Friday 30 September 2016

Repeating the Leaving: Weigh up options before repeating

Aoife Walsh

Published 22/08/2016 | 06:00

Choosing to repeat the Leaving Certificate is a difficult decision and should not be entered into lightly. Stock Image
Choosing to repeat the Leaving Certificate is a difficult decision and should not be entered into lightly. Stock Image

Students who did not receive a preferred offer today, or perhaps no offer at all, may be considering repeating their Leaving Certificate, with a view to improving their results. If a student has already achieved a place in a course that will get them to their career goal, even if it is not their dream course, moving forward to third level may be the better choice.

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Or, a student could consider a further education course in a related field that will allow progression to higher education. There are other options as well. When considering whether or not to repeat it is helpful to ask the following questions. What prevented me from gaining the result I wanted? Were these circumstances within my control? Will this be different next year or am I likely to fall into the same habits? Student should also consider their subjects - some will have different course work each year; for example in English, the texts may change.

Remember, all CAO points must come from one sitting of the exams but it is possible to repeat single subjects in order to meet specific entry requirements, such as an "honour" in maths. An important consideration is the new Leaving Cert grading system/CAO points scale for 2017, which will change the face of the CAO points tables and increase uncertainty for CAO applicants.

New minumum entry requirements are also being introduced for certain courses, only limited details of which are yet available. In one example, the common requirement for a higher level C3 (55pc-59pc) in maths for e.g, engineering, will become a H4 (60-69pc), the equivalent of an existing higher level C2 (60-64pc) or C1 (65pc-69pc). So, for some courses, students may face higher entry requirements in 2017, although there will also be examples where they will fall.

Where to repeat? Returning to their own school is normally at the discretion of the principal. This option has benefits of familiarity, but if the school does not have a dedicated repeat class (which most do not) a student may find they have outgrown the school environment.

Students may also consider dedicated "grind" schools, where the entire Leaving Cert course is generally taught over one year. This may be the most expensive option.

It is well worthwhile checking with local education and training board (ETB) as many colleges of further education offer a "repeat" year. Fees also tend to be much lower than "grind" schools.

This is a difficult decision and should not be entered into lightly. Student should consider contacting a guidance counsellor or the NPCpp Freephone helpline to talk about their options.

Irish Independent

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