Leaving Certificate

The Leaving Certificate curriculum is followed for two years with students following the core subjects:
• Gaeilge
• English
• Mathematics
• SPHE
Students then choose three option subjects from the following list subjects. These subjects include:
• Biology
• Chemistry /Physics
• Accounting
• Business
• Home Economics
• Art
• Engineering
• History
• Geography
• French
• German
• Technical Drawing
• Construction Studies
• Music

The Career and Counselling service in the school is available to any student that needs advice prior to choosing Leaving Certificate option subjects with a view to their third level choice of courses.
ICT, Careers, Religion and Physical Education are also studied in Senior Cycle.

Points System

The points assigned to each grade achieved in the Leaving Certificate are shown in the table below. Points for individual applicants are calculated as the total of the points from your six highest grades. ie. the maximum number of points available to any one candidate is 600, which you would achieve if you got A1s on six (or more) Higher papers.

Grade Points
Grade Higher Paper Ordinary Paper
A1 100 60
A2 90 50
B1 85 45
B2 80 40
B3 75 35
C1 70 30
C2 65 25
C3 60 20
D1 55 15
D2 50 10
D3 45 5

Grading

Results of the Leaving Certificate examination subjects are given in the form of grades. Each grade represents a percentage range of marks as follows:

Percentage
Percentage Range Grade
90 or over A1
85 but less than 90 A2
80 but less than 85 B1
75 but less than 80 B2
70 but less than 75 B3
65 but less than 70 C1
60 but less than 65 C2
55 but less than 60 C3
50 but less than 55 D1
45 but less than 50 D2
40 but less than 45 D3
25 but less than 40 E

ACCOUNTING
What is this subject all about at Senior Cycle?
Accounting is about presenting financial information for a company or organisation so that its financial status can be assessed and monitored and its future performance predicted. The study of Accounting enables students not only to develop an understanding of the use of accounts in business but it also teaches them the accounting skills which will help them to prepare and complete a set of final accounts related to personal and business financial issues. It also helps students to understand the role of accountants and auditors in business and will enable them to appreciate their role in monitoring the financial status of a company or organisation.
At the end of the two year programme the students will be required to sit a 3 hour written exam.
Will learning this subject at Senior Cycle be different to what I studied at Junior Cycle?
Yes. The subject at Junior Cycle is a combination of Business, Accounting and Economics. At Senior Cycle it is just Accounting, so if you choose Accounting as one of your optional subjects for the Leaving Cert it will be a more intense and focused study on figures and balancing sheets.
I will enjoy this subject if:
• I like to work with numbers
• I am accurate in working with figures and numbers
• I enjoy working out financial problems and investigating solutions
I will succeed at this subject if:
• I am a logical thinker and learn to work in sequence
• I pay attention to detail and can learn to analyse figures
• I am neat and tidy in my work and appreciate that others must understand my accounts and reports
This subject will be useful for a career in:
• Teaching
• Chartered Accountant
• Management/Banking/Finance/Actuary
• Financial Services
• Insurance
• Setting up your own Business
• Secretary/ Clerical Work

 

 

