Leaving Cert 2019: All you need to know

Thousands of students are set to get their results on Tuesday. What happens next?

How and where do I get my results?

There are two ways to get your Leaving Cert results. You can collect them in person from your school from 9am on August 13th or you can access them online from 10am that day.

There is merit in calling to the school to collect the results as teachers and guidance counsellors will be on hand to talk to and advise students who may not have done as well as anticipated. It’s also a chance to share in the excitement with your friends.

If you are not collecting the results in person, you can do so instead through the Candidate Self-Service Portal on examinations.ie. The results will also be on the SEC's website from 10am.

How do I appeal a result?

If you feel a specific grade in one or more subjects falls below your expectations, you will have the opportunity to apply to view that script on the new Leaving Cert sSelf-sService pPortal.


The application to appeal results through the Candidate Self Service Portal will be available from 5pm on Friday 16th August, closing at 5pm on Thursday 22nd August. The SEC will then make the appealed scripts available to examiners for remarking.

Students must have registered with the portal. Not only are these services being provided earlier than in previous years but the time window for accessing these services is narrow. Students will not have much time to decide whether they want to view their scripts or to appeal the results.

The viewing of scripts in schools takes place at the earlier time this year of Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st August. The application to view scripts will be available through the Candidate Self Service Portal from 9am on Wednesday 14th August and this service closes at 5pm on Friday 16th August.

Online viewing of scripts will be available from 5pm on Tuesday 20th August until 5pm on Wednesday 21st August.   Candidates who notice any issues with their online marked scripts during the viewing are  advised to contact the SEC’s Online Marking Team.

How do I register with the portal?

Students will have received a letter in June containing their exam number and a PIN. This letter was accompanied by an information leaflet containing information about the guide to the simple registration process.

Registration requires the student to use their Leaving Cert exam number and PIN in the initial step. They will then be asked to provide an email address and a mobile phone number. They will need to create a password and the final step is to activate the account by replying to a link that will be sent by email.

Students will then log in to the portal using their account details (exam number and password) to access all the services which will become available, commencing with the results.

What if I did not receive my PIN letter from my school?

If you did not receive the PIN letter from your school, ask the school authority to provide this to you as you need this information to complete the registration process. If you are an external candidate, The SEC should have posted this to your contact address.

What do I do if I have not already registered – can I do this now?

If you haven’t registered, now is the time to do so. If you wait beyond this morning to complete the registration process, they run the risk of missing the deadlines for applying for services.

* For more information read the Candidate Information Booklet 2019 or visit: examinations.ie.

How do I calculate my CAO points?

You count the best six scores you’ve achieved across all subjects.

If you did the LCVP and your score for the module is better than your lowest of the six scores, you can include the LCVP instead. If you got at least a H6 in higher-level maths, remember to add 25 to the normal points score attached to the grade you achieved.

There are some slight variations in how points are calculated by some third-level colleges, and all such variations are clearly outlined in the CAO handbook. If you cannot find your copy, it is online at cao.ie.

How do I view my exam scripts?

You must personally view the script: you cannot send someone to view it on your behalf, although you may be accompanied by a parent or teacher or someone else you nominate.

Several subjects which were marked online in 2019 will be viewed online through the Self-Service Portal. They are maths, biology, physics, chemistry, LCVP (written component) and politics and society. Viewing (online and in schools) is taking place 10 days earlier this year.

There is no charge for viewing a script and no limit to the number of scripts you can view.

As you will be able to see the exact percentage you got once you view your script, you should view every script if you’re looking for another five or 10 points for a place on your preferred course.

Should I bother to view a script if I’m happy with the grade I received?

If you need more points for your first-preference course, it is always worth viewing the script.

Each grade, such as H1, H2 or H3, represents a 10 per cent band. The SEC sends out scripts to be remarked by teachers in a week’s time – about 20 per cent of such papers are upgraded annually .

One could therefore assume those candidates who are within 1 per cent of the next grade up stand a higher chance of receiving an upgrade than those who are 9 per cent short.

By viewing all your scripts, you will know in which subject you are closest to the next grade. It may not necessarily be the subject in which you are disappointed with the result.

What if I discover an error in calculating my score?

Candidates can seek to have clear discrepancies between the mark awarded and the grade awarded rectified outside of the appeals process.

In the event that you discover a discrepancy between the mark awarded and grade awarded  you should ask the organising Superintendent for a Rectification Outside the Appeals Process Form (ROAP form) and complete it in accordance with instructions.

The ROAP only applies in specific circumstances of an error in transcribing the overall mark from the front of the answer book to the marking sheet or an error in keying the mark from the mark sheet onto the SEC examinations database.

Other issues will require the expert judgment of an examiner through the formal appeals process and cannot be resolved through this administrative facility.

In the event that you discover a discrepancy between the mark awarded and grade awarded in a script that was marked online you should contact the Online Marking Team in the SEC at onlinemarkingqueries@examinations.ie or (090) 644 2768/2460/2869.

Note, the SEC says it strongly recommends that candidates applying for the ROAP process also apply to appeal their result.

If the case for rectification is upheld the appeal fee will be refunded. But, if the case for rectification is not upheld and the candidate has not applied for an appeal they will not have any further opportunity for review of their result as they will have missed the appeal application deadline of 5pm on Thursday 22nd August.

What if I think I should have received a higher mark?

Finally, if on viewing your script there are no obvious errors in the correcting teacher’s work but in your view (or that of your subject teacher) you should have received a higher mark for the paper in question, you can apply to have your paper re-marked through the Candidate Self-Service Portal. There is a fee of €40 for this work but if the paper is upgraded, this will be refunded.

