Traditional Leaving Certificate

The Established Leaving Certificate


The Leaving Certificate is a strict academic programme which commences in 5th year.

It is a two year programme. Leaving Certificate students need to be responsible for their own individual class work and commit themselves to a minimum of 2 ½ to 3 hours daily study.

In the CAO system, your highest 6 grades will be used to calculate your points for entry purposes to courses offered in all 42 Higher Education Institutes.

The Guidance Counsellor will be available to help students with difficulties involved with career choices. The Guidance Counsellor is also available to liaise with parents.


As a student entering Senior Cycle, you are coming to a cross roads in your life.

You need to make decisions and plan your future. The first decision you will make is to choose subjects that you will study for the Leaving Certificate.

In Ardscoil na Tríonóide, all students take SEVEN subjects in the Leaving Certificate.

Irish, English & Maths are mandatory.

You then choose FOUR other subjects from the options provided.

The following broad guidelines form the basis for choice:

  • Knowing your aptitudes and interests.
  • Choosing the subjects you like and are good at.
  • Informing yourself of Leaving Certificate Subject requirements for third level colleges or courses.

Your aptitudes are your strengths that you have in certain areas.

You should look back at the results you have received in school and see is there a pattern.

Do you do well in languages or subjects like History and Geography?

Do you find Business or Science challenging or easy? Are you creative?

Do you like technical subjects?

There is no such thing as an easy subject for the Leaving Cert.

Hard work over the next two years ensures students achieve their potential in their chosen subjects. Liking and enjoying a subject is a huge part of being able to keep the commitment and study needed.

If you already have a definite course or career in mind, you have to find out if there are essential subjects you must have for the Leaving Certificate to be eligible for that course.

Your subject choices needs to be very carefully made to ensure you are not ruling yourself out of a 3rd Level course you might be interested in later.

The webpage has useful online information for all college courses.

REMEMBER you are the person who is studying these subjects and who is taking the Leaving Cert – it is your responsibility to make sure that the information you have is accurate and up to date.

Ask your teachers, parents and the Guidance Counsellor for help if you need it.

When you are deciding which subjects to take, remember that this decision will have long term consequences on what careers are open to you. Dropping Science subjects or a continental language will have an effect on the range of careers open to you at a later stage.

If a student is unsure of what career area they wish to pursue, I would advise them to keep all options open by taking a Science subject, a Business subject and a Foreign language from their four optional choices, bearing in mind ability, apptitude and subjects that you like.

A final point to note is that a pass in Ordinary Level Maths is essential to virtually all College courses. Up to 5000 students pick Foundation level Maths and a further 5000 fail Ordinary level Maths in the Leaving Cert. Whatever you do, don’t neglect work in Maths during the Leaving Cert Programme.


  1. Students’ interest and liking of a subject are important factors in choosing a subject for Leaving Certificate Level.
  2. Students must be aware of the subject requirements for different courses especially at University.
  3. It is necessary that students understand what PLC, Certificate, Ordinary Degree and Honours Degrees programmes consist of and their duration.
  4. It is in 3rd Year that students need to be focusing themselves.

* ETB – Educational Training Board, formerly known as VEC QQI – Quality & Qualifications Ireland






























25 Bonus Points for Maths for H6 or above







































A European language is required for:

  1. All courses in the Royal College of Surgeons. (Medicine, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy)
  2. The following courses in the NUI (National University of Ireland. Colleges (UCD, UCC, NUIG) Arts, Law, Business, Occupational Therapy, Podiatry, Radiography, Psychology, Medicine, SocialScience, Speech & Language Therapy, Physiotherapy (UCD), Architecture (UCD), Health and Performance Science (UCD), Sports and Exercise Management (UCD), Biomedical Health & Life Sciences (UCD), Dentistry (UCC), Veterinary Medicine (UCD), Accounting (UCC), Biotechnology (NUIG), Crimonology (UCC), Dentistry UCC).

3 Maynooth University: A European Language is required for Arts, Music, Music Technology, Psychology, European Studies, Media Studies and Community and Youth Work degrees.

☞ There is NO LONGER a Language requirement for any BUSINESS or LAW degrees in Maynooth University.

  1. All courses in Angela’s College Sligo excluding Nursing and Food Business.
  2. All courses in Shannon College of Hotel Management.
  3. For a Cadetship in the Irish Army a student must obtain a H5 in 3 Higher level subjects and a minimum of O6 in 3 Ordinary level subjects. A pass in Irish, English, Maths and a European language is also required.

