About 75,000 students across Australia\'s New South Wales (NSW) are sitting for their first Higher School Certificate (HSC) exam on Monday, local media reported. English is up first at 11 a.m. (local time) on Monday, making the start of four weeks of HSC exams in the state. NSW Board of Studies president Tom Alegounarias acknowledges it \'s a nervous time for the year 12 students. \"The HSC has come to represent for each individual student a rite of passage,\" he told the Australian Associated Press (AAP). \"It\'s also come to represent the sort of pressure that they are unlikely to feel for the rest of their lives.\" Alegounarias has wished every HSC candidate a good beginning to their exams. NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli says there are 117 different exam papers that 75,000 students will sit for. \"It\'s going to be a stressful four-week period, but they should know the HSC is one of many paths to success,\" Piccoli said. \"If you don\'t do as well as you thought, then of course there are other avenues open to you.\" Students will receive their HSC results on December 18.