Donegal schools have 2,207 students sitting the Leaving Certificate with 114 sitting the Leaving Certificate applied.
Almost 57,000 Leaving Cert students face English Paper 1 this morning, while it's English and CSPE on the cards for the 62,000 Junior Cert students.
He noted: "The Leaving Certificate, and indeed the Junior Certificate, are significant milestones in a young persons' life but I would encourage all students, as well as their families, teachers and friends to take some time during this busy period to consider their mental well-being". With 62,000 doing the Junior Cert and 59,000 taking the Leaving Cert, there is clearly a very low drop-off rate between the 4th and 6th years.
The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, says while the State exams are important they are not the be all and end all.
"No one exam is going to make or break you as a person".
More than 1,350 Leaving Cert students began two weeks of exams with English Paper 1, while junior cert students are doing English and CSPE. "In addition to higher and further education there are many alternative routes to rewarding careers now available", he said. "I would hope that they would look at the bigger picture and not get overly focused on successes or failures", he added.