First-timers sitting NCEA examinations are being encouraged to keep a cool head after reports that several students forgot their entry slips.
Others failed to answer all parts of the exam as they ran out of time.
Up to 46,000 Year 11 students have completed their first NCEA exam in English - this year's largest examination session.
Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh said the first major exam had been an overall success; however, some first-time sitters had struggled on their first day.
"It's still a bit nerve-racking as it is their first time. I've heard about students forgetting their exam slips, which we hear about every year, but also issues with timing," he said.
"Some students have spent too much time on one section of the exam and then run out of time to complete another part.
"The tip is to answer what you know and then come back to it."
Each student is given an admission exam slip, which has their name and which subjects they are sitting an exam for.
Students have to have the slip to gain entry to an exam.
Scholarship students, as well as students sitting exams in different schools, are required to bring their photo ID.
Mr Walsh said schools were being told to encourage students, particularly first-time sitters, to make sure they have everything needed before leaving the house.
It was also important for them to stay relaxed and calm before an exam and therefore to arrive at least 30 minutes early.
"There will be some students who have found it hard on their first day of exams, but it's good to get it out of the way now.
"It steadies their nerves and gets them ready for the next big exam," he said.
It was also emphasised that students should make note of the suggested time they should be spending on each part of an exam; printed on the top of each exam paper.
Mr Walsh said although there had not been any reports of cheating or breaching of the rules that he had heard of, it was still early days.
Last year's figures showed that 376 breaches were reported to NZQA - 35 of which were later ruled to have not been breaches after all.
The breaches range from students using cellphones in an exam, taking in pre-prepared notes, communicating with other students and altering a marked answer booklet and then asking for a recount.
Last year the year 11 English exam had one of the highest number of reported breaches - with 35 cases - as well as the year 12 English exam, which had 38 reported breaches.
*Level 1 German, Accounting.
*Level 2 English, Latin.
*Level 3 Biology.
*Scholarship Physical Education, Te Reo Rangatira.
*Student photo ID.
*Two extra pens.
*Turn off cellphone and leave in school bag.Vaimoana Tapaleao education