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Thinking of repeating the Leaving Cert?

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of repeating the LC and whether it is the right choice for you.

Thinking of repeating the Leaving Cert?

Leaving Cert Results Guide
To explore our Leaving Cert Results - Your Next Steps guide, click here.

Disappointed with your results? Considering repeating your Leaving Cert? In this article, we consider the choices available to students who are looking at repeating and offer some reflections to help with the decision.

The decision to repeat the Leaving Cert is not one that should be taken lightly.The State examinations take enormous amounts of dedication and determination, and throwing yourself into the deep end again may not be the best idea. In order to make this decision, you must first examine why you did not perform as well as you wanted in the first sitting. Once you have established why, you then need to ask yourself if there is a good chance you will be able to improve upon this. In other words, you must seriously consider whether it is worth your time to undergo the process again.

Reflect - Where did I go wrong the first time around?

A good starting point is to work out where you went wrong the first time around. Take some quiet time to think about it. Ask yourself such questions as:

  • Could I have done any better?
  • What stopped me from getting the results I wanted/needed?
  • Were there circumstances beyond my control?
  • Will it be any different next year?
  • Am I likely to slide into the same old habits again?

Fact: It is possible to do much better in the Leaving Cert the second time round!

Fact: It is possible to achieve fewer points than the first time around!

There are no guarantees that you will achieve a higher points score if you repeat the Leaving Cert. The best way to ensure you improve in your second sitting is to be aware of what went wrong the first time and alter your behaviour so that you don't make the same mistakes again.

One reassurance that the Leaving Cert system offers is that the CAO will accept your highest points score from any sitting. Therefore, you will not have to present a lower points score to the CAO than you did the previous year. From this point of view, you cannot lose from repeating the examinations.

In addition to this, if you have already achieved a minimum subject grade in your first sitting, you can use this grade to satisfy an entry requirement to CAO courses in the future. 

if you applied to a course that requires a H4 in Maths and you achieved a H4 in Maths in your first sitting of the Leaving Cert, you do not need to achieve a H4 again in order to satisfy a course entry requirement.

You cannot combine points scores from separate sittings of the Leaving Cert.

Where to Repeat
If repeating is the best option for you, the next consideration is where to repeat. Returning to your old school may or may not be an option - it may be at the discretion of the school principal.

On the plus side, repeating at your old school has the benefit of being a familiar environment, usually close to home, and there will be teachers who know and understand you.

On the downside, schools do not generally have a dedicated repeat class so you will be studying alongside others who are studying for the Leaving Cert for the first time. This in itself can create a new set of challenges.

Some second-level schools have dedicated repeat classes. Some Further Education colleges offer a repeat Leaving Cert year. The latter has the advantage of allowing students to move to a college environment while studying the Leaving Cert course. 

There are also dedicated grind schools, which have a strong track record in helping repeat students to improve their results. This tends to be the most expensive option.

The Cost of Repeating
Private repeat centres can be expensive. The Institute of Education in Leeson Street, Dublin charge €7,650. Ashfield College costs €7,250.

Prices around the country are similar: Bruce College in Cork – €7,650; Hewitt College, Cork – €6,950; Yeats College in Galway and Waterford – €7,650.

Other colleges offer Repeat Leaving Cert courses at much more affordable prices. Rathmines College charges students €300 for its course, followed by the Leaving Cert Entry Fee in Spring, which is paid to the State Examinations Commission. Portlaoise College also charges a course fee of €300 for its Repeat Leaving Cert course as well as the State exam fee.

Prices vary a lot between colleges, so it is best to contact individual institutions for up-to-date fee information.
See a list of colleges and schools which offer Repeat Leaving Cert courses here.

Other Options
Repeating the Leaving Cert is far from your only option if you do not get the CAO offer you want. PLC courses, Apprenticeships, and Studying Abroad are just a few of the alternatives to the CAO. PLC courses offer greater progression links to higher education, and an increasing number of apprenticeships are offering degree awards. To find out more about these options, click here.

Professional Advice
If you would like to discuss the option of repeating the Leaving Cert with a qualified guidance counsellor, give the National Parents Council's (Post Primary) helpline a call. The number is 1800 265 165

HELPLINE 1800-265-165
Tuesday 13th August  10am – 7pm
Wednesday 14th August 10am – 7pm
Thursday 15th August  1pm – 7pm
Friday 16th August  8am – 7pm
Saturday 17th August  9am – 1pm

See the Repeating the Leaving Cert section of our Leaving Cert Guide here.

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