Richard Bruton wished students luck, advising them to regard it as "as a marathon, not a sprint"
More than 120,000 students will begin their state exams this morning.
Nearly 57,000 Leaving Cert students face English Paper 1 this morning, while it is English and CSPE on the cards for the 62,000 Junior Cert students.
2,814 students, meanwhile, are sitting the Leaving Certificate Applied exams, which kick off with English & Communication this morning.
This morning's test will be the first exam under the new junior cycle English programme, where the paper accounts for 90% of the grade.
The exams will continue for more than two weeks, with the final Leaving Cert exams scheduled for Friday June 23rd.
Education Minister Richard Bruton, speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, wished exam students luck.
He explained: "There's a lot of sensible things that people will advice - be will rested, eat well. It's so important to regard this as a marathon, not a sprint.
"Cramming a whole lot of knowledge in [just] to spew it out isn't a very good way for long-term success in exams like this."
He added: "The other thing that I always felt was just don't spend time analysing the answers you gave to the questions you've just done [...] It's a bit like playing golf - if you have a bad shot, move on to the next tee."
Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, said he hopes everyone sitting the exams achieve "the goals they have set for themselves".
He noted: “The Leaving Certificate, and indeed the Junior Certificate, are significant milestones in a young persons’ life but I would encourage all students, as well as their families, teachers and friends to take some time during this busy period to consider their mental well-being.
“Anxiety, depression and stress are common among those sitting exams. Young people need to know that this is normal and that many others are feeling the exact same. There is a huge amount of pressure to do well and while exams are important, there will be lots of other opportunities and possibilities."