After a year like no other, some 55,000 candidates across the country began their Leaving Certificate and Leaving Cert Applied written exams this week.

The main exam session began on Wednesday (June 9), and will run until Tuesday, June 29, for the Leaving Cert and June 17, for Leaving Cert Applied.

Students were able to opt to sit their exams, to receive accredited grades, or both on a subject-by-subject basis.

From the latest information available to the State Examinations Commission (SEC), 90% of all (61,500) Leaving Cert candidates have indicated their intention to sit exams in one or more subjects, with almost 40,000 indicating their intention to present in five or more subjects.

Leaving Cert ag science exam

The SEC will run the system of exams and accredited grades and issue candidates with a single set of provisional results which integrates both processes.

Those who have sat exams only will be provided with exam results; those who have opted for accredited grades only will be provided with accredited grades; and those who have opted for both will be provided with the better result between the two processes.

Candidates confirmed their choices of exams, accredited grades, or both on a subject-by-subject basis through the Candidate Self Service Portal earlier this year.

Note: The data presented below is based on the most up-to-date figures available from the SEC. All data is provisional and candidates’ final choices will not be known until results issue in September.

60% (5,190) of all (8,583) agricultural science students this year chose the option of both the written exam and accredited grade, and will receive the better of the results. The exam will take place on Monday, June 21, from 2:00p.m to 4:30p.m.

Less than 1% (35) have chosen to only sit the exam; while 37% (3,214) have chosen to receive an accredited grade only and not sit the exam. 2% (144) of students did not select on option.

Leaving Cert Applied

A new specification for Leaving Cert agricultural science was introduced in September 2019 and will be examined for the first time this year.

The written exam is worth 75% of the overall grade in this subject.

Agricultural economics, a former Leaving Cert subject, was examined for the final time in November 2020.

In regards to the Leaving Cert Applied agriculture/horticulture exam, 98 students have opted for both accredited grades and the written exam; one candidate has opted to do the written exam only; and 198 have opted for the accredited grade only.

The exam will take place on Wednesday, June 16, from 9:30a.m until 11:00a.m.

‘To move on with their lives’

Pat Burke, chairperson of the SEC said that Covid-19 has “brought hardship and pain to so many families this year – Leaving Cert students have also endured additional stresses”.

“We hope that the adjustments to the examinations and the system of accredited grades support our students and allow them to move on with their lives,” he added.

It is intended that the results of exams and accredited grades will be issued on September 3.

As of Friday afternoon, both Leaving Cert English papers, home economics, engineering and geography exams have taken place, with students due to sit maths paper one at 2:00p.m.