The NEW Leaving Cert Point System – What do you need to know?

Author: Dan Keating/25 May 2017/Categories: Leaving Cert, Parents, Exam-Time Support

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What do you need to know about the new Leaving Cert point system?

NEW Leaving Cert Point System

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Right now you have enough to contend with – Leaving Cert 2017 is looming large – but seeing as the finish line’s in sight, it’s important to remember that the CAO points system is completely changing, particularly as you start to visualize results day.

What does it mean and how will it work?

Gone are the various letters and numbers of old, so no more A1s, B2s and C3s; in are H1s through to H8s (for higher level subjects) and O1s to O8s (for ordinary level subjects).

Meanwhile, what was an E grade will no longer be an automatic fail. Students will receive 37 points for grades between 30-39 per cent.

Those in favour of the new system say it has been designed to reduce the number of students who get the CAO points they need but still miss out due to random selection. Yet, for the anxious students who will be the marked under the new system, it is – understandably – a little nerve-wracking.

Most importantly, the new system has not made any changes to the CAO application process, so students should continue to fill in their form as normal, in their genuine order of preference. And it doesn’t change anything about the exams themselves, so students should continue to study as normal and approach each exam as they always would have.

Points calculator

By now you’ll likely have encountered the new CAO points calculator, which is available on the CAO website – if not, it’s worth checking out.

On August 16th, when you get your Leaving Cert results and calculate your points, the biggest difference you’ll notice is that points are no longer awarded in increments of five; instead, they increase by between eight and 11. Bonus points will still be awarded for maths.

However, in terms of specific exam papers, it’s a good thing to remember that there will still be a points system, and you’ll be marked on what’s akin to a bell curve; you won’t be penalised if a paper or particular question is especially difficult.

Overall, and as always, the best thing to do is to focus on the exams and deal with the new points system in August.

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