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So how can I appeal if I'm not satisfied with my results?

Students who believe that they should have received a better grade may apply to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) for a recheck of a subject, or of as many subjects as they are unhappy with.

Applications for rechecks are normally processed through the school principal, who must vouch for the fact that he or she believes the student was capable of a higher grade than that which was awarded. External candidates may apply on their own behalf for a recheck.

Appealed exam papers are re-examined by an experienced examiner, different from the person who originally corrected the paper.

Last year, 10,333 results in individual subjects were appealed, resulting in 2,110 upgrades. The highest number of appeals, 1,605, was made in English higher level, of which 204 were upgraded. Next were biology higher level, geography higher level and Irish higher level.

The numbers appealing ordinary level results is much smaller, with only five subjects featuring in the list last year: maths, French, Irish, English and business. Of the 370 candidates who appealed their ordinary level maths grade, 89 received an upgrade.

The probability of being downgraded is very slight, based on the evidence of the past few years. In 2010, eight results were downgraded on appeal while there were five in 2008 and nine in 2005.

The fee for an appeal or recheck is €40 for each subject in the Leaving Certificate, and €15.50 in the Leaving Certificate Applied. It must be paid in advance. The fee is refunded if the upgrade is successful. You pay the fee either by bank giro form that you receive with your personalised appeal application form, or via the internet, using a credit card.

The SEC stresses that applicants should use the bank giro form provided to them with their exam results, as this form has a unique identifier which allows the SEC to trace your payment and match it with the appeal application when it is received through your school.

If you use the internet facility, you will be provided with a form showing the subject or subjects which you have opted to appeal. You must print out this form, and return it to your school so that your scripts can be associated with it and forwarded to the SEC.

The closing date is Wednesday, September 7. Effectively, students should return their appeal form to their school by Monday, September 5, or early on Tuesday, September 6, to allow time for the school to post its batch of appeals in time. Results will be issued in early to mid-October.