Year 12 students at Patrician Brothers College, Blacktown, sat their first High School Certificate examination this afternoon.
At 1.50pm students entered the exam room for the first of 19 days of written tests.
The 2012 schedule started with the standard English, advanced English and English as a second language papers.
Two hours later students emerged bleary-eyed and spoke to the Sun.
Student Tarunjit Singh said: ''It was good. I felt the nerves waking up, but once the exam started it was all good.''
On the later start time, student Adrian Lal said: ''It was better because I got to revise in the morning and wake up at a normal time - 9am.''
There will be 118 different exams over the next four weeks.