Hundreds of students across Dubbo have put their pens down after their first Higher School Certificate exam.
COVID-19 has had a major impact on schools across the region, and the Year 12 cohort has been heavily impacted in the lead up to their final examinations.
At Dubbo College 236 HSC students made each minute count for two hours as they completed the first English paper.
"I thought it was a really, really good exam, I prepared well and had my quotes ready," student Monique May said after the exam.
Dubbo College student Simon Ramirez, who aspires to pursue a future in engineering and music, said he felt fairly confident about the exam.
"I thought it was alright, I went in prepared. The short answer was a little bit challenging, but overall I think I did well," he said on Tuesday.
Dubbo College head teacher English Genelle Farquhar said she thought the paper was a fair exam that allowed the students to show what they had learnt, and given the year they have had, it was an appropriate paper for students of 2020.
Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders wished the 623 students in the western region luck for the weeks ahead.
"Each and every one of these students, their families and their teachers have all shown an amazing amount of resilience, and while it has been tough, to get to this point is a major milestone," he said.
"There is a lot of stress associated with the HSC but it is important for the students to remember there is support all around you.
"Make sure if you need help, you ask - there are online resources along with your friends and family ready to help."
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said that 2020 had thrown up plenty of challenges and our HSC students had met them with the help of their school, family and friends - and now the broader community wanted students to know they have got this.
"My message to students is to continue to take care of your wellbeing, reaching out for support or advice if you need it and keeping active. We are all behind you," she said.
This year there were a number of COVID-safe protocols in place, with limits of 75 students per room, and extra hand sanitiser.
"Exams need to run a little differently this year as we continue to live with COVID-19, but I want students to feel safe knowing they are being looked after and the whole community is behind you as you take on this final chapter," Ms Mitchell said.
"The perseverance we have seen from the Class of 2020 to get to this point has been astounding and my best wishes go to all 73,000 students."