COVID-19: What does this mean for the Leaving Cert?

The Government have announced that the Leaving Certificate has been postponed until late July or early August.
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The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has led to a lot of uncertainty for Junior and Leaving Cert students this year. Schools being closed and social distancing restrictions have led to the cancellation of Junior Cert exams, and Leaving Cert exams have been postponed until later in the summer.

A survey of more than 46,000 Junior and Leaving Cert students found that most students due to take the exams wanted them to be cancelled. Many students have said that the uncertainty around the Leaving Cert has caused mental health concerns.

Meanwhile, colleges and universities have announced that there will be no in-person exams or assessments this year, and alternative arrangements will be made to do the exams online or reschedule.

What is happening with the Leaving Cert?

Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, has announced that Leaving Certificate exams will be postponed until late July or early August. The new Leaving Cert timetable will be available in early June.

The Minister has said that they hope to allow students to have at least two weeks of class time in school before the exams take place. 

This decision has been made on the advice of the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and based on the current pandemic restrictions in place. Schools will remain closed until further notice.

What does this mean for the practical exams?

It was announced in March that any oral or practical exams that were due to take place between 23rd of March and the 3rd of April would be cancelled and students given full marks. This has not changed.

Practical exams that were due to be held in May in Engineering, Art Life Sketching and Construction Studies, and Computer Science will be rescheduled for late July or early August.

What does this mean for Leaving Cert Applied (LCA)?

Leaving Cert Applied assessments have also been postponed until late July or early August. This includes:

  • LCA oral examinations
  • LCA practical performance tests in Hotel Catering & Tourism, Office Administration and Customer Care, Active Leisure Studies, Hair & Beauty, and Agriculture/Horticulture
  • LCA ICT practical performance and written examination

Need more information?

Would you like more information or to talk about you own situation in more detail? Use our online chat service for 16 to 25 year olds to talk to a trained Youth Information Worker – Monday to Friday 4pm to 8pm, or leave us a message and we will email you back.

Preparing for exams during COVID-19

The Government have said that students should continue to study and stay focused on their exams. This is a stressful time, and many students will find it difficult to prepare for exams with so much else going on. There are also students who will have a harder time finding a space to study, accessing a reliable internet connection, and understanding their schoolwork without a teacher to help.

This is not an easy time to study, but here are some tips for dealing with exam stress during COVID-19.

How students have handled the Leaving Cert uncertainty

Our readers and volunteers have been sharing their experience of preparing for exams during COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Feeling overwhelmed or anxious around the current pandemic?

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