Form six students around the country began sitting their external exams today.

The exams started this morning with an English paper, one of the core subjects.

The exams are set by the South Pacific Board for Educational Assessment (SPBEA) based in Suva, Fiji and will determine those eligible to continue on to do form seven education next year.

The Education Ministry confirms that around a thousand form six students throughout the country are sitting for this year's SPBEA exams.

After the exams, all the papers will be sent back to Fiji for marking before results are released prior to the start of next year's academic year.

"The pass mark is at least 40%, so at least 60% of those that sit the exams country wide will not make it to form seven," said an officer at the Ministry of Education.

"This is my only way through, most of my family members never made it this far," said Roger, a form six student in Honiara.

"I know its going to be very tough, I have to hit an average of at least 70% to make it through...I have no other options available."

Officials within the Ministry of Education say that there are now more schools offering Form Seven, but it is still not enough.

"We still have alot of students doing Form Six so it will always be a tough selection process."