The Leaving Certificate Examinations (Scrúduithe na hArdteistiméireachta), is the final examination in the Irish secondary school system. It takes two years of preparation, these years are referred to collectively as “The Senior Cycle.” The Examination is overseen by the State Examinations Commission. The Leaving Certificate Examinations are sat by approximately 55,000 students per annum.
There are three programmes that can be followed in order to prepare the students for education, society and work after they leave secondary school.
- Leaving Certificate: The Established Leaving Certificate, introduced in 1924, is the most common programme taken. A minimum of six subjects are examined. Most students take seven subjects. 
- Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP): introduced as a more practical “hands-on” coompliment to the conventional Leaving Certificate. The student takes at least five traditional subjects. Two of the student’s subjects must be part of one of a list of Vocational subject groupings. They must also study a modern European language and two Link Modules, The programme is designed to help the student find their potential for self-directed learning, innovation and enterprise. The programme prepares the student for the World of Work and Enterprise.
- Leaving Certificate Applied: The Leaving Certificate Applied, is taken to prepare the student for adult and working life. It consists of three elements. These are General Education, Vocational Education and Vocational Preparation. It is designed to emphasise areas of achievement and excellence which are not catered for by traditional academic programmes.
Leaving Cert 2017
The students who will be sitting their Leaving Certificate in 2017 will be the first to be graded using the New Leaving Certificate Grading Scale which was introduced to mitigate some of the undesirable effects of the so-called ‘points system’. There will be a change in how Leaving Certificate examinations are graded, using fewer broader grade bands. The current 14-point grading scale (A1, A2, B1, B2, B3… the grade bands typically cover 5%), this will be replaced by an 8-point scale (based on a grade band 10% wide).
The new scale has 8 grades, the highest grade is a Grade 1, the lowest grade a Grade 8. The highest seven grades 1-7 divide the marks range 100% to 30% into seven equal grade bands 10% wide, with a grade 8 being awarded for percentage marks of less than 30%. The grades at higher level and ordinary level are distinguished by prefixing the grade with H or O respectively, giving H1-H8 at higher level, and O1-O8 at ordinary level. This new 8-point grading scale will replace the current 14-point scale at both Higher and Ordinary levels.
Stress Relief and Self Care
It’s important to look after yourself, especially during this stressful year so make sure to take care of yourself, your physical and mental health.
Declutter your space– Clear out all rubbish, make your bed, and make your desktop space clear. This will make for a cleaner head.
Put yourself in a happy place- Do yoga, take a power nap, whatever you need to put yourself in the most positive head space possible.
Put your health first- To state the obvious, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, and keep up with your personal hygiene. But this also counts for mental health. Put yourself first, your hobbies, your passions, and anything you do to keep yourself sane. Buy yourself nice treats as a reward after completing tough tasks, or reward yourself with anything you like doing.