There has been a 24% increase in the number of Leaving Certificate students applying to sit the Higher Level maths paper this year.

According to the State Examinations Commission, almost 12,900 students intend sitting the Higher Level paper when the Leaving Cert begins next week.

The rise coincides with the introduction of bonus points for the subject at higher level.

From this year students who get a D3 or more at Higher Level get 25 additional points.

The bonus points are aimed at incentivising students in the middle-ability range, however it is not known how many students will actually sit the Higher Level paper on the day.

Every year around one in five applicants drops back to Ordinary Level at the last minute.

The Irish Universities Association has described these initial figures as encouraging.