In the days ahead, a student may begin toying with the idea of repeating the Leaving Cert, for a number of reasons. They may feel they are likely to miss out on their dream course by a small number of points. They may have performed badly in one particular subject or lacked confidence in their ability to achieve during 6th year and now, surprised by their results, are considering what they might have achieved had they settled down to early revision.
Whatever the motivation, it is essential to consider all options including the advantages and disadvantages of each. If a student has already achieved a place in a course that will get them to their career goal, even if it is not their dream course, moving forward to third level may be the better choice.
If this is not the case, a student could consider a further education course in a related field that will allow progression to higher education. It is often more beneficial for 18-19 year olds to move forward in education than return to school. Additionally, there are options such as CAO Available Places and UCAS Clearing.
When considering whether or not to repeat, it is helpful to ask the following questions. 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 do much better second time around, but is equally possible to slide into old habits and achieve a result that is only slightly better or even lower than the first sitting.
Student should also consider their subjects – some will have different course work each year, for example in English, the texts may change.
Remember, all CAO points must come from one sitting of the exams but it is possible to repeat single subjects in order to meet specific entry requirements, such as an “honour” in maths.
Where to repeat? Returning to their own school is normally at the discretion of the principal. This option has benefits of familiarity, but if the school does not have a dedicated repeat class (which most do not) a student may find they have outgrown the school environment.
Students may also consider dedicated “grind” schools, where the entire Leaving Cert course is generally taught over one year, although this may be the most expensive option.
It is well worthwhile checking with a local education and training board (ETB) as many colleges of further education offer a “repeat” year. Fees also tend to be much lower than “grind” schools.
This is a difficult decision and should not be entered into lightly. Students should consider contacting a guidance counsellor or the NPCpp Freephone Helpline if they wish to explore their options.