In the NUI Colleges a European language is NOT required for:

  1. Engineering, Agriculture Science, General Science, Computer Science and Nursing.
  2. Institutes of Technology, Trinity College, Colleges of Education (Primary Teaching), UL, DCU and Private Collegesdo not have a Foreign Language requirement.

Important Websites:,, www.ucas,


Qualifax is the website that will speed up your search and inform you of entry requirements for courses.

  • In Qualifax click on blue Student tab on Home Page
  • In centre red tabs click on Subject choice
  • In centre of page click on red Subject Requirement Module tab
  • Click on Leaving Certificate Subjects


This is an essential subject. Employers expect applicants to have numeracy skills.

The following are courses that require HIGHER LEVEL MATHS.



Actuarial Finance (UCD)


Theoretical Physics (TCD)


Engineering Degrees (either in Universities or Inst. of Technology)


Computers and Language (TCD)


Computers (TCD)


Management Science and Information Systems Studies (TCD)


Data Science (DCU)


Finance and Actuarial Maths (DCU)


Industrial Chemistry (UL)

H5 see prospectus

Materials Science (UL)

English OD3 is required by most employers.

The following courses require HIGHER LEVEL ENGLISH

H5 see prospectus

Journalism (DCU)


Communication studies (DCU)


Multimedia (DCU)


English (TCD)


Clinical Speech (TCD)

Irish: Required for entry in all NUI Colleges.

Many jobs require O7 such as Cadets, Solicitor, Nursing, RTE.

The following courses require IRISH

H4 see prospectus

Irish (TCD)


Primary Teaching


Physical Education (UL)


Technology Education (UL)



Essential for NUI Colleges at Ordinary Level and the Cadets. Courses with a language in the title require H5 in that language. There are some courses that require H3 so it is essential to see the relevant College prospectus. (Refer to 3rd Level Subject Requirements - Page 6)


It is advisable to do at least one Science subject if you are interested in the Medical, Nursing, Paramedical, Veterinary, Engineering, Electronics, Computer, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Optics (Optician) or technology area.



Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, Medicine, Dental Science (Dentistry) and Human Genetics at TCD require 2 science subjects (see prospectus as some courses will accept Maths and Geography as a second science subject). Medicine in UCC also requires 2 science subjects. The Science Subjects available in Ardscoil are:

Chemistry: A new and very practical course has been introduced. To study Medicine, Veterinary, Medical Lab Technician (DIT) and Dentistry (UCC), chemistry is ESSENTIAL.

Physics: Students interested in Engineering, Theoretical Physics, Electronics, Physiotherapy, Radiography and the paramedical areas need to study Physics.

Biology: It is ESSENTIAL if studying Genetics (UCC) and Human Health & Disease (TCD) to have Biology. It is recommended to have biology if applying for Nursing.

Agriculture Science: Agriculture Science is the application of Science to the production of quality food. It is accepted as an entry requirement for Nursing and Science Degrees.


Home Economics provides a learning foundation for those seeking employment in a wide range of careers such as: Catering/Chef, Childcare, Consumer Advice, Dietetics, Food Science, Food Technology, Hairdresssing, Nursing, Health Inspection, Social Work, Farming, Food Writing, Restaurateur or Home Economics Teaching.


Useful for politics, Journalism, Gardaí, Prison Warden, Teacher, Writer etc.


Useful for Agriculture, Town planning, Estate Agent, Courier, Teacher, Pilot etc.


Not essential for entry to Art College but is recommended that students take it at Leaving Cert Level. A Portfolio is required for Art, Architecture, Interior Design, Video and TV production. Therefore art is very important. Industrial Design (Sligo IT) and Print Media Communications (Cork IT) require art. NCAD REQUIRE A VERY DETAILED PORTFOLIO.


NUI Maynooth has special entry requirements for Music. UCC, DIT and WIT have entrance tests for their music courses. (see College Prospectus)


Economics covers areas including inflation, banking, trade, budgeting and government finance. Excellent for those wishing to pursue a career in finance or stockbroking.


It provides an excellent foundation for anyone interested in pursuing a Business career. Not necessary for entry to any business courses.


A new and up to date course that gives an excellent foundation in Accountancy. Not essential for business courses or Accountancy, but is recommended if students are interested in becoming Accountants.


