paper that would have allowed students to demonstrate what they knew, without needlessly tripping them up.
Commenting on the higher level paper, Aisling Flood of the ASTI and St Joseph's Secondary School, Newfoundwell, Drogheda, said the exam was "quite tough and challenging".
In particular, Section A (question 2) demanded great insight into the concepts of humanism and existentialism. She welcomed the fact that Section E on religion and gender offered candidates a choice, adding, "We would like to see this format apply to all questions."
Ms Flood said the ordinary level paper was "quite nice, with no major twists".
Robbie Cronin of the ASTI and Marian College, Ballsbridge, Dublin, said the higher level paper was "very good", with some interesting questions. A question on online businesses was "a bit unfair" but the literature section was ideal, he said.
Mr Cronin said the ordinary level paper was "very topical", with texts about Facebook and schoolbook costs, and the written section would have been "well-received".
Topical issues also appeared in technology, with both higher and ordinary level students asked about the Chilean miners' crisis and how the trapped men were brought to the surface.
Seamus Walshe of the ASTI and Presentation College, Askea, Carlow, said the questions helped students to see how technology could be used to solve human problems.
He said both papers were "probing but fair".
A further 259 Leaving Certificate students sat Japanese yesterday.
Leaving Certificate results will be available on Wednesday, August 17, while the Junior Cert results will be published in mid-September.