The results of appeals are published in mid-September and if you are one of the 20 per cent who appeal each year and are upgraded, the revised Leaving Cert result will be sent to the CAO and it will make you a revised offer if appropriate.

If you are already studying for another course, you will not suffer any adverse college-related financial costs becse of transferring to another programme at that stage.

When do the CAO offers come out?

The CAO will release round one offers at 2pm on Thursday. They will be available at cao.ie.

Each applicant has an individual CAO application number enabling them to access their own CAO file. You will have a week to accept a place. Students must print off a receipt of their acceptance before ending their online session with CAO.

Will points for my CAO course rise or fall?

It is impossible to say for certain until the results are released at 2pm on Thursday next.

But latest course preference data for the categories of courses gives a broad indication of where demand is up and down this year.

This, in turn, influences whether points requirements are likely to rise, fall or stay the same.

The CAO gathers individual courses into a total of 26 broad categories - such as arts , education and languages - and provides data on whether demand is up or down in these areas. We’ve outlined some of the trends below.

One important caveat to note: while demand is a strong indicator of whether points will rise or fall, there may be other unseen factors at play.

Whether colleges allocate more or fewer places on individual courses will influence the direction of points requirements; so, too, will decisions on how many places they set aside for mature students and others.

And remember: the categories used by the CAO above are broad and represent the average per centage changes in first-preferences across sectors, rather than individual courses. In the meantime, here’s what we know from the latest data:

So, in what categories of CAO courses is demand up?

At level eight ( honours degree), the biggest surge in demand is in the area of transport (+ 39 per cent), followed by humanities - excluding languages (+ 38 per cent), environment (+ 25 per cent) and languages (+ 25 per cent).

These courses are the most likely to see an increased in points (though this is not guaranteed as you’ll see if you read on).

Other areas where there has been a significant, but more modest, increase in first preferences include:

Agriculture (+18 per cent), engineering and engineering trades (+12 per cent), interdisciplinary programmes in natural sciences, maths and statistics (+11 per cent), maths and statistics (+10 per cent), social and behavioural sciences (+9 per cent).

And in what categories is demand down?

Among level eight courses the sharpest decrease in overall demand has been recorded in the category of journalism and information (-54 per cent), followed by interdisciplinary programmes and qualifications involving arts and humanities (-42 per cent).

There was also a significant decrease in interdisciplinary programmes and qualifications involving agriculture, forestry and veterinary (-17 per cent).

Smaller decreases were recorded in personal services (-6 per cent), veterinary (-5 per cent), arts, business (-4 per cent), health, hygiene and occupational health (-2 per cent).

There is little or no change in overall demand for other areas including: biological and related sciences (+6 per cent),education, law, ICT, welfare (+2 per cent), architecture and construction (+1 per cent). There has been no change in science.

What are the trends in demand for level six and seven courses this year?

The patterns in demand for first preferance courses are different for level six and seven courses (higher certificate and ordinary degrees) compared to leel eight.

For example, the biggest increases were for education (+71 per cent), humanities except languages (+64 per cent).

By contrast, the greatest decrease in demand were in areas such as social and behavioural sciences (-39 per cent) and transport services (-22 per cent).

What do I do if I want to defer a place?

If you wish to defer an offer of a place, you do not accept your offer. Instead, you must email or write to the admissions office of the appropriate college immediately. You must give your name as it appears on your CAO application, quote your CAO application number and the course code of the offer you wish to defer, and set out the reason(s) for the request.

Applicants must mark “DEFERRED ENTRY” clearly on the envelope or in the subject line of the email. You can also check the website of the relevant college to see if they have a deferral policy available online that you can refer to.

The letter or email must arrive in the admissions office of the institution at least two days before the reply date shown on the offer notice.

The college will communicate their decision to you directly. If the deferral is not granted, you may then accept the offer for the current year, providing you accept the offer by the reply date. You must send all communications about deferrals to the appropriate admissions office and not to CAO.

How do I take up a deferred place next year?

1. Re-apply through CAO in the succeeding year and pay the appropriate application fee. You must complete the application form in full and follow all of the instructions carefully.

2. Place the deferred course as your first and only preference on the application form. Indicate your deferral by ticking the Deferred Applicant indicator box in the Course Choices section on your application.

It is important to read the letter granting you the deferred place for further instructions. You will breach the conditions of your deferred place if you enter more than the single deferred course code on your application.

In that event, you will forfeit the guaranteed place and enter the competition for places in the normal way. When reapplying in the succeeding year, you must complete an application fully. In other words, you must include again any personal information and documentation you provided with the original application (unless instructed otherwise by the institution offering the place).

If I get an upgrade, how will the CAO know?

The State Examinations Commission will automatically notify the CAO in mid-September in the event of a successful appeal of any of your results.

You will then be contacted regarding any new offer for a course that this upgrade may entitle you to.

This year, upgrades happen one week after courses start, to ensure students can start their course immediately and will not have to wait another year as they had to do previously.

If you want to accept a new place but do not want to start this year, you can accept the place as a deferred entry for next year.

For deferred-entry students, the most important point to remember is that they must apply to the CAO again by February 1st, 2020.

They should place the deferred course as their only choice on the application form in 2020, in order to take up the original place offer.

I have a more detailed query that isn’t answered here. What can I do?

If you need any help or guidance on the results and CAO offers process, The Irish Times will run an online helpdesk staffed by our team of qualified guidance counsellors.

It is due to operate from Tuesday 13th Augusut to Saturday 17th August can be accessed at: irishtimes.com/results2019

* This article was amended on 09/08/19.