It is a very useful and a recommended subject to study if you are interested in Architecture, Engineering, Construction or Design. It is useful for helping in PORTFOLIO design.


A subject that is Practical and Theory based. A project is to be submitted as part of the LC. It is a useful course for those interested in Engineering and Construction but not essential.


Engineering Degrees: Higher Level Maths is a requirement along with a Science subject preferably Physics. NUI Maynooth requires Higher Maths and a science subject for Engineering but has dropped its foreign language requirement.

Computational Thinking: (Maynooth) require H2 in Maths.

Actuary: Higher-level Maths, H2 is a minimum.

Journalism,Communication Studies and Multimedia at DCU require H4 in English. Media Studies also requires H4.

Architecture: UCD require a Science subject. Science is not necessary for any other Architecture course. AT DEGREE LEVEL PHYSICS and CHEMISTRY need to be studied. Art, Tech Drawing and Construction Studies would be useful as there is a PORTFOLIO requirement on most courses.

Engineering: Requires H4 in Maths and at least 1 Science subject.

Cadetship in the Army: Students need at least 3 Honours in Higher papers plus a pass in Irish and a Foreign Language.

Primary Teaching: A H5 in Irish is necessary.

Medicine: It is best to do BOTH CHEMISTRY and BIOLOGY in order to study Medicine. UCC require Higher Chemistry with another Higher Science subject.

Veterinary: Students must obtain H5 in Chemistry in order to gain entry to Veterinary Medicine.

Physiotherapy: Students need to study AT LEAST ONE SCIENCE SUBJECT to pursue Physiotherapy. It is recommended that students study PHYSICS and BIOLOGY.

Radiography: Students should study either CHEMISTRY or PHYSICS.

Pharmacy: A H5 in Chemistry plus H4 in one of the following: Physics, Biology, Maths, Geography, Applied Maths. Students should study 2 Science subjects for Pharmacy.

Dentist: H4 in Chemistry and a H4 in either Physics or Biology.

Computers: Some Degrees require Honours Maths and a Science Subject. But there are many courses that Pass Maths will be adequate.

Nursing: One science subject must be taken to gain entry.

Optics: H4 in one Science subject but two Science subjects are recommended.

Occupational Therapist: H4 in one science subject, preferably Biology.

Speech Therapist: H4 in Irish or English or Foreign Language and H4 in Science, preferably Biology and an O6 in Maths.

Sound Engineering: Music is a useful subject to have along with Business.

Art: A portfolio is essential to enter Art College and Architecture in DIT. Students need to be working on a Portfolio for at least 2 years.

If a course has a subject as its Title, then it is necessary to study that subject to Honours level.

EXAMPLE: For Law and German, a H3 in German is required.



Students who like the accounts section of Business Studies or who like working with figures may find this subject appealing.

What accounting involves:

  • The recording of financial information
  • The presentation of this financial information
  • The interpretation and uses of this information

What do you study?

  • You learn how to prepare Business Final Accounts, Cash Flow Statements, Published Accounts and Accounts from Incomplete Records
  • You learn Management Accounting. This involves business day to day planning and planning for the future using Costings and Budgets
  • Accounts of non-profit making organisations
  • You learn to analyse and comment on financial records

How do you benefit by studying Accounting?

You learn:

  • To collect information
  • To record and analyse information
  • To think logically and clearly
  • To understand the importance of financial information for good decision-making. This can be for shareholders, creditors, employers, employees, customers or members of a voluntary organisation.

You have an advantage when you go on to further study. Accounting is on the curriculum of many third level courses: the most obvious are Business courses but also Hotel Management, Hospital and School Administration, various Computer courses, Auctioneering, Advertising, Law and Engineering.

You develop an ability to link Accounting with relevant computer applications.

Career options:







Computer Industry


Law and Engineering

Running Your Own Business


Requirements: You must be disciplined, hardworking and have a lot of love for the subject. It is recommended that you have studied Art, Craft & Design at Junior Certificate Level.


  1. Design or Craftwork
  2. Imaginative Composition or Still life
  3. Life Drawing
  4. History and Appreciation of Art

Class time allotted: one double class and three single classes (5th and 6th year).

  1. Design: 100 marks – 25% of the total marks

Requirements: Observational and layout skills are necessary.

Being able to bring some idea from observational sketches through Realisation, thus producing a Personal Creative Response in the finished piece of work.

