The Leaving Cert continues where the Junior Cert leaves off. The most common Leaving Cert Programme is the Leaving Cert Established (LCE) and it runs for two years.
Subjects are normally studied at either Ordinary or Higher Level. Two subjects, Irish and Mathematics, can be studied at Foundation Level. Foundation Level is geared to the needs of students who might have difficulty with those subjects at Ordinary or Higher Level.
The three core subjects of English, Maths and Irish are generally compulsary for LCE. Each school will offer a number of optional subjects to choose from as well. Students usually take between six to eight subjects, and sometimes more.
Choosing which optional subjects to study enables you to focus your attention on areas that interest you. For example, would you prefer to focus on business or science subjects - or a combination of both? Sometimes the subjects you choose for the leaving cert can influence your choice of college course after school. This is because some college courses require you to have taken certain leaving cert subjects, and even certain grades in these subjects, in order to be accepted on the course.
Alternatives to the Leaving Cert Established (LCE)
Some students opt to do the Leaving Cert Vocational Programme (LCVP) or the Leaving Cert Applied (LCA).
LCVP has extra career preparation and enterprise subjects. LCVP students take at least five subjects. These include English, Irish, plus two subjects from specified vocational subject groupings, and a Modern European language (other than Irish or English). LCVP students also take three Link Modules on Enterprise Education, Preparation for Work and Work Experience.
LCA is strongly 'vocational' which means that it's more job and employment focused. The subject areas are more practical than academic. This is a great option for students who may prefer not to go directly to college when they finish school, although many continue their education using the Further Education & Training (FET) route.