What does the new CAO Points system mean for students

The new grading system for the Leaving Cert came into effect this year

Written by Tricia Purcell


As, Bs, Cs etc. are no more and have been replaced with higher-level grades from H1 to H8 and ordinary grades from O1 to O8. The new system is hoped to reduce the number of students who get the CAO points they need for their chosen course but miss out due to random selection.

Leaving Certificate results are now expressed in the following new Leaving Certificate grades:

The new cao points breakdown

Maths Bonus Points

25 bonus points will continue to be awarded for Higher Level Mathematics for H6 grades and above. For example, if an applicant receives a H6 grade, an additional 25 points will be added to the 46 points already awarded for a H6 grade i.e. Higher Level Mathematics now carries a points score of 71 for this applicant.

Foundation Level Maths

Universities do not award points for Foundation Level, the Institutes of Technology are currently considering a conversion.

H7 points

Previously, grades below 40% meant that students got no CAO points for that subject. But with the new system, students who get between 30 and 39% on a higher-level paper will be awarded a H7 grade and 37 points.

It’s hoped that this will encourage the take-up of higher level subjects in senior cycle and reduce the risk in taking higher level examinations. You can find out more about these changes on Transition.ie

Qualifax have updated their Points Calculator to include the new system, find out more here

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