Design paper

Craftwork paper



Lino Cutting

Book craft




Weaving Pottery


Art Metalwork

Screen Painting

Lino cutting


Poster Making Book craft

Fabric printing

Screen printing





Carving Pottery



Craft or Design is chosen and one question is answered on the day.

However, the paper is given to students’ one week before examination day.

  1. Imaginative Composition or Still Life (100 marks – 25% to total marks) 2 ½ hour exam
    1. Still Life: A group of objects.
    2. Imaginative Composition: A pictorial piece, collage or abstract composition.

The main mark for this area is given to candidate’s personal response to the question.

This is one paper and candidates are given the paper one week before the exam.

You must plan out the section you wish to answer well in advance of the examination day as the still life objects must be brought in and set up by the candidate.

  1. Life Drawing – 50 marks – 12.5% of overall mark. One hour exam.

Two sketches of the model are required

  • One quick sketch and one fully worked up sketch
  • Quality Drawing is required
  • The paper is given to students one week before the examination day
  1. History & Appreciation of Art – 150 marks – 2 ½ hour exam – 37.5% of total mark
    • Irish Art – Art in Ireland from 2000 BC – 20th Century
    • European Art – 11th – 20th Century European Art
    • General Appreciation – Covers architecture, design, environmental design, film and visits to galleries.

This is a written paper and the candidate must answer one question from each section.

Students are encouraged to enter all competitions and they are also encouraged to produce a portfolio for entry 3rd Level Colleges. Portfolio preparation is not part of the Leaving Certificate Syllabus, but teachers will advise and assist if a student is willing to work.

Career Opportunities:

Graphic design, textile design, film making, photography, fashion design, fine art, display design, communications, sculpture, ceramics.

It is important to have all necessary art, craft and design materials in September.

A new fully equipped ceramics area is now available to all students.


(Previously Technical Drawing)

The DCG Leaving Certificate Course is based on the old Technical Drawing course merged with Computer Aided Design.

The course is based upon a terminal exam of three hours (60%) and a project based on the Solid Works CAD package (40%).

In addition to the traditional technical drawing is freehand sketched and rendering. This will allow students to produce a portfolio, which can be presented for assessment for Architectural courses at Third Level.

The course is broken down as follows:

  • – Plane and Descriptive Geometry
    1. Project Systems
    2. Planes Geometry
    3. Conics
    4. Descriptive Geometry
    5. Developments and Intersections
  • – Communictions of Design and CAD
    1. Graphic in Design
    2. Communication of Design
    3. Freehand Drawing
    4. IT and Communications Technology
  • – Optional Areas – 2 of the following:
    1. Dynamic Mechanisms
    2. Structural Forms
    3. Geology Geometry
    4. Surface Geometry
    5. Assemblies


Leaving Certificate Chemistry is quite different from the Junior Certificate Chemistry section. It requires plenty of understanding rather than memory work. While students do not need to study maths at higher level leaving cert standard, a good understanding of maths is important for Chemistry at higher level. Also, a good understanding of Junior Cert science at higher level is necessary. The course gives a good introduction to Chemistry and its many uses in our world. Practical work is an intergral part of the study of Chemistry and there are a number of experiments on the course, which must be carried out by the students.

The main sections of the Chemistry course are:

  • Detailed atomic structure and bonding.
  • Working out concentrations and solutions.
  • Organic Chemistry and its many important uses in everyday life.
  • Rates of chemical reaction and chemical equilibrium.
  • Environmental Chemistry and pollution.
  • Industrial chemistry – e.g. extraction of metals from their ores, making of fertilisers and use of electricity in chemical reactions.
  • Social, historical, environmental, technological and economic aspects of chemistry.

All these sections are backed up with suitable practical work and demonstrations.

Also the course addresses many topical subjects such as:

  • How is soap produced from animal fat and vegetable oil.
  • How is vinegar analysed for acid test.
  • How does the breathalyser test work.
  • What are the causes of water pollution.
  • Determining the age of archaeological remains.
  • How is water analysed for water content.
  • Why mountaineers need to become acclimatized for high altitudes.
  • How does lime form in a kettle.

The above is a small sample of the many topical areas of discussion and investigation.

Chemistry is an area where the prospect of the employment is increasing. Many of the new industries entering Ireland are involved in Chemistry and as such need trained and qualified chemists and many other professionals with an understanding and backround in Chemistry.


The Leaving Certificate course is studied in much greater detail than the Junior Certificate Biology course with extra topics being added.