Art
What this subject is all about at Senior Cycle:
• All students follow a common course at Higher and Ordinary level.
• Practical work includes Life sketching, Still life, Imaginative Composition,
Design and Craftwork
• Leaving Cert art is taught in a social, historical and cultural context.
• Students spend at least one period per week studying the History of Art and Art Appreciation and will complete essays on coursework taught.
Will learning this subject be different to what I studied at Junior Cycle?
• The subject at Senior Cycle builds on previous learning in Junior Cycle, however students will cover the History and appreciation of Art in greater detail.
• Students will be required to carry out independent research.
I will enjoy this subject if:
• I am genuinely interested in further developing my knowledge of Art and Art History.
• If I apply myself to Imaginative Compositions, Still Life, Design and Craftwork, Life Sketching and to the history and Appreciation of Art.
• If I carry out research for my Craftwork.
I will succeed at this subject if:
• I build on what I learned at Junior Certificate level.
• I research topics independently at home.
• If I complete my essays and study notes.
• By practicing my art and listening carefully to feedback and critique in class.
This subject is useful in a career in:
• Graphic design / Fashion design / Education, Curator.
• Museum work, Film and Photography, Industrial or Corporate design, Interior design, Architecture Ceramics, Jewellery Design.
Leaving Cert Art lends itself to a framework of creative innovative thought processes and these skills are transferrable to other avenues such as Law, Business and Science – areas in which thinking outside the box is a must.
BIOLOGY
What is this subject about at Senior Cycle?
Biology at Senior Level covers a wide range of topics such as Genetics, Evolution and DNA. It also teaches “How the body works” and involves learning about various diseases such as Asthma, Parkinson’s disease and Arthritis. Microbiology which is the study of Bacteria, Fungi and Viruses is also studied as is learning about plant biology.
At the end of the two year course students will be required to sit a 3 hour written exam
Will learning this subject at Senior Level be different to Junior Level?
At Junior Level Science was the subject that studied Biology, Physics and Chemistry. At Senior Level if you choose Biology you will just be studying Biology, no Chemistry or Physics. The course is a continuation of what was studied at junior level but in more detail.
I will enjoy this subject if:
• I enjoy doing practical work (doing experiments)
• I am interested in learning how my body works
• I have an enquiring mind and I like discovering things
I will succeed at this subject if:
• I work hard and keep up with my practical work
• I have an interest in how my body works and I can remember information
• I attend class regularly
This subject will be useful for a career in:
• Teaching
• Childcare
• Medicine/Veterinary/Nursing/Dentistry
• Genetics
• Microbiology

BUSINESS
What is this subject all about at Senior Cycle?
This course is mainly about people in Business, Enterprise and the Business Environment. It is about studying people as customers, investors, employees and partners and it is designed to prepare you not only for the rapidly changing business world but to help you manage you own personal finances as it also deals with household budgets and personal savings and investments. It covers the following areas:
• Management – Skills, Types of Managers and Communications
• Running the Family Home – Budgets
• Trade – Domestic and Foreign and Competition
• Setting up your own Business
• Role of Government in Business
At the end of the two year programme students will be required to sit a written exam.
Will learning this subject be different to what I studied at Junior Cycle?
Yes. The subject at Junior Cycle is a combination of Business, Accounting and Economics. At Senior Cycle it is just Business and the topics above are covered in more detail and are much broader.
I will enjoy this subject if:
• I am interested in Business/Trade/Services
• I am interested in the world of work
• I am interested in Economics and how a country is run from an Economic point of view.
I will succeed at this subject if:
• I work consistently over the 2 years.
• I get case study material covered and project work completed.
• I am prepared to read independently, summarise material and do relevant research in order to understand the world of commerce.
This subject will be useful for a career in:
• Teaching
• Business – Sales, Advertising, Management
• Banking
• Insurance
• Running your own Business
• Retail
CHEMISTRY
What is this subject all about in senior cycle?
• Understanding basic chemical terminology, facts & methods.
• To have an understanding of how chemistry relates to everyday life.
• To understand scientific information in graphical & mathematical form.
• To be able to perform simple chemical calculations.
Will learning this subject be different from what I did in junior cycle?
• More in depth theory of atomic structure.
• Everyday chemical applications.
• Understanding how it can be useful in future careers.
I will enjoy this subject if:
• I participate in experiments.
• I can understand chemical terms & participate in a class discussion.
I will succeed in this subject if:
• If effort to grasp basics of theory is made.
• Have an open attitude towards the maths side of the subject before dismissing it straight away.
This subject will be useful in a career in:
• Medicine / Nursing.
• Food / Pharmaceutical.
• General Science.

 
CONSTRUCTION STUDIES

What is this subject about at Senior Cycle?
This subject is a study of the Construction Industry in Ireland. It is concerned with developing an understanding of the knowledge and skills concerned with Building Methods and Practices. It teaches the structural principles used in Ireland to create durable, sustainable and environmentally sound buildings. The course involves a combination of mainly Theory (Bookwork), Scale Drawing and some Practical Coursework.
At the end of the two year course students will sit a Leaving Cert exam (3 hours long) with one compulsory Drawing question worth 50%. They will also be required to do a 4 hour long woodwork practical teat in May worth 25%. Students are also expected to submit a Design/Research Project (including an woodwork piece and a report) worth 25%.

