History involves the study of people who lived in the past – ordinary people as well as famous people. In History, you will learn about the sources of evidence on which we base our understanding of their lives. You will find out about important changes that, over time, have helped to shape the world in which you live.

What will I learn in History?

Some of the things you will learn include:

  • how people have lived during different periods
  • how we find out about the past
  • how important changes took place during different periods, what caused the changes and how people were affected by the changes
  • a broad understanding of local, Irish and international history
How can I learn more about History outside of school?

Some of the things you may do are:

  • visit museums, historic buildings, local monuments and other historic sites.
  • talk to older people about their lives in the past.
  • look at history websites on the internet.
  • watch documentaries and other historical programmes on TV, via the internet or on DVD.
  • look at works of art & listen to songs and music produced by people of the past.
How will I learn History in school?

Some of the things you may do with your teacher and classmates are:

  • use resources such as textbooks or the Internet / computer software to help find out more about the past.
  • learn about evidence and how it helps us to explore the past.
  • learn to interpret pictures and moving images of people in the past.
  • make your own notes to help you remember what you have found out.
  • work on your own, but also in pairs and groups
  • try your best at homework and assignments.
How will History be useful to me?

It will help you to better understand the world in which you live. You will gain experience of working with evidence and learn to tell the difference between fact and opinion. History is a very practical subject because it involves learning about people, countries, societies and cultures.  History can help you in many different careers, especially those linked with heritage, tourism, research and the environment.

How will I know how I am getting on?

Your teacher will let you know:

  • what you have done well
  • how you can improve your work.

Other things you may do are:

  • ask a friend to look at your work
  • look back over your work to learn from your mistakes
  • test yourself, using questions from your textbook or ones you draw up yourself.
Will History be very different after the Junior Certificate?

In Leaving Certificate History:

  • you will continue to learn about people of the past and the evidence on which we build up accounts of their lives
  • you will carry out your own historical research study on a subject in which you are interested.
Will History have anything to do with other subjects I will be studying?

Yes, it will.  History will give you a very useful historical background for many other subjects e.g. English, CSPE, Science, and Art, Craft and Design.  Geography also looks at people’s places of settlement and how people’s lives are shaped by the places in which they live. History, like English, is a good subject for developing your communication skills.

What is the History Junior Certificate exam like?

You will:

  • answer questions on different historical sources, such as photographs, cartoons and letters
  • write accounts of what life was like for different types of people in the past
  • answer questions about important events that happened in the past.

You can take the exam at Higher or at Ordinary level.  When the time comes to decide, your teacher will help you choose the level that suits you best.

Is learning History anything like what I did in primary school?

In SESE: History, in primary school, you developed your knowledge and understanding of people, events and developments in the past.  Junior Certificate History continues to build on these areas.

For more information about the History course:


For more information about the Junior Certificate exam:


For more information about History: