The Pancyprian exams started on Monday morning, with Education Minister Costas Hambiaouris wishing students every success ahead of the first test.
The exams kicked off at high schools around the island at 8am with 7,689 students sitting a three-hour modern Greek exam, which is compulsory for all school leavers. 324 of them are graduates of previous years.
5,695 school leavers seek access to universities in Greece and Cyprus, while 1,994 just want to get a school leaving certificate.
The number of students taking the exam this year is the lowest in the past five years.
In 2018 approximately 7,700 students sat the exams, and in 2017 8,137.
Hambiaouris visited Kykkos Lyceum in Nicosia early in the morning, wishing the students success and saying he believes the exam reflects what has been taught.
“You realise that I personally have no involvement in the writing of the paper,” he said, answering questions during his visit at the school. “What I can tell you is that by talking to those responsible for preparing it, they have been given instructions regarding the subject matter, for it to be relevant to the material that the children were taught, to be an essay that can be completed in the time they have and I believe that this framework, which we have set, has been followed.”
In previous years the three-hour Greek exam has been the cause of controversy both because of the low average grade achieved by students and the difficulty of some questions.
The exams will be completed on June 13. The results will be ready around June 23, it was announced.