How will learning this subject at Senior Cycle be different to Junior Cycle?
This is a two year course with greater emphasis on the theoretical rather than practical aspects of construction.

I will enjoy this subject if:
I like challenges and working on my own. I must also have an interest in the Environment, and an appreciation of Handcraft. It also helps a lot to enjoy Drawing and being creative.

I will succeed at this subject if:
I have a good knowledge of Materials Tech. Wood and/or Technical Graphics at Junior Cert. I will also succeed if I am prepared to work hard and develop new skills and am motivated to do well in this subject for the two year course.

This subject will be useful for a career in:
Teaching, Construction Industry, Architecture, Engineering, Sustainable Design, Carpentry, Furniture Making.

ENGINEERING

What is this subject about at Senior Cycle?
This subject involves the study of a wide range of mechanical engineering processes as well as materials and technological applications. It also develops practical skills, resourcefulness and creativity. It covers the study of Machining, Technical Drawing, Design, Materials Science, Metallurgy (the study of where materials come from) and Metrology (Measurement).
At the end of the two year course students will sit a Leaving Cert exam in Engineering Theory worth 50% (HL)/40% (OL). The balance of the marks will come from a Design Project worth 25% (HL)/30% (OL) and a Six Hour Practical Exam worth 25% (HL)/30%(OL).

Will learning this subject be different to what I studied at Junior Cycle?
At Senior Cycle the subject requires a high level of practical skills and motivation. There is a much more science and maths involved and there is a much greater emphasis on creating your own designs.

I will enjoy this subject if:
I like to design and create my own projects and am interested in electronics and technology. It also helps if I am accurate and precise in my work.

I will succeed at this subject if:
I work hard at both the practical and theory aspect of the course from Day 1 in Fifth Year. It is also important to keep up with the project work and take responsibility for it.

This subject will be useful for a career in:
Teaching, Engineering (all aspects), Electrician, Trade or any Technical Profession, Product Design.
FRENCH
What is this Subject about at Senior Cycle?
The development of the four skills of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening is continued in Senior Cycle French. This will be achieved by focusing on Oral and Written Work and students will be expected to give their opinion on various topical issues using the French language. They will be expected to improve their vocabulary and master grammar as a way of increasing their fluency and understanding of the language. Students will also learn about the social, cultural and political aspects of French life.
At the end of the two year course students will have an Oral (25% H/20% O), Aural (20% H/25% O), and Written (45% H/45% O ) exam
Will learning this subject at Senior Level be different to Junior Level?
At Senior Level the subject is more complicated and more application is required. Senior Cycle French will build on the Junior Cycle topics in an effort to increase your fluency and ability to communicate in French. There is more of a focus on learning the mechanics of the language and you must be prepared to learn new things.
I will enjoy this subject if:
• I am curious about the French language and culture
• I speak the language and am willing to practice it outside of class (French Pen Pal?)
• I participate in class in an effort to improve my oral and listening skills so that I do not fall behind
I will succeed at this subject if:
• I have studied hard at Junior Cycle and have a good understanding of the language.
• I have a good knowledge of basic grammar and vocabulary.
• I am a good listener
• I can work independently by reading French texts and assessing French TV and Radio when possible
This subject will be useful for a career in:
• Teaching
• Travel/Tourism/Tour Guide/Flight Attendant
• Translator/Interpreter
• Business/Commerce/Import/Export
• International Marketing
• A foreign language is an asset in most jobs

 

