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Leaving Cert Subjects

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 3, 2011

Leaving Cert subjects
Maths: Less than 20 per cent take this subject at higher level as many students fall back to ordinary level when the pressure builds up in sixth year.
For the average student, higher level maths is seen as very time-consuming. Don’t attempt the higher level paper unless you are confident in your ability.
I rish: Less than a third of students take higher level Irish, which is regarded as a tough honour. The vast majority are female. But remember you need higher level Irish for primary teaching.
English: A good higher level subject, for the average student, provided they are prepared to read extensively. But don’t underestimate the amount of work involved.
History: The course has moved away from a focus on politics and has more stress on social and cultural history. Students can secure up to 20 per cent of the overall marks by submitting a research paper on a selected topic.
History is a good subject for a student with good writing skills. It will suit students also taking higher level English. Ability to express self and support argument.
Geography: Regarded by many as one of the “easier ’’ honours, but this is a challenging subject with a long curriculum.
Students complete a geographic investigation, which is allocated 20 per cent of the overall marks in the final examination and is pre-submitted by the end of April. For both science and pharmacy at TCD, geography is accepted as a science subject for entry requirements.
Continental languages: There is a strong emphasis on the ability to comprehend and converse in the language studied, and this is reflected in the fact that a third of the final marks awarded are for aural and oral work. Studying a Continental language today requires you to culturally immerse yourself in the spoken, written world of its users.
Biology: Often perceived as an easier subject than physics and chemistry – but has a high failure rate at ordinary level. Students undertake 24 mandatory experiments, the details of which they record in their laboratory book. A good higher level subject for most students. Curiosity, eye for detail, desire to explore.
Physics: Physics has a strong maths element and requires the learning of many formulae. Students must maintain a laboratory book, as there are 27 mandatory experiments, of which four are offered on the Leaving Certificate paper, with three to be presented. Not a subject for those without strong maths ability.
Chemistry: Students have to learn off the chemical components of a series of prescribed experiments. They will be required to present the elements of four such experiments in their examination. Regarded as a tough honour.
Home economics – social and scientific: An interesting subject, but not the easy honour that some imagine. Some 20 per cent of the marks are awarded for a course work journal, done within normal class time, and submitted prior to the written examination. A long course incorporating everything from food science to sociology.
Business: Regarded as a safe honour by many students. It is an interesting subject but requires constant attention to the business pages of the newspapers. It looks at how organisations are formed, financed and run. It also explores the services that support businesses such as insurance, banking, transport, marketing and public service bodies.
Economics: This is a subject best suited to higher level students with strong analytical skills. Economics also has a mathematical slant with a good deal of graphic and theoretical work.
Accounting: Students who enjoy the bookkeeping part of Junior Certificate business should consider taking accounting. At Leaving Certificate level, analysis and interpretation of accounts is the core activity. For those with strong numeracy and reasoning skills this can be a very enjoyable and successful subject.
Religious education: Students are introduced to the dialogue between science and religious in the exploration of meaning and values in societies. The programme introduces students to both philosophy and psychology and 20 per cent of the marks in this subject are awarded for the student’s journal, which is pre-submitted prior to the examination.

Art – Imagination and creativity – work on history and appreciation of art alongside the design and craftwork.


One Response to “Leaving Cert Subjects”

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