Some 7,866 students across the country will sit the Agricultural Science exam as part of their Leaving Certificate this morning.

The exam is set to get underway at 9:30am for both honours and ordinary-level students.

Lasting for two and a half hours, the exam papers will be collected at 12:00pm. The vast majority of students will be taking the higher-level paper.

As students have up until the morning of the exam to drop down to the ordinary-level paper, the final figures taking both levels are expected to fluctuate a little.

In total, just under 56,000 students are sitting their Leaving Certificate exams in 2017. This meant that approximately 14% of students in the country chose to study Agricultural Science for their exams this year.

As well as sitting the final exam, an Agricultural Science student would have also completed a project during the year and may have taken part in an oral exam.

The exams have been taking place since Wednesday, June 7, and are scheduled to officially come to an end on Friday, June 23. However, a large majority of students have already completed their exams.

Popularity of agriculture degrees jumps by 17% in 2017

Meanwhile, this year the number of students applying to study third-level degrees in agriculture or horticulture increased by 17%, figures show.

A total of 76,086 students applied to the Central Applications Office (CAO) in 2017, which remains on par with the high levels of applicants witnessed in 2016.

Some 532 students put a course in agriculture or horticulture as their first preference on their application to the CAO this year, compared to just 495 students in 2016.

The increase in the popularity of these courses in 2017 follows a sharp fall of close to 24% in the previous year, figures show.

In 2017, agriculture and horticulture courses received a total of 2,355 mentions in the total number of CAO applications, an increase of 365 on last year. This represented an increase of 18%.

CAO applicants will be offered the chance to alter their course choices up until July 1; these minor alterations will be free of charge.