GEOGRAPHY
What is this subject all about at senior cycle?
• Geography is about the study of people and places and the interaction between the two
• It is about gaining a deeper insight into the natural world and those who live in it
• There are five sections in the course:
1) Physical Geography
2) Regional Geography
3) Human Geography
4) Geoecology
5) Geological Investigation (Field Study)
• At the end of the two year programme there will be an exam which is 2 hours and 50 minutes long and will be worth 80%. The field study is worth 20%.
Will learning this subject be different to what I studied at Junior Cycle?
• Students will build on their current knowledge and skill set they already have from Junior Certificate geography and look at similar topics in more detail
• There is more emphasis on case studies and real life events
I will enjoy this subject if…
• You enjoyed the subject at Junior cert level
• You are interested in the world around you
• You ask questions such as ‘why’ and ‘how’
I will succeed at this subject if….
• You keep up to date with homework and classwork
• You can explain processes and are practical minded
• You are interested in doing independent research to find out about what is happening in the world around you and why
This subject is useful in a career in:
Teaching, Cartography, Soil Conservationist, Sociology, Town Planning, Government, Meteorology, Tourism, Aid Agencies, Land Surveying, Army, Park Ranger, Community Development, Renewable Energy, Water/Land Manager
GERMAN

What is this subject about at Senior Cycle?
This subject involves learning the German language and using it to discuss various topics such as Contemporary Issues, Yourself, the Environment and Germany its culture, geography and history to name but a few. Students will be exposed to different texts in German and will be shown movies and plays in an effort to bring Germany into the classroom. It is about learning the mechanics of the language and involves an in-depth study the grammar used. Students are expected to speak German and use it in a practical way.
At the end of the two year course Students will be assessed as follows: Oral Exam (25%), Aural (Listening) Exam (20% ) and a Written Exam (55% ).
Will learning this subject at Senior Level be different to Junior Level?
• Yes insofar as there will be a lot more emphasis on grammar and accuracy in the use of the language. As we don’t live in a German speaking environment a conscious effort must be made to learn vocabulary. This will be examined.
• Students will be expected to engage with the German language themselves at home and to use their own initiative by looking at the German News regularly on-line and by recording themselves speaking German.
• As there is an Oral exam at Leaving Cert students will be expected to converse whenever possible in German. This involves overcoming a reluctance to speak to one another in German as opposed to English.
I will enjoy this subject if:
• I have an interest in Germany (its culture, history, geography)
• I want to learn another European Language
• I am open to enjoying and exploring media that didn’t originate in Hollywood, USA
I will succeed at this subject if:
• I am prepared to work hard and to apply myself to making sense of Grammatical Structures.
• Most importantly I am prepared to put myself “ out there” and speak German regardless of what mistakes I make and how foolish I may think I appear ( by the way you will not appear foolish, you are only self conscious)
This Subject will be useful for a Career in:
Teaching, International Business, Law, Journalism, Import/Export Business, Call Centres, EU- working in Brussels and giving you the freedom to work in a German speaking Country in your chosen field if so desired.

HISTORY
What is this subject all about in Senior Cycle?
• It is the study of 20th History Ireland, Europe & the World.
• Students learn how to evaluate sources and this promotes independent thinking.
• Students will also learn how to source, evaluate & collate information.
At the end of the two year course students will sit a written exam which is 3 hours and 20 minutes long. It is worth 80% of the overall marks. Students will also be required to do an independent research study which is worth 20%

Will learning this subject be different to what I studied at Junior Cycle?
• Yes! Leaving Cert History is a more in depth study of key events & personalities that shaped the world
• At higher level students are required to write a four page A4 essay on a regular basis.

I will enjoy this subject if:
• I am interested in learning about key historical events & personalities e,g: Martin Luther King
• I like reading different types of documents
• I like discussing issues that affect society

