This year's postponed Leaving Certificate exams have begun, with fewer than 2,600, or around 4%, of this year's candidates expected to participate.

In a process that will run over the next four weeks, there will be one examination each weekday evening and two per day on Saturdays and Sundays.

The majority of candidates have opted to sit exams in just one or two subjects.

One-third will sit an exam in one subject only, while an additional 24% have applied to be examined in two subjects. Just 112 students will sit exams in seven or more subjects.

Biology is the most popular subject with 1,003 registrations. It is followed by Maths, which has 984 candidates registered. Third in popularity is English, followed by Chemistry, and Irish.

Students who received calculated grades this summer were given the option of also sitting their exams.

They will be credited with whichever mark is higher. Candidates were allowed to register to sit as few or as many subjects as they wished.

The exams, which include Leaving Certificate Applied tests, will take place at 574 schools and other centres across the country.

There are also 60 adult learners and early school leavers sitting their Junior Certificate exams.

The State Examinations Commission said that all aspects of the process will be run in accordance with public health advice, which includes social distancing and the wearing of appropriate face coverings by superintendents and candidates.

Candidates cannot attend if they have tested positive for Covid-19 or are experiencing symptoms.

Results from the exams are expected to issue in early February.

Any student who received an improved CAO offer on foot of these results will be offered a deferred college place for the next academic year.