It has traditionally been the most popular science subject but like all Leaving Certificate subjects it is difficult. The work involves lots of theoretical learning by heart which is based on the retention of facts.

Biology is very interesting but attention to detail is crucial. The course also involves some practical work.

The course is divided into three units:

Unit 1: Biology - the study of life

  1. The scientific method.
  2. The characteristics of life.
  3. General principles of ecology.
  4. A study of the ecosystem.

Unit 2: The Cell

  1. Cell structure.
  2. Cell metabolism.
  3. Cell continuity.
  4. Cell diversity.

Unit 3: The Organism

  1. Diversity of Organisms (micro-organisms – the flowering plant – animals).
  2. Plant Physiology.
  3. Animal Physiology.

It is important to remember that 70% of the course is based on the pure science of Biology and the remaining 30% is based on the current technological, political, social and economic aspects of Biology.

Students must be able to merge theory from the curriculum with developments in the modern world.

The subject is tested by exam only and demands a detailed knowledge of the course content as well as a high standard of English.


What is Business?

Business is concerned with understanding the environment in which it operates. As a Business student you are encouraged to show enterprise, initiative and self-reliance, which you may apply in further education and in your personal public life.

What do students study?

Students study many aspects of the business world


Consumers, producers, investors, interest groups, employers/employees, industrial relations and suppliers.


Entrepreneur, Management of Business, Financial Management, Human Resources Management, Marketing Household


Types of business, Community Development, Governments and Business, International Business, EU, Role of Information Technology in Business

How do students benefit by studying Business?

Students learn to:

  • Make informed business Decisions.
  • Understand the structure and management of business.
  • Use established commercial principles and knowledge.
  • Understand and appreciate ethics in business.
  • Practice Communication, Literacy, Numeracy, and Problem Solving Skills.
  • Understand and discuss current affairs as they relate to business.

Business is also a foundation for further studies.

Career Options

  • Any business related career. The study of Finance and Management will enhance any career choice.
  • Setting up one’s own business.


This subject is a study of the construction industry in Ireland. It involves theoretical study and practical projects aimed at developing an understanding of knowledge/skills concerned with building methods and practices. Students will learn structural principles used in Ireland to create durable buildings, which offer shelter from the elements, provide comfort, warmth and all our living needs in a safe and regulated standard.

Construction is mostly related to domestic dwellings but deals with broader aspects.

The current construction studies course comprises three components:

  1. Written Examination (50%)
  2. Project Work (25%) III. Skills Test (25%)
  3. Written Examination

The written exam in June is a 3 hour exam to answer 5 questions from a choice of 10. Question one is a compulsory drawing question for all students.

Exam questions cover a range of topics from:

  1. Sub structure (below ground)
  2. Superstructure (above ground)
  3. Internal Constructions (timber floors etc.)
  4. Internal walls etc.
  5. Services and external work (plumbing, electrical and waste disposal)
  6. Processes (window, doors, stairs etc.)
  7. Heat and thermal effects in buildings
  8. Illumination and sound in buildings

Higher Level covers three more topics than Ordinary Level and requires a much greater knowledge of all topics.

  1. Project Work

The project consists of an artefact and a folio, which details the research and manufacture of the artefact.

This can be a model, a craft related or research style project. It takes approximately forty hours to complete. All work to be carried out during class time.

  • Skills Test

This is a four hour exam in May, whereby the students are given a working drawing. They have to interpret the drawing, mark out the wood, process and complete the artefact in the time given.

Overall the project work and skills test are common to all students. The only differentiation between ordinary and higher level is in the theory papers.


  • Previous knowledge of Technical Graphics preferable - to Junior Cert Standard.
  • Previous knowledge of Woodwork preferable - to Junior Cert Standard.

These two components make up to two thirds of the overall Construction Studies course content.

Students who have not achieved either of the above may take the course but will require the maximum effort during the two years to have any chance of even moderate success at the Leaving Cert Exam.

This subject is an ideal choice for any student considering a career in the Engineering, Science or Services (electrical, plumbing etc.) industries.


What is Economics?

“The study of how people use their limited resources to try to satisfy unlimited wants”.

Economics tries to answer seven big questions:

  1. Production and Consumption

How do people choose what to consume and what to produce, and how are these choices affected by the discovery of new ways of doing things?

  1. Wages and Earnings

What determines peoples’ incomes and why do some appear to receive much larger rewards than others, whose efforts appear to be similar?

