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 Maria O'Neill from STEPS to give some advice for people considering this job:

Maria O'Neill

Civil Engineer

STEPS

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Maria O'Neill

If you like working with others, and like problem solving then its definitely worth considering. Do you ever look at a bridge/skyscraper etc. and wonder how they did that? Or better still, are you looking at the way the road at home is laid out and thinking if they had of done something differently it would have been better.

Engineering is not a career people think about and say its helping people, but in many ways it is rewarding and just as much about helping people. Engineers design things used everyday that help people get to work, provide clean water, provide sewerage systems, care for the environment....

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Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

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History

Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded

Marks Distribution 2017:
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 8994 students who sat the Higher Level History exam in 2017.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 3200 students who sat the Ordinary Level History exam in 2017.

In brief... header image

History aims to record and analyse things which have happened in the past, with an emphasis on both how and why events occurred. It deals with human experience and involves an investigation of the surviving evidence relating to such experience.

History brings students into contact with human experiences that are often very different from their own and fosters their developing understanding of the human condition and human motivation. Through its focus on the evaluation of evidence, it contributes significantly to the development of students' skills of critical thinking. Through its focus on research, it allows students the opportunity to develop their skills of independent learning.

History is often studied out of personal interest, but also develops important skills which are of life-long importance.


Why Study this?header image

What kind of student might History suit?

  • Students who enjoy and appreciate history, and would like to improve their knowledge.
  • Students who are willing to commit a lot of time; History is a demanding subject.
  • Students who have strong English language skills, and are able to write. 
  • Students aiming to improve their self-discipline and research skills.

Recommendations/Tips

When considering history as a Leaving Certificate subject students should note the following:

  • An interest in the subject is vital; some students choose it on the basis that they like nothing else on the Subject Line.
  • A good knowledge of English, an ability to write and an interest in current affairs is important.
  • Self-discipline is an essential ingredient as students must show initiative in researching material, not merely for the research topic, but also to augment their knowledge of the course in general.
  • Choosing it because it was an easy subject for the Junior Certificate has absolutely no basis in truth, as they are two completely separate courses. Leaving Certificate history is demanding and some students find out too late to their cost that they cannot cope and drop out.
  • If history is a subject that you like and you have the ability, discipline and work ethic to do well in it, but is not related to the course you want to pursue at Third Level, you should consider doing it on the basis that it will get you the required points to get the Third Level course that you want.


Videos & Interviews header image


Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Resource Teacher - Paul Galvan
Paul Galvan, Department of Education and SkillsFor my Leaving Certificate I studied English, Irish, Maths, Physics, French, Geography and History. My favourite subjects were Geography, Physics, French and English. I knew that I would like to study a combination of these subjects in further education. I think as regards a career path it’s a good idea to study subjects you like and are good at. 
  go to interview...
 
Parliamentary Assistant - Kevin Keary
Kevin Keary, EU CareersI chose a good variety of subjects at school- I did History, Biology, Geography, German and of course English, Irish and Maths.  
  go to interview...
 
Ambulance / Paramedic - Keith Hayes
Keith Hayes, Health Service ExecutiveIn school there was very poor attention given to, or ‘guidance’ towards suitable careers. I was lucky I knew what I wanted to do. This, looking back was disappointing because I had no drive to go to third level college. I knew all I needed to be a Paramedic was the Leaving Cert.

In the Leaving Cert I took English, Irish, Maths, French, Biology, Chemistry and History pretty much the standard, they didn’t really have much influence on my career choice. That said, Biology and Chemistry are a great foundation for studying medicine as a Paramedic. 
  go to interview...
 
Care Assistant  - Deirdre Lavelle
Deirdre Lavelle, St. Michael's HouseIn school I studied English, Irish, Maths, History, and French. As I came to this line of work late in life experience and courses I have done since leaving school have been helpful to me.

I did the foundation in counseling skills course in Maynooth College, I feel this has helped me in my work as it developed my listening skills.

Also here I had my first introduction to non verbal communication and reading body language etc., which is very useful in my current job as I work with people who communicate largely by non verbal means.

If I could go back in time I would have worked harder in school and achieved a better leaving certificate, as I spent many years doing a job I was not suited to. 
  go to interview...
 
Civil Engineer - Maria O'Neill
Maria O'Neill, STEPS

In hindsight, I am happy to say I wouldn't have done anything differently to date! In my Junior Cert I did 9 subjects ; Maths, Irish, English, History, Geography, Science, Business Studies, French and Tech Graphics. I liked Languages and history the least. I won't lie, Maths, Geography, and Tech Graphics were the ones I enjoyed the most.

When I was choosing for my leaving Cert I still hadn't decided what I would do when I was finished. I was thinking of Engineering, Teaching or Physiotherapy. I wanted to leave my options open. To do physio you need a language (to get in to UCD) and 2 science subjects. I decided to do Maths, Irish, English, French, Geography, Physics and Chemistry for my leaving. That left all the options open.

I was good at Business Studies, but after looking at courses in college, I discovered you don't usually need a business subject to get into a business course. This is not the case for Science based courses. In 6th year I took up Applied Maths. Since I was doing Physics and Maths I had a good background for the subject. Twenty classes and just homework, and I got an honour. If anyone was to ask me if they should do it, if you like maths, its a great subject!

 
  go to interview...
 
Lieutenant - Army - Tom Tooher
Tom Tooher, Defence Forces

History, especially military history, hugely affected my career path. Although my Masters Degree in agriculture isn't exactly linked to my career.

 
  go to interview...
 
Secondary School Teacher - Mary Joyce
Mary Joyce, Department of Education and SkillsIn school I studied Geography, German, History and Economics along with the three core subjects. Geography is the only subject that has influenced by career as it was my elective subject in college and I am now teaching it along with PE. You need to consider the subject choices available with PE in your chosen course and college as it will be affected by your chosen subjects at leaving cert. 
  go to interview...
 
