Almost 57,000 students intend sitting this year's Leaving and Leaving Certificate Applied exams that begin next week, slightly more than figures for the past two years.

Some 53,000 candidates have applied to sit the Leaving Certificate while a further 3,500 have registered for the Leaving Cert Applied.

The State Examinations Commission, which runs the exams, has released figures that reveal a more diverse student cohort than ever before.

The impact of recent immigration is reflected in a steep rise in candidates being examined in so called non-curricular language subjects.

These are exams in other EU languages that are offered to native speakers only.

The number applying to sit these exams has more than doubled compared to last year.

The number of candidates applying to sit the Polish exam has more than tripled from 53 to 179, while the number expected to sit the Lithuanian exam has doubled.

While three times more candidates have applied to sit an exam in the Rumanian language.

More candidates with disabilities are receiving special accommodation too.

Numbers receiving assistance, such as Braille papers or spelling or grammar waivers, has risen by 60% over the past four years.

This year's exams begin on Wednesday.