Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Liam McCaul from Sustainable Energy Authority to give some advice for people considering this job:

Liam McCaul

R&D Engineer

Sustainable Energy Authority

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Liam McCaul
Do your best to find out the most you can about your specific engineering category, whether it be Electronics, Mechanical, Civil etc. Approach companies to try and get experience whilst you are at college, that way you have a running start on how to use the most up to date packages and instruments that companies have, and that then gets you the work experience when you finish college.

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Leaving Cert 2017

Leaving Cert Results

The Leaving Cert is the culmination of many years schooling, and everybody expects that the results achieved should reflect the effort and ability of each student.

Whereas most students and parents happily accept their results, others are often confused or disappointed. There can be many reasons for such feelings, and in the section below we address some of the questions parents and students often ask at this time.


What’s the best way for my son / daughter to access Leaving Cert Results?

Leaving Cert results are issued to the school or education provider. (If you are an external candidate, your results are issued directly to you.) Each school makes their own arrangements for students, regarding the time for collection.

All candidates also have the option of accessing their results using the SEC Online Results service which is available at 12.00 midday on the August results date.

Students will need their Personal Identification Number (PIN) and exam number (issued to all candidates before the commencement of the written exams in June)

Some students prefer to be with their peers when they receive their Leaving Cert results from the school. Others may prefer to access their results in private and/or electronically, with just a discreet family or other supportive presence close by.

How do we calculate points on Leaving Cert Results?

A new grading scheme for the Leaving Certificate 2017 is now in place. The new grading scheme applies to students who commenced Senior Cycle from September 2015, and who are sitting the Leaving Certificate examination from 2017 forward.

New points calculators for both Leaving Cert and QQI - FET students to assist them in calculating their points according to the new scheme.

Points are calculated from the marks on a student's best six subjects only.

In the excitement – this can occasionally be overlooked. An example of Leaving Cert Results set beside the points calculator is available here.

How do the Bonus Points for Maths work?

25 bonus points for Maths are currently awarded to all students who sit and pass the Higher Level paper e.g.

  • H1 (100 points) + bonus (25 points) = 125 points
  • H3 (77 points) + bonus (25 points) = 102 points
  • H7 (37 points) + zero bonus points = 37

If a student has repeated the Leaving Cert the bonus will apply to the single best sitting of the best six scores. This may or may not include Maths.

Bonus Point for Maths and Entry to Medicine

The maximum possible adjusted points score for applicants into Medicine increases from 560 to 565. For all scores over 550, each 5 point band equals one extra point.

The baseline score of 480 points will still apply but can include the bonus points if HL mathematics (cumulative points) is among the best six subjects. In other words:

  • All students presenting H6 or above in HL mathematics will have 25 points added to their score for mathematics
  • The six highest subject points scores will then be counted to achieve a cumulative points score, as is normal practice.

The bonus points will only be relevant in cases where HL mathematics (including bonus points) is scored as one of the candidate’s six best subjects for points purposes. Consequently, if HL mathematics is not among these six subjects, the bonus points will not be included in the total points score.

How do you cope with a disappointing Leaving Cert?

Completing the Leaving Certificate marks a successful milestone in its own right and whatever the outcome, this is a day for congratulations, a celebration of achievement and the success of completion. However, the Leaving Cert can go wrong for lots of reasons but it’s important to keep the focus on looking forward to the next stage of your career or education.

For those who are disappointed with the results, there is always the option of the appeals process, but there are other alternatives also open to you. Our Guidance Counsellor looks at coping with a disappointing Leaving Cert by ... Making a New Plan

Leaving Cert results season can be a difficult time for some students as they watch others celebrate their success while they feel such disappointment at their own performance. Well take heart, you are not alone and if you look around you will see your feelings mirrored in many others. You want to feel the joy and happiness your friends are experiencing but you just can’t, you plaster the fake smile on your face and congratulate them while inside you are in bits.

It's not easy to pull yourself back from this disappointment but believe me you can do it. Don’t deny the feelings - instead, channel them! Understand that this disappointment is a sign that you want to succeed and are motivated, otherwise, you wouldn’t care about your results.