Teacher - Special Needs - Padraig Parle
Padraig Parle, Department of Education and SkillsHistory, Biology, French, Art, Maths, Irish and English.  Taking Art for my Leaving Cert. enabled me to go to Art College, but it was the Honours Irish which was essential to get into Primary Teaching 
  go to interview...
 
Secretary General - Catherine Day
Catherine Day, EU CareersI took a broad range of subjects in my Leaving Cert. I did a little bit of Science, Languages and History in order to keep my options open. 
  go to interview...
 
Care Assistant - Lydia Peppard
Lydia Peppard, Health Service ExecutiveEnglish, Maths, Irish, French, History, Geography, Home Economics, Commerce (now called Business Studies) - these were subjects that I did for my Inter Cert, (now the Junior Cert), I left school after this. The courses that I took that had career implications were English, Maths, Commerce and Home Economics.

The implications of these were that English is needed for communication, Home Economics prepares one for life experiences and Commerce gives one an understanding of budgets and financial constraints. The subjects are practical ones and have helped me in my career. In hindsight I would have gone on to do my Leaving Cert and would have done Biology as this would have given me a basis to go further with my career, such as studying for nursing. 
  go to interview...
 
 

Course Overview header image

Syllabus Framework

The Leaving Cert History course is divided into two discrete fields of study:

  • Early Modern (1492-1815) and
  • Late Modern (1815-1993).

Each field is further divided into six Irish topics and six European topics.

Students are encouraged to develop research skills and an appreciation for the society in which they live.

The Leaving Certificate History Syllabus gives teachers a choice of 4 topics which will be studied from a selection of 12 topics in modern Irish and modern European history.

The study of history at Leaving Certificate fulfils many of the general aims and principles of the Leaving Certificate programmes.

  • It emphasises the importance of individual thought.
  • It fosters a spirit of inquiry and critical thinking.
  • It helps to prepare students both for further education and for adult and working life.
  • It helps to prepare students for their role as active and participative citizens.

History is a good all round education.

It is crucial when studying history to pay attention to the evidence presented, and to keep in mind factors such as bias and propaganda. Students are encouraged to consider the validity of different interpretations of evidence to develop a more balanced and grounded judgement. 

The course is quite large and requires constant attention throughout the year. Research skills such as drawing on a wide variety of sources of evidence (such as maps, public records, political cartoons, and memoirs) are developed throughout the course. When writing, students are taught to produce focused, logical, and supported arguments.

Note that Leaving Cert History is completely different from the Junior Cert course! 

Assessment

Leaving Certificate history is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level. There are two assessment components: a research study report (submitted prior to the examination) and a written examination.


Course Contentheader image

The Leaving Certificate History Syllabus gives teachers a choice of 4 topics which will be studied from a selection of 12 topics in modern Irish and modern European history.

The topics are arranged in two discrete fields of study:

Early Modern, 1492-1815

Later Modern, 1815-1993


Students will study topics from one of the fields of study.

Within each field of study, there are six topics from Irish history and six from the history of Europe and the wider world.

Students will study two topics from Irish history and two from the history of Europe and the wider world from the selected field of study.

Two topics will be prescribed for documents-based study: one from the Early Modern field of study and one from the Later Modern field of study.

Students will engage in a documents-based study of the prescribed topic from their selected field of study.

Research Study

Students undertake a Research Study which will take the form of a report to be submitted around Easter time before the Leaving Certificate exam in June.

This Research Study can be about any aspect of history, in any period. The teacher will help and oversee this work but the choice of subject matter is that of the student. This part of the assessment carries 20% of the total marks.


Exam Structure header image

The History exam will last 2 hours 50 minutes and pupils will answer the documents-based study and three essays (one from each topic studied).

Ordinary level students follow an identical course, with a different emphasis in the way questions are asked on exam papers.

Assessment consists of two components: A written examination paper (80%) and A research study report (20%) submitted around Easter before the June exam.

The marks are to be weighted as follows:

Authentication procedures

The report must be the candidate’s own work. Authentication procedures will be put in place to ensure compliance with this requirement. These will include a protocol in relation to the use of internet-sourced material.

The terminal examination
Mark allocation
The percentage of the total marks to be allocated to this component will be 80%.

  • The Higher level paper
    Candidates will answer four questions, one on each of the four topics studied.   All four questions will be of equal value. One of the questions will be documents-based.
  • With the exception of topics nominated for the documents-based study, a specified number of questions will be asked on each of the topics.
  • In the case of each topic, at least two of the three perspectives will be examined each year.

The Ordinary level paper

  • Candidates will answer four questions, one on each of the four topics studied. All four questions will be of equal value. Three of the questions will be general questions, while one will be documents-based.
  • One question will be set on each topic.
  • An element of choice will be "built in" to each of the general questions.

A common format will apply to each of the general questions and each will be stimulus-driven.

The stimulus is intended to facilitate candidate recognition of the topic and as a reasonably gentle lead-in to more testing examination of knowledge and understanding. The common format will include stimulus-driven questions (testing comprehension and/or identification) and paragraphs or short essays linked to the key personalities and case studies.


Career Possibilities header image

History develops an ability to think independently and is very useful skill for third-level education.

An interest in, and knowledge of history are relevant to any career related to current affairs, such as Journalism, Local and National Radio and TV.

History is valuable as a background to studies in Law, Town Planning, Architecture, Politics, Economics, Sociology, Art, Museum and Library work. 

History is a also a good training for work in Administration, Management and Business and is an excellent basis for careers in Tourism, Government and Teaching.



Career Guidance