  1. Unemployment

What are the causes of unemployment and why are some people more severely affected than others?

  1. Inflation

Why do prices rise and what are the effects of rising prices on the economy?

  1. Government

How does Government spending and taxing influence economic life and what happens when the government has a deficit or a surplus?

  1. International Trade

What determines the pattern and the volume of trade between nations and what are the effects of tariffs, quotes and the Euro on international trade?

  1. Wealth and Poverty

What causes differences in the wealth among nations, making the people in some countries rich

and others poor?


Economics is divided into Macro and Micro Economics.

  • Micro Economics studies the decisions of individual households and firms.
  • Macro Economics studies the Economy as a whole.

Under Macro Economics you will study topics such as:

  • Opportunity costs
  • Economic systems
  • National debt
  • International Financial Institutes
  • Consumer Price Index
  • Economic Monetary Union
  • Economic Thought

Micro Economics looks at the finer details where you will study topics such as:

  • Demand and Supply Curves
  • Elasticity – responsiveness of quantity demanded to change in price
  • Cost of Production
  • Monopolies versus Perfect Competition
  • Demand for the Factors of Production


In studying Economics you should obtain a general picture and understanding of Economic activities, patterns and principles. You should develop the capacity to apply these principles and transfer your knowledge to new situations. You should develop an interest in everyday Economics and will gain a suitable basis for further study of the subject.

The Economics Student

Economics suits the pupil who is good at learning precise definitions and is able to apply them to new situations. The Economic student has an analytical mind and does not have to be a Maths genius. They have a good interest in the Economy, understanding terms such as inflation, the Celtic Tiger, employment rates and foreign trade.

Reading daily newspapers is an important element of the course

The Economist might seek employment in financial institutions, analysing markets, interpreting data and predicting future economic trends. Banks, Building Society, Stock Markets, the Insurance Industry and Government Departments will benefit from the work of the Economist.


Geography is the study of the forces that create and change our landscape. It also involves study of the location and distribution of the inhabitants of the earth’s landscape. By this definition it is a dynamic and demanding course which examines in detail those topics covered for the Junior Cert.

Students learn about the geographical patters in the landscape and human environment and develop a positive attitude to environmental conservation.

The new syllabus is divided into three new parts.


All three core units must be taken by both Ordinary and Higher Level students.

Core Unit 1 Patterns and processes in the Physical Environmental

Core Unit 2 Regional Geography

Core Unit 3 The Geographical and Investigation Unit

Core Unit 1 Physical Geography

This section involves detailed study of the process which shapes the physical landscape and involves topics like Rivers, Glaciation and the Sea.

Core Unit 2 Regional Geography

A number of Western European countries will be studied in this section.

Primary, Secondary and Tertiary activities will be examined in each country.

Core Unit Geographical and Investigation Skills

This section focuses on developing geographical and investigation skills. This involves the study of Ordinance Survey maps and photographs and the completion of Field work. Field work is now a compulsory part of the core syllabus and a Field Work Report must be submitted to the Department of Education and Science before the Leaving Certificate Examinations.

Elective Units

One of the following must be taken by both Ordinary and Higher Level students

Effective Unit 4 Patterns and Processes in Economic Activities

Effective Unit 5 Patterns and Processes in the Human Environment

One topic must be chosen from either A and B

  • Patterns and Processes in Economic Activities

This involves a study of topics like Agriculture, Industry and Service Industry.

  • Patterns and Processes in the Human Environment

This deals with how humans interact with their human environment and involves topics like pollution.

Optional Unit


One topic must be selected from the following list for higher level students


Higher Level Only Students take one of the following Units

Optional Unit 6

Global Interdependence

Optional Unit 7


Optional Unit 8

Culture and Identity

Optional Unit 9

The Atmosphere - Ocean Environment

The Exam format is that of short answer questions, multi part questions and essay style questions.


Only students who have been studying French to Junior Certificate and Transition Year may take the subject to Leaving Certificate.

French for the Leaving Certificate covers the four skills of

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening

An ear for languages is therefore a decided advantage for this subject and as far as possible, class will be conducted through French. The exam demands a sound grasp of French grammar, a broad vocabulary to deal with both literal and journalistic comprehension and an ability to express oneself clearly and accurately in a range of written exercises, letters, notes, reports, resumes, expressions of views or options.