I will succeed in this subject if:
• I complete my independent research essay (to a high standard) which is worth 20%.
• I have a good standard of English especially at higher level.
• I am prepared to write independently
This subject will be useful in a career in:
• Research
• Art
• Law
• Media / TV
• Journalism
• Teaching
HOME ECONOMICS
What this subject is all about at Senior Cycle:
• Home Economics is divided into four areas of study: Food Science/Resource Management/Consumer Studies/Social Studies.
• It is a continuation of what was studied at Junior Cycle but at a much higher level.
• It covers in great detail the Science of Food and Nutrition. (45%)
• It deals with the Management of the Home and the economical use of Resources. (25%)
• It is a study of society which is made up of individuals and families and is concerned with how people manage their resources to meet their physical, emotional, intellectual, social and economic needs. (10%)
• There are two components used in the assessment of Home Economics:
1. Food Studies Journal (20%)
2. Final Written Paper (80%)
Will learning this subject be different to what I studied at Junior Cycle:
• Yes. First of all there is no craftwork element therefore no needlework/appliqué project.
• Secondly there are fewer cookery classes (5 in all over the two years) and no practical cookery exam.
• There is much more of an emphasis on Food Science and Technology.
• The Food Studies Journal can be quite demanding and much of the information is attained through individual research by YOU – the student.
I will enjoy this subject if:
• I have an interest in Food Science and Technology.
• I am interested in Diets and how they affect our growth and development.
• I enjoy learning about the complexities of Society and how it functions.
I will succeed at this subject if:
• I keep up with the Journal Work and meet the deadlines.
• I am organised, able to work on my own and take initiative.
• I am good at analysing and evaluating information which can be used to express my opinion in a clear and informed way.
This subject is useful for a career in:
• Teaching
• The Food Industry
• Dietetics and Nutrition
• Hotel and Tourism
• Fashion Clothing and Design/ Interior Design
• Health Promotion
• Social Services

 

MUSIC
What is this Subject about at Senior Cycle?
Practical music making will be the centre of the Leaving Certificate Music Class. It is comprised of three main areas :
(1) Listening- A study of four major set works from different historical periods.
(2) Performance (Practical Exam)- You must be able to play an instrument or sing a piece or melody a
(3) Composition- Exploring the written complexities of Music (Harmonies, Counterpoint and Melody Writing.
At the end of the two year course students will be assessed as follows : Practical Exam 25% – 50% (depending on options and levels)at Easter. The balance comprises a written/listening exam in the Leaving Cert in June.
Will learning this subject at Senior Level be different to Junior Level?
Not really. The Leaving Cert Course is based on the knowledge acquired at Junior Level so naturally it helps if you have studied it for the Junior Cert. However, each area is studied in much greater detail so a genuine interest in Music will make the subject more interesting. You will be expected to perform a piece of music by playing an instrument or by singing.
I will enjoy this subject if:
• I like listening and talking about a wide variety of musical styles
• I personally enjoy music and its components
• I have an interest in analysing, comparing and contrasting various types of music
• I enjoy History and different cultures
I will succeed at this subject if:
• I attend all of the lessons
• I am musically active inside and outside of school
• I regularly practice my chosen instrument
The Subject will be useful for a career in:
• Teaching
• Performer/Entertainer
• Journalism
• Event Production/Management/Planning Technology/Promoter
• Historian/Librarian
• Recording Engineering
• Therapist
PHYSICS/CHEMISTRY
This subject is a combination of both Physics and Chemistry. It is assessed at the end of the year by students sitting a three hour written exam consisting of 12 questions (6 Physics and 6 Chemistry)
What is this subject all about at Senior Cycle:
Physics
Physics aims to give students an understanding of the fundamental principles of Physics and their application to everyday life. The subject enables students to develop an understanding in the following areas:
• Mechanics (Linear Motion, Force, Mass, Acceleration etc.), SI Units
• Optics (Light instruments, Laws, Rules, etc) Mirrors, Lenses
• Heat, Temperature (Laws, Rules, Definitions etc.)
• Nuclear Physics (Radioactivity, Nuclear fissions and fusion etc.)
• Waves (Wave Nature of Light, Electromagnetic Radiation etc.)
• Static and Current Electricity, Magnetism, Electrostatics
• Kinetic Theory and Gas Laws, Energy, Gravity, Mass, Momentum
Will learning this subject be different to what I studied at Junior Cycle?
Having studied Physics as part of the Junior Cert Science course the above mentioned topics should be viewed as extensions to previously learned material with the exception of Nuclear Physics, Kinetic Theory and Electrostatics (New Topics).
I will enjoy this subject if:
• I have an inquiring, mathematical mind
• I am good at problem solving
• I enjoy experimental work to support theories.
I will succeed at this subject if:
• I understand basic mathematical principles
• I apply theoretical knowledge to practical experiments
• I challenge myself to work out experimental results
This subject will be useful for a career in:
• Teaching
• Engineering
• Biochemistry/Biomedical
• Pharmaceutical Industry
• IT/Computers