More than 120,000 students across the country will start their Leaving and Junior Cert exams this morning.
The exams kick off with English papers this morning, or English & Communication for those sitting the Leaving Cert Applied exam.
This year marks the first time that a new course in Politics and Society will be tested, with students in 41 pilot centres set to sit the exam.
Education Minister Richard Bruton says the exams are important, but are also "just one pathway in education".
Wishing students luck ahead of this year's state exams, Minister Bruton said: "There are now a range of opportunities available to you to fulfil your ambitions.
“As well as higher and further education courses, we now have a very broad range of apprenticeship and traineeship programmes available, in very exciting new areas, such as ICT and financial services, as well as the traditional craft courses. These are very attractive options that lead to very rewarding careers, when considering your next steps."
Students are also being urged to stay healthy over the course of the exams.
ASTI President Ger Curtin said: "Eat well, get plenty of rest, take exercise, build in relaxation time, organise yourself so that you have everything you need each day and so that you are not rushing to get to an exam in time.
“After each exam, look ahead to the next one. Stick to the facts, rather than catastrophizing.”
The state exams run from today until Friday June 22nd.