Increase in college courses requiring more than 500 points
Leaving Cert results: Points increases likely for construction, science, tech and business
Those applying for third-level courses will not know for certain whether they have secured their first choices until next Monday, when offers through the Central Applications Office (CAO) are made. File photograph: Getty Images
An increase in the number of students taking higher level maths in the Leaving Cert is set to push more college courses through the 500 points entry threshold.
More than 55,000 Leaving Certificate candidates will receive their results tomorrow, Wednesday.
However, those applying for third-level courses will not know for certain whether they have secured their first choice until next Monday when offers through the Central Applications Office (CAO) are made.
The number of Leaving Cert students taking higher-level maths is continuing to rise, with more than a third of those sitting this year’s exams declaring for the more challenging paper.
Some 35 per cent registered at higher level, although this is likely to slip a few percentage points on the day of the exam.
The increase in those studying higher level maths follows changes in recent years aimed at increasing the popularity of the paper, the introduction of bonus points and a reformed syllabus.
A rise in the proportion of students who registered to sit higher level maths this year is set to filter through in higher points for dozens of courses.
Candidates who get a D grade or higher get 25 bonus points, giving a maximum result of 625 points for six A1s, including maths.
The introduction of the bonus points scheme in 2012 has created some points inflation, with a noticeable jump in the number of courses demanding at least 500 points – a threshold once associated with narrow fields such as medicine, veterinary and actuarial studies.
The number of students sitting the exam at higher level is likely to jump further next year, when students now getting an E grade at higher level will receive equivalent CAO points as a grade C at ordinary level.
The number of courses at 500 points or above has increased by about 10 per cent in universities such as UCD and Trinity College Dublin since 2010.
This year points increases are likely for a range of high-demand courses, particularly in construction, science, technology and business.
Latest CAO first preferences indicate the biggest rise in applicants are in courses linked to architecture and engineering/technology (+13 per cent), nursing (+11 per cent), and business and construction-related courses (+8 per cent).
The biggest reductions, on the other hand, were in areas such as agriculture (-23 per cent), veterinary medicine (-7per cent) and arts/social sciences (-2 per cent).
Students can collect their results from their schools tomorrow morning, while an online service is available from midday at the State Examinations Commission website.
Students may seek the advice of a guidance counsellor or support services such as the Irish Times results helpdesk (irishtimes.com/education).
The National Parents’ Council Post Primary is also operating a helpline (1800 265 165).
The first round of CAO offers is due to be made on August 22nd. All applicants will be notified by post and email if they have received an offer and will have until 5:15pm on August 29th to register an acceptance.
Second-round offers will be available online from 6am on September 1st.