Almost 117,000 Leaving and Junior Certificate students have begun this year's State examinations.

More than 57,000 pupils will sit the Leaving and Leaving Cert Applied exams.

In changes to the examinations, there are an additional 25 points for students who opt for the Higher Level Leaving Cert Maths papers and get a D3 or higher.

There has been a 24% increase in the number of students intending to sit that paper as a result.

In the Irish exam, 40% of marks are being awarded for speaking ability in the language, up from 25% in previous years.