Leaving Cert exams to be extended by two days to minimise timetable clashes

Move aims to ease crowded exam schedule which forced students to sit three exams in one day

Two extra days are to be added to the Leaving Cert written exam timetable from next year to minimise clashes.

Two extra days are to be added to the Leaving Cert written exam timetable from next year to minimise subject clashes.

The move follows the introduction of new exams such as politics to the Leaving Cert which have led to a growing number of subject clashes and students being forced to take up to three exams in a single day.

It means exams will enter a fourth week for the first time, with the first exam beginning on Wednesday



5th and the final exam finishing on Tuesday June 25th.

The State Examinations Commission has today

published the new Leaving Certificate timetable for 2019 which is available onlineOpens in new window ]


Speaking during a visit to Our Lady of Mercy, Drimnagh, Dublin, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said he was delighted to be able to announce the revision to the Leaving Cert timetable from next June.

"The State Examinations Commission has worked to determine what examinations should be moved from their traditional day in order to give students the best chance in their exams," he said.

“I am confident that the small number of students who may have to sit three examinations in a single day will be significantly reduced as a result of these changes.

“The change is about trying to ease pressure. From talking to Leaving Cert students I hear how the exams play on their minds and any changes that we can make to ease that are really welcome.”


He said the State Examinations Commission will also continue to be mindful of changes in students’ subject choices and how the exams and the timetable should be set to minimise clashes and limit unnecessary stress.

While politics was added to the Leaving Cert exams last June, more subjects – such as physical education and computer science are due to be added in 2020.

The Leaving Cert exams have traditionally been for a 13-day period, starting on the Wednesday after the June bank holiday.

The addition of two more days will bring the total exam period to 15 days, with the final date for examination in 2019 being Tuesday, June 25th.

No exam has been scheduled for the afternoon of day 15 in the June 2019 timetable.

From 2020, this session will be used to facilitate the placement of new exams.

The National Association of Principals and Deputy principals has welcomed the decision.

“This is an issue that we engaged heavily and positively with the Department of Education extensively,” said the assocation’s director Clive Byrne.

“Last year’s timetable put a huge additional pressure on students with some subjected to sitting three exams on one sitting day.

“This is a welcome move by the department in terms of Leaving Certificate reform with students at the heart of it, and we are encouraged to see that a small step has been made in terms of wider necessary reforms.”

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent