independent

Wednesday 23 April 2014

To repeat or not to repeat ...

How one more year can make all the difference to achieving your preferred college place

To repeat, or not to repeat. For a variety of reasons, that is the question on some schoolleavers minds today ...

Some will know that they won’t get the desired CAO offer on Monday because they didn’t get a high enough grade in a required subject, for instance Higher Level Maths.

Results in hands, others will anticipate being short on points, although it is impossible to predict until the CAO and college admissions officers do their work over the next few days.

There are those who repeat as an alternative to choosing the wrong course, or simply because they know they didn’t do themselves justice in the June exams.

Others use it as a way to buy time and give themselves another year to make choices that steer the course of their life, at least in the short term.

The numbers repeating each year are relatively small in the overall context but it is an extremely important option. Virtually all students benefit from the year and the general experience is that points rise considerably and put the student in a much stronger position choice-wise the following year.

Some school-leavers rule it out because they feel they are standing still, or even “going backwards”, but that it not a well-founded view.

A number of schools, particularly in Dublin, offer dedicated repeat classes, where students are treated as second-level-plus. Repeat classes tend to be small, which allows for individual attention and there is a big focus on study skills.

VEC schools are a good bet and, in Dublin city area, repeat classes are offered at Plunkett College, Whitehall; Pearse College, Crumlin; Rathmines College and Ringsend Technical Institute.

Other Dublin schools with a good “repeats” track record include Marian College, Ballsbridge, and, on the northside, St Joseph's CBS, Marino, and O'Connell Schools.

Even if it's a traditional boys' school, girls are welcome in repeat classes. St Laurence College, Loughlinstown, south Dublin, is also well known for its socalled 7th year.

Private ‘grind' schools such as Yeats College in Galway and Waterford, the Institute of Education, Dublin, Ashfield College Dublin and Limerick Tutorial Centre, are also popular choices for a one-year Leaving Cert programme, although fees are payable.

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