Applications to sit 2020 Leaving Cert exams open on Monday

Exams will not include oral or practical elements, with results expected in February

Those who opt to sit the exams and go on to receive an improved CAO offer on foot of the results will also receive a deferred college offer, and can start their course in the 2021/22 academic year.

Those who opt to sit the exams and go on to receive an improved CAO offer on foot of the results will also receive a deferred college offer, and can start their course in the 2021/22 academic year.

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Applications to sit the 2020 Leaving Certificate in November will open on Monday, although this year’s exams will not include the usual oral or practical elements.

On Friday, the State Examinations Commission (SEC) said the entry process can be accessed from 9am through the Calculated Grades Student Portal and those intent on sitting the exams have until 5pm on Friday to apply.

Subject to public health advice, the exams will begin on Monday, November 16th and conclude on Friday, December 11th.

One exam will take place on weekday evenings from 5.30pm, and two each on Saturdays and Sundays from 9.30am and 2pm.

For those dissatisfied with previous calculated grades, the SEC has said anyone taking the exams will receive whichever is the higher grade from both processes. Exam results from the written tests are expected in early February.

Those who opt to sit the exams and go on to receive an improved CAO offer on foot of the results will also receive a deferred college offer, and can start their course in the 2021/22 academic year.

The SEC said that in a situation where a candidate who has already started first year of a course becomes entitled to a higher CAO offer and chooses to accept it, attendance for their first year on the new course would remain eligible for free fees and SUSI funding where appropriate.

It is intended that candidates will sit their exams in the school where they had been entered last June and anyone who cannot attend them can apply in 2021.

Differences

There are some other key differences in the 2020 approach. The SEC noted that it “would not be feasible or practical at this stage” to conduct oral or practical components, or to try to complete unfinished coursework.

“The oral and practical components are school-based, requiring significant levels of support at school level, including the requirement to take serving teachers out of their schools to undertake state examinations work,” it said.

However, in the case of five subjects – Home Economics practical coursework; LCVP Portfolio; Design and Communication Graphics practical coursework; Physical Education (PE) Physical Activity Project; and Engineering practicals – coursework which had been completed prior to school closure will be marked and included in grading.

In all other subjects, candidates will be awarded grades solely on the written papers.

The SEC also moved to clarify changes to an earlier arrangement from March that full marks would be awarded in respect of oral language and music performance tests. That was cancelled when the summer examinations were postponed in May and the system of calculated grades was introduced instead.

Planned Junior Cycle written examinations for adult learners will also take place in November 2020.

Additional information for students, including exam timetables, will be available at examinations.ie when the student portal opens on Monday.