Almost 120,000 students began the Leaving and Junior Certificate examinations this morning. They are being tested in 80 subjects at centres throughout the country.

56,000 students are undertaking their Leaving Certificate exam and a further 57,000 are undertaking the Junior Cert.

The Teachers' Union of Ireland has criticised the timetable, arguing that the concentration of exams in such a short period of time leads to burnout and exhaustion. They have called for 'recovery time' for students between core exams.

There are some changes this year. The Biology, Home Economics and Arabic papers are different, reflecting revised syllabi in these three subjects. Students can also take Japanese for the first time this year.

And in recognition of increased diversity amongst candidates, non-native english speakers are for the first time allowed use dictionaries in most exams. The exams continue until 25 June.