For Leaving Cert students, results day can be both daunting and exciting. If you’re getting your results today, we’re here for you.
The Leaving Certificate year is one of the most stressful times for students. The entire lead-up to that daunting set of exams can wreak havoc on students’ health.
But thankfully, when Leaving Cert results day rolls around, many students will feel a sense of overwhelming relief.
However, the new points system could throw students off slightly and, in the rush to calculate your points as quickly as possible, mistakes can be made.
Ita McGuigan is part of the schools’ liaison team at Dublin City University (DCU) and a member of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors.
She suggests that students take their time in calculating their points. “Remember to take the summation of their top six subjects for their CAO total,” she said. “Often, in their excitement or panic, students are left disappointed when the dust settles when they realise they have overcalculated their points.”
Take your time
This year sees the introduction of the new points system whereby the A1s, B2s and C3s have been replaced by H1s through to H8s (higher level) and O1s to O8s (ordinary level).
This means that students who achieve between 30 and 39pc in a higher-level paper will attain a H7 and receive 37 points. “Remember that if you sat mathematics at higher level and receive a H6 or above, to add 25 points to your total,” said McGuigan.
She also advises students to make sure they have the 2017 CAO points chart to hand to help, and ask a teacher or guidance counsellor to double-check the total. “Remember, 250 points to one student may be the same achievement as 600 points to another,” she said.
For students who are genuinely disappointed in some of their grades, McGuigan recommends a personalised application form provided by the State Examination Commission (SEC), which will be included in the results envelope.
This form must be completed and returned to the school where the student sat their examinations by 22 August.
“If, after viewing your script, you feel that there has been an error in the marking, you can appeal using the appeal application form, which must be with the SEC by 6 September,” said McGuigan.
“The appeal fee is €40 per subject in the case of the Leaving Certificate and €15 in the case of the Leaving Certificate Applied. The fee will be refunded to you if your result is upgraded.”
Ask for help
Students should also contact their school guidance counsellor on Leaving Cert results day with any queries they may have. “Guidance counsellors are experts in advising students who may be facing difficult decisions and career direction,” said McGuigan. “They have a wealth of knowledge and should be called upon.”
A free examination helpline opens from 10am on Leaving Cert results day to take calls from students, parents and teachers seeking advice and information on what choices are available.
“This helpline is staffed by members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors who are fully qualified experts in their field,” said McGuigan. “A representative of the grant-awarding body, Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), will also be on hand to answer queries.”
Once students have correctly calculated their CAO points, they will have a vague idea of what their options might be on the day of offers (21 August).
However, McGuigan warned students not to take last year’s points as a given. “Points fluctuate and you do not want to be left disappointed,” she said. McGuigan also said students should check the basic entry requirements outside of the CAO points. For example, science degrees might require a certain grade in maths or a science subject.
Once students have ascertained what they might be offered, they can prepare for CAO round-one offers, which will be available online from 6am on Monday 21 August.