Today is the first day of HSC with about 75,000 students sitting the English exam across New South Wales.
English is the only compulsory subject in year 12, helping to make one of the biggest in the world in terms of the number of candidates.
The exams run for the next couple of weeks and students will receive their results before the end of the year.
The Board of Studies says there has been an increase in the number of students studying science and there are also more students doing vocational courses.
New South Wales Board of Studies President Tom Alegounarias has wished all students well.
“We’d like to wish every HSC candidate a good day, a good beginning to their exams,” he said.
“The HSC is a significant credential and you’ve worked hard to achieve it.
“Remember you’ve done half the work and today all you need to do is express yourself.”
State Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli says it is an important day but students should remember it is not the be all and end all.
“There are 117 different exam papers that students will sit for those 75,000 students,” he said.
“It’s going to be a stressful four-week period, but they should know the HSC is one of many paths to success.
“If you don’t do as well as you thought, then of course there are other avenues open to you.”