There will be a 15 minute oral exam and a 40 minute listening comprehension test.

  1. In September 1995 a new syllabus for Senior Cycle French was introduced. The most dramatic change was in the increased importance, which is given to oral and aural French. The marks at Higher Level are increased to 45%.
  2. The syllabus puts an emphasis on French civilisation. Students are expected to have a broad knowledge of French political, educational and cultural life.
  3. It is important to remember also that French, unlike some other foreign Languages, may not be started at third level.

Students are encouraged to look for penpals in France and if possible to go on an exchange to France. In class, tapes, videos, magazines and newspapers are used extensively to expose students to a wide range of authentic material.


Only students studying German to Junior Certificate and Transition Year may take the subject to Leaving Certificate.

Four skills are examined

  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Reading

As far as possible the classes are conducted through German.

Students are encouraged to spend some time in Germany to improve their language skills as is the case with all modern languages.

There is a wide gap between the Level of writing demanded at Junior Certificate and that require at Leaving Certificate.

A thorough knowledge of German grammar is required, as is a broad range of vocabulary. Students must be able to deal with literary and journalistic comprehensions.

Oral Higher Level 25%: Ordinary level 20%

The Oral exam itself is divided into three sections:

  • General Questions (Prepared prior to exam)
  • A Picture Sequence (Prepared prior to exam) (iii) A Role Play (Prepared prior to exam) Listening Comprehension (Higher Level) 20%

(Ordinary Level) 25%

Written paper 55% of total marks.

At Higher Level there is a great emphasis on reading comprehension, both literary and journalistic style. Questions are asked in both English and German. There is a question relating to grammar within the comprehension passage.

Another question requires the student to write on an abstract topic related to the comprehension theme. There is also a letter or other written passage.

At Ordinary Level there are three reading comprehension passages, again of literary and journalistic style, similar to those at Higher Level. There are fewer marks assigned to written German at this level.


Only students who have been studying Italian to Junior Certificate And Transition Year may take the subject to Leaving Certificate.

Italian for the Leaving Certificate covers the four skills of:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening

An ear for languages is therefore a decided advantage for this subject and as far as possible, class will be conducted through Italian. The exam demands a sound grasp of Italian grammar, a broad vocabulary to deal with comprehension work and an ability to express oneself clearly and accurately in a range of writing exercises. There will be a fifteen minute oral exam and a forty minute listening comprehension test. Students have the option to study an Italian novel.

In class, tapes, videos, films, songs, magazines and newspapers are used extensively to expose students to a wide range of authentic material.


The study of History at Leaving Certificate aims to develop the skills of handling information and presenting it in a coherent manner.


  • Location of information
  • Evaluation of information
  • Detection of bias
  • Being able to see all aspects of a problem or situation
  • Presentation of a coherent point of view

The Course:

  • Research study (pre-submitted) 20%
  • A compulsory documents-based study on three designated case studies from American History 20% as follows:

“The Montgomery Bus Boycott”

“Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam 1963-1968”

“The Moon Landing 1969”

  • Two topics in Irish History 40%
  • One topic in European history 20%

The Value of Studying Leaving Certificate History

  1. Relevance to Modern Life: Knowing history helps us to understand the roots of issues which affect our planet. History gives us context & a sense of perspective.
  2. Awareness of human behaviour: History will give you insights into ways of life and ways of thinking which are different from our own. It will deepen your understanding of the human condition and human motivation.
  3. Concepts: You will gain an understanding of concepts that are relevant to life today such as Democracy, Human rights, Power, Authority, Conflict and Reconciliation.
  4. Career Relevance: The study of history trains the mind to think independently, and to assemble, organise and present facts and opinions. These skills are valued in many careers.
  5. Communication Skills: Historical writing develops your skill to organise ideas, express clear opinions and reach balanced conclusions.
  6. Research Skills: You will study history through a variety of sources. You will learn how to handle different sources.
  7. Analytical Skills: You will sharpen your critical thinking skills which will benefit you in any career and in life in general.


Home Economics is an applied subject, combining theory with practice. This is a new syllabus with a time allocation of five periods per week. The course is divided into three core areas:

  1. Food Studies 45%
  2. Resource Management /Consumer Studies 25%
  3. Social Studies 10%

Practical cookery work is carried out as part of Food Studies. This is written into a journal an assessed by an external examiner (20% total Home Economics Leaving Certificate result).

