Commonly Asked Questions & Answers

Q. How many subjects should I take for my Leaving Certificate?

Our school offers you seven subjects along with LCVP as an additional option. In the CAO system, your highest six grades will be used to calculate your points for entry purposes to courses offered in all Higher Education Institutions (Universities, Colleges and Institutes of Technology).


Q. Is it a good idea to take on an extra subject outside of school timetable?

If you are taking more than one Ordinary Level paper e.g. Maths and Irish and want the option of having six Higher Level subjects for points purposes, you may be considering taking an extra subject. Considering this option carries some risk. There is no such thing as an easy honour and every subject requires a certain amount of study on a daily basis. Taking eight Leaving Certificate subjects is a major undertaking. If the eighth subject is being taken outside of school, you will have to consider the time involved in travelling to and from such a grind. All this distracts from the time available to work on the seven subjects you are taking in school.


Q. How will Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme affect my points?

LCVP is a subject that can help students gain points and is accepted by all colleges in the CAO system. 60% of the marks available are awarded for a portfolio of work, compiled during the two years of the programme, with the remainder being awarded for a short written paper, taken in mid-May of your Leaving Certificate year. Students awarded a distinction in the LCVP, will gain 70 points or the equivalent of a C1 on an Honours L.Cert Paper. This can be a particular bonus to students in vital need of points that they may need for entry to a particular course later on.


Q. What happens if I do not take Honours Irish?

Apart from not being able to take a number of higher degree programmes (e.g. Gaeilge & Iriseoireacht – Irish & Journalism at Dublin City University D.C.U.), which have Irish, as a core entry requirement, the main consequence of not taking Higher Level Irish, is that you are precluded from studying to be a primary school teacher, in any of the Irish training colleges.


Q. What happens if I do not take Honours maths?

As of 2012 the CAO will award a bonus of 25 points to any student who has achieved a HD3 in Higher Level Maths. This will only count towards your points total if your achievement in Maths (when your maths grade is converted to points and the bonus points are added on) ranks within your top six subjects.

There are wide ranges of level 8-degree programmes from which you will be precluded, if you do not secure a minimum of a D3 or in many cases a C3, in higher-level maths.

These would include many Engineering, Science, Information and Computer Technology courses, and most degrees that include maths as a core subject.

If you are interested in careers which derive from such courses, you can always start with a Higher Certificate programme (Level 6, 2 year), which will only require a D3 in Ordinary Level math’s and provided you secure a grade of at least 60% in your examinations, progress through to ordinary degree (Level 7) and then on to a higher degree (Level 8) programme, adding only one extra year, over and above those who secure a place on a higher degree programme in the first place.


Q. What happens if I do not take a language other than Irish and English?

The colleges of the National University of Ireland demand a pass in a third language, for entry into almost all of their courses, apart from nursing. These colleges are UCD, UCG, UCC, and NUI Maynooth. Maynooth and UCD have dropped this requirement for all their engineering and science programmes. A third language is also required for entry into the cadetship in the Defence Forces. Trinity accepts Irish as fulfilling their second language requirement. UL and DCU, plus all the Institutes of Technology, do not require a European language for entry purposes to their courses. A European language is not required for Nursing degrees.