"Allow the tears and feelings to flow and be kind to yourself"

If you look at many famous and successful people they had many failures and disappointments along the way to success. The road they travelled was not without bumps but the one thing they all had in common was a determination to pick themselves up and keep trying until they reached their goals. Not everyone takes the direct route to their chosen career, some find creative and interesting ways to get there. In the words of the entrepreneur, Richard Branson:
Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.

So the first thing to do is to allow the tears and feelings to flow and be kind to yourself, it is a big deal and you are allowed to feel sorry for yourself (for a little while).


Now, be honest with yourself. Consider it an analysis of your approach rather than a criticism of your ability. Take some time to reflect and ask yourself what happened to result in those grades/no grades. You probably know the truth behind your performance but you need to have an honest conversation with yourself.

  • Did you apply yourself enough?
  • Did you have a good routine?
  • Did you have good study habits?
  • Were you organised?
  • Did you spend too much time with your friends? On Facebook? Twitter? Online?
  • Did you only start studying seriously too late? Did you take levels that were too hard for you?
  • Did you feel stressed out?
  • Did you feel unwell?
  • Did you eat and sleep well and take care of yourself?
  • Did you want to do well in your Leaving Cert?
  • Do you get any pleasure from academic success?
  • Did you put yourself under too much pressure?
  • Is study for you?
  • Do you even want to go to college?
  • Do you want to try again and repeat?
  • How motivated are you to achieve academically?

It is important to analyse your previous approach to your studies in order to prevent it happening again in the next phase of your life if you are moving on to college if you are considering repeating or considering another pathway.

So what are your options?

There are many ways to get to your destination, some of which are often overlooked.

While the Leaving Cert is an important end of school exam and does open doors to other options it may not be the only way to directly secure that college place or gain the training you require. If you are considering repeating make sure you really want to and are committed to the study necessary as you don’t want to feel like this again next year.

If you are disappointed with your results, consider a different option.
  • FET (PLC) courses - a huge variety of courses available. Many facilitate access to universities and Institutes the following year. (Search here)
  • Work – with on the job training such as the banks, airlines, retail.
  • Private colleges - entry requirements can be lower and fees can be claimed against tax.
  • Online/distance/open university education courses - including degrees (check out open university, DCU etc.)
  • SOLAS (FAS) -  Register for their training courses.
  • Apprenticeship - craft as well as NEW earn and learn degree-level options
  • Part-time study -  evenings, weekends.
  • Defence forces - Consider joining the Gardaí, Army, or Navy - Details
  • Private courses with professional recognition.
  • Modular study- building up to a full award /qualification over time.
  • Study abroad check out UCAS clearing, Eunicas - More information
  • Entrepreneurship - Set up your own business - contact LEO - your local enterprise board - More information
  • Become a blogger, freelance journalist, photographer, artist, musician, DJ.
  • Travel - Spend a year abroad working with a charity or teach English.
  • Mature Entry - Consider returning to education at 23 as a mature student.
  • Diversify - Consider doing a degree now and applying for a post grad diploma or degree in your chosen field such as medicine, teaching, veterinary, psychology.
  • Get advice - Talk to a qualified Guidance Counsellor.
  • Avail of supports at results time - Ring the NPC helpline for guidance 1800 265 165 (or the other support lines) 

Above all remember, there are many ways to reach your career destination and while education is extremely valuable it is not for everyone. Many of the people that the world will remember never attended or dropped out of university. People such as Steve Jobs (Apple), Coco Chanel (perfume/fashion), David Geffen (movies/music), our own Patrick and John Collison (Stripe), many artists, musicians and successful entrepreneurs.

Finally, in the words of B. F. Skinner, remember:

A failure is not always a mistake,
it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances.
The real mistake is to stop trying.

So never stop trying, keep dreaming your dreams, keep your head up, make a new career plan and follow your heart. In a few years, you will forget all about this Leaving Cert as your life goes in an exciting direction and it could be you we write about here!

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