Monday 16 September 2019

Leaving Cert exam timetable to be extended as number of subjects grow

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Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Two more days are being added to the end of the Leaving Cert written exam timetable from next year, as the number of subjects grows.

The exams will start, as usual, on the Wednesday after the June Bank Holiday, but will now extend over 15 days, bringing them into a fourth week at the end of the month.

In 2019, the additional days will be Monday, June 24 and Tuesday June 25, with exams in seven subjects over those two days.

As  a result of the changes, exams in Italian, Russian, Classical Studies/Latin and Technology will move to Monday June 24.

Meanwhile, on the morning of Tuesday June 25, students will be in the halls for Arabic, Japanese and Politics and Society.

The move is aimed at eliminating exam clashes as much as possible in the already crowded timetable, as an additional three subjects come on stream.

One new subject, Politics and Society was examined for the first time this year and there was controversy over its timing.

It was included as one of three exams being held on a single day, and it meant that some students had a marathon sitting to complete all three.

The other new subjects are Physical Education and Computer Science, which will be examined for the first time in 2020.

The new arrangements also see a break with tradition in the day and times of a number of subjects.

According to the Department of Education, there has been a particular focus on ensuring that there is only a minimal chance that a candidate will have to take three exams on one day.

But it stated that, given the timeframe in which the exams are held, even taking account of the extra days, the number and duration of the exams, and the wide subject choices available, “it is not possible to guarantee that a situation will not arise which will require a student to undertake three examinations on one day in 2019 or in a future year.”

Announcing the changes today, education Minister Joe McHugh said that “the change is about trying to ease pressure.”

He said the State Examinations Commission (SEC)  had worked to determine what exams should be moved from their traditional day in order to give students the best chance in their exams.

“I am confident that the small number of students who may have to sit three exams  in a single day will be significantly reduced as a result of these changes,” he said.

The 2018 timetable had 35 curricular and 18 non-curricular language subjects timetabled during 26 exam sessions over a 13-day period. The new timetabling arrangements allow for 30 examination sessions over a 15-day period.

No exam has been scheduled for the afternoon Tuesday June 25 next year,  and from 2020, this session will be used to facilitate the placement of new exams.

The SEC has published the Leaving Certificate timetable for 2019 at

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