Leaving and Junior Certificate students have just one more sleep before they begin their long-awaited exams.

There are 131,000 students due to sit State Examinations this summer.

The exam set up is back to normal, with Junior Cert exams returning for the first time since 2019.

While there were Leaving Cert exams last year, those students also had the option of receiving calculated grades.

The measure introduced during the pandemic has now been scrapped and traditional marking will take place once the exams are completed.

Deferred exams in special circumstances, including a close family bereavement or serious illness that were introduced in 2019, have this year been extended to include students who have symptoms of or who test positive for Covid-19.

These deferred exams will be held at a later date.

Aidan Lynch, Principal of Tallaght Community School, welcomed what he called "some semblance of normality" when it came to the exams.

He said the early decision to hold in-person exams meant students could focus their minds.

"They'll all be here, nervous and excited from around 9am," he said, adding that the exams are the "culmination of all those years of hard work".

He said that for some subjects, there were more options and extra time due to changes made on account of the disruption caused in recent years during the pandemic.

"They're well prepared, and as we always say to them, this is the opportunity to show what they know."

This evening, students are advised to wind down and de-stress before the first English exam tomorrow.

"It's completely normal to feel uneasy and unsettled," says Mike Mansfield from Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health.

"For this evening, try as best you can to take it easy, get to bed early, acknowledge all the work you've done up until now, and try to step into tomorrow with energy and enthusiasm."

He said that for many people the Leaving Cert is "something of a marathon", with some exams running into three weeks.

"Maintain good sleep habits, a good diet, and maintain those routines you have developed in recent times," he said, adding that parents also have an important role in keeping a "sense of calm" around the house.

"Try not to look too far ahead, stick with it and you'll get there," he said.

There is currently no date set for exam results to be released. The State Examinations Commission said that results will be out as quickly as possible.

Earlier today, many exam superintendents queued for up to two-and-a-half hours as they waited to pick up boxes of exam papers from Dublin venues.

Traffic disruption and long queues were reported outside the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght and the Castleknock Hotel.

A spokesperson for the State Examinations Commission said that distributing exam papers to supervisors was a "significant logistical exercise".

It said this involved distributing boxes containing papers for 131,000 Leaving Certificate, Leaving Certificate Applied and Junior Cycle students, to more than 5,500 superintendents at 12 locations.

It said it was aware of the issues at the Dublin venues earlier, but they had been resolved.

The SEC said its "overarching priority in this process is the security of the examination papers".

It said superintendents had been given time slots to arrive at the centres and once there had a number of duties before they could leave.

There was also training for first-time supervisors. The SEC said these factors, plus security procedures, take time to complete.

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