Why do the CAO use points?
The CAO converts your grades (from either Leaving Cert or QQI / FETAC exams) into points in order to make it easier for them to know who did better at their exams. The colleges offer places to the students with the highest points first, so if there are more students looking for a course than there are places in the class, they give those places to the students with the highest points!
Note - sometimes there are specific subject requirements also - so it doesn't matter how many points you get you won't be able to study Theoretical Physics in TCD unless you have a H3 in Maths and Physics - which seems sensible enough!
How are points calculated?
For students sitting exams in 2017 onwards, the following tables show you how to convert your exam grades into points.
Leaving Cert Students
Firstly, find out your grades from your marks as follows...
|H1 / O1||90 - 100|
|H2 / O2||80 < 90|
|H3 / O3||70 < 80|
|H4 / O4||60 < 70|
|H5 / O5||50 < 60|
|H6 / O6||40 < 50|
|H7 / O8||30 < 40|
|H8 / O8||0 < 30|
Next, find out your points from your grades as follows...
- If you take Higher Maths and get a H6 or more, your maths score will include an extra 25 bonus points
- You add up your six highest scoring subjects to get your final CAO Points
- Your bonus points in maths can only be counted if the total for maths (points + bonus points) is one of the six highest subjects used to calculate the total (which it usually is, but not always)
- If you are taking the LCVP, use the following table to find your points from your grades:
|LCVP Grade||LCVP Points|
QQI / FETAC Students
For Further Education students taking QQI awards, every module you take has a credit value. Short modules have fewer credits than longer modules. Completing a module means you have achieved all the credits for that module. Typically, QQI modules are 15 credits each – so completing 8 modules = 120 credits. 120 Credits are needed to achieve a QQI Major Award.
However, sometimes a module will have as much as 30 credits, so completing one large module (30 Credits) plus 6 more normal modules (6 × 15 = 90) would achieve the 120 credits needed. Some courses also offer additional modules, in which case you use the scores from your best ones to calculate your points, but this makes figuring out your points trickier.
What if I sat exams before 2017?
The current grading scale was introduced in 2017, and is significantly different from previous scales. The document below discusses the current and previous scales and how results from previous sittings of exams are converted into the current system.