NCEA and Scholarship exams start today for more than 140,000 high school students.
The first exams this morning are Social Studies, Dance, Art History and Scholarship Earth and Space Science.
Over the next three weeks, about 1.1 million exam booklets will be handed out over 120 sessions.
Wellington High School student Brooke Giblin is sitting level one NCEA exams and said it was a little bit scary.
"It's finally the exams we've been waiting for.
"I mean Year 9 and 10 Wellington High School [students] do exams but they've never been the legit ones."
It's also Willow Ashby's first time on the exam round.
She is most nervous for her science exam, which she needs to pass to qualify for the Level 2 course.
"This year science hasn't offered heaps of internals which I found a little bit annoying because I'm better at internals than externals," she said.
"So I definitely have to at least pass both of my externals, and I think other than that I'm not too stressed because I know I'll be okay."
Eden Kettles said she had found it quite easy to bone up on her subjects - and said studying in a group was a large part of that.
"It's good to sort of get a break ... my friends can be a bit chatty so it's hard to study with them a bit, but I think it's good because you can help each other and share tips and stuff."
But Nova Waretini-Hewison hasn't found it so easy.
"I think I'm just not very prepared, but I think that's more my fault than the teachers," she said.
"I think I just get a bit overwhelmed because there's just so many exams to do, and I'm a bit lost on where to start I think."
For Year 10 students heading into NCEA next year, Willow had this advice.
"I found that this year I kind of put stuff off a little bit and that's like, not a good idea," she said.
"It's better to be more prepared than you need to be than less prepared than you need to be so you should start studying in advance.
"Even if it's not, like, heaps. Even if it's just 30 minutes a day."
This year, there will be about 18,000 online exam entries across a range of subjects including, for the first time, Level 3 English, Media Studies and Classical Studies.
The 2018 exam period will finish on 30 November with Te Reo Māori, Art History, Classics, Chinese, French and Economics.
The results will be announced in the middle of January.