Sunday 25 August 2019

Is it worthwhile having a second shot at the Leaving Cert?


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Aoife Walsh

Students who didn't receive a preferred offer might be considering repeating the Leaving Cert.

It is an option but one that needs careful consideration.

Remember, while CAO points must come from one sitting of the exams it is possible to repeat a single subject, or subjects, to meet an entry requirement.

For many, the goal of Leaving Cert is simply to achieve the requirements necessary to gain access to their chosen course - but there are other pathways. It is often more beneficial for students to move forward in education rather than return to a school environment.

Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses that allow progression to a higher education programme relevant to a student's career goal can be an excellent route.

Additionally, there are opportunities to go straight into third level this year where vacancies exist, through avenues such as CAO Available Places or direct entry courses in both private colleges and publicly-funded institutions.

Anyone considering repeating should ask themselves: 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?

It is possible to perform better the second time round but it is equally possible to slide into old habits and achieve results that are only slightly better or even worse.

Some subjects will have different course work. For example, in English, the skills students are required to develop remain fixed, but the texts may change. Other subjects that may be similarly affected include Music and History.

Students who decide that repeating is the best option must also consider where to do it.

Returning to their own school is normally at the discretion of the principal. Most schools do not have a dedicated repeat class and students may find they have outgrown the environment.

There are also dedicated grind schools, where a Leaving Cert course is taught over one year. This option may be the most expensive and involve travel.

Students should also check with local education and training boards (ETBs) as many FE colleges offer a repeat year and fees are much lower than in grind schools.

All options will require dedication, focus and an ability to manage their own study.

Irish Independent

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