Home Economics covers topics such as diet and nutrition, food constituents, microbiology, food preservation, consumerism and social issues, the family and the home. Home Economics combines theory with practice in order to develop understanding and solve problems.

Home Economics is vital in the preparation of young people for life and helps to develop a capacity to manage an their lives in an effective and competent manner and to be socially competent.

Home Economics provides a learning foundation for those seeking employment in a wide range of careers such as: Catering/Chef, Childcare, Consumer Advice, Dietetics, Food Science, Food Technology, Hairdresssing, Nursing, Health Inspection, Social Work, Farming, Food Writing, Restaurateur or Home Economics Teaching.


Music at Leaving Certificate level is a continuation of the Junior Certificate Course therefore it is suitable for students who have studied music to Junior Certificate level or equivalent i.e. those who have studied music theory.

The Leaving Certificate course is divided into three sections:

  • Listening – 100 marks
  • Composing – 100 marks
  • Performing (including Music Technology) – 100 marks

This constitutes 75% of the examination.

To obtain the other 25% the student must take an elective for another 100 marks.

The elective is chosen from one of the categories above. Most students take the Performance Elective. Music prescribed for the course includes music by the great composers (Bach, Mozart), contemporary Irish composers (Raymond Deane, Gerald Barry) and music by Queen and The Beatles. There is also a complete section on Irish Traditional Music.

The composing element requires students to compose and musically notate a melody, analyse and harmonize a melody, writing a bass line which must be notated on the bass stave.

The final exam requires a performance. Each candidate will need to perform for an examiner as follows:

Higher Level: Four to eight pieces of music and music technology.

Ordinary Level: Two pieces of music or music technology.

Performance Examination takes place in March / April.

Listening and Composing Papers take place in June.


The Leaving Certificate course covers the following core topics:

  • Mechanics: Study of forces, energy and motion (7 mandatory experiments)
  • Temperature and Heat: Study of heat, heat quantities, heat transfer, temperature and thermometers (4 mandatory experiments)
  • Waves: Study of wave phenomena
  • Vibrations and sounds: Study of wavce nature of sound, vibratons in strings and air columns, characteristics of notes (3 mandatory experiments)
  • Light: study of mirrors, lenses, reflection, refraction and the wave nature of light (5 mandatory experiments)
  • Study of static electricity, electric fields, capacitance, electric current and electromagnetism (5 mandatory experiments)
  • Modern physics: Study of electrons and their properties; the nucleus, radioactivity and nuclear energy

In addition to the core material there are two options offered.

Option 1: Particle Physics

Option 2: Applied Electricity

Leaving Certificate Physics is a very interesting and challenging subject. The Physics Syllabus does not require Higher Level Mathematics.

However, the use of formulae and Mathematical problems occur in most topics.

Students studying Physics should enjoy mathematical calculations.

Practical work is an integral part of the Physics course; students must carry out the mandatory experiments and keep detailed accounts of procedures, calculations and analysis of results. This practical work will be assessed in the written exam paper.

This revised syllabus places particular emphasis on Science, Technology and Society so that students may relate the various laws and principles to everyday life.


Subject Overview

Agricultural Science is the study of the science and technology underlying the principles and practices of agriculture. It aims to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes concerning the factors that affect the longterm wellbeing of agricultural resources, and places emphasis on the managed use of these resources.


Main Topics:

  • The general structure and function of plants.
  • Plant Physiology – Osmosis, respiration, photosynthesis, transpiration and translocation.
  • Farm crops- cereal and roots.
  • Farm crops – grassland.
  • Trees and shelter.
  • Structure and function of the animal body.
  • Principles of Genetics.
  • The cow, sheep, horse and pig.
  • Farm buildings (for school assessment only).
  • Farm house environment (for school assessment only).

Terminal Examination = 75%

Continuous Assessment = 25%

The examination in Agricultural Science consists of:

  • Terminal examination paper and
  • An assessment of the work of the candidate during the course by interview under the headings: Identification of plant and animal types associated with agriculture.
    1. A project based on a two year farm study of 2 crops and 1 animal enterprise as well as farmyard layouts and plants. (*Access to a farm is beneficial but it is not necessary to be from a farming background).
    2. Investigations carried out related to ecology, soil science, animal physiology, plant physiology, genetics and microbiology.
03 2024
Bank Holiday
05 2024
State Exams Commence
24 2024
1st Year Induction
Co. Kildare,
R14 DK12,

059 863 8215

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