Yesterday almost 117,000 students began their Leaving and Junior Certificate examinations. With times tough and jobs very hard to come by, the points required for many third level courses are likely to be even higher this year than they were last year.
This year's examinations, particularly the Leaving Certificate, will be significantly different from previous years. In an effort to boost the number of students studying science and engineering at third level, a special bonus of 25 points has been introduced for all students achieving at least a D grade in the higher level maths paper.
The Irish examination has also been tweaked with 40pc of the marks, up from 25pc previously, now being awarded for the ability to actually speak our first national language.
While the increased points being awarded for higher level Leaving Certificate maths seems to have had an impact, with a 24pc increase being recorded in the number of students registering to sit the higher level paper, this is likely to have knock-on effect and push up the points required for many third level courses.
The state examinations, particularly the Leaving Certificate, are a nerve-wracking time for many students.
Our advice to students is not to get too worried. Do your best and look forward to the rest of your life.
Good luck to everyone sitting the examinations.