Leaving Cert Helpdesk: Q&A

A selection of questions put to our guidance counsellors about the 2018 Leaving Cert results

The Irish Times’ free online helpdesk is receiving questions from teenagers and their parents over what implications the 2018 Leaving Cert results might have for them.

Topics ranged from queries relating to results appeals to college transfers and likely course points.

Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett, both members of the Institute of Guidance Councillors (IGC), are replying to the queries that have flooded into the helpdesk following the release of the results.

SHOUT IT OUT: Chloe Nesbitt (left), Rachel Manley, Emma Keogh and Jennifer Burke get their Leaving Cert results at Pobalscoil Neasáin, Baldoyle, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The following is a selection of questions asked of our guidance counsellors.


My son got 577 points but is bitterly disappointed because he requires 589. Seeing as he is 12 points off, is there a realistic chance of getting an upgrade if he gets 4 papers of H2 checked. Hard to see him devastated with such good points.

I would advise you to complete the form for seeking the viewing of scripts. A score close to the top of a band will obviously have a better chance of recieving an upgrade. You will become more realistic after viewing the scripts and seeing the exact percentage awarded.

The number of CAO applicants is down from last year. This could relieve the pressure on points for some courses. It is important that we celebrate when we do well. Your son should not make assumptions as nothing is definite until Monday.

If I accept an offer of my fourth or fifth preference will I still potentially get offers in second round for my 1 2 or 3 options or does accepting preclude further offers.

Accepting a lower preference course in an earlier round does not preclude you from receiving an offer on a higher preference course in subsequent rounds. If you become entitled to a higher preference course in the next round you will be offered it regardless of whether you accepted the lower prefence course or not.

Arts in Galway seems to be set at 300 points for the last number of years? Could it drop to 296 or is 300 the minimum requirement.

The CAO cut off points for all courses is determined by a number of factors: the number of places available on the course, the number of applicants wishing to pursue this course and the points received by the successful applicants. Hence Arts in Galway could rise or fall from 300.

My son passed 5 of his 7 subjects. Is that a pass. Will he have to go back to pass all 7?

There is no overall pass or fail of the Leaving Cert. He will need to check the minimum entry requirements and subject requirement for all his courses. He may have the necessary number of passes and satisfy any subject requirement. He will only have to repeat a subject if his course has a specific grade requirement in which he did not meet.

My son has failed maths (hons). Can he still go to college or must he repeat?

Both general and course requirements vary from course to course in different Higher Education Institutions. The maths requirement tends to be an O6/H7 unless there is a specific maths requirement grade.

Many colleges offer students a second chance where the latter is the case. These special maths exams take place over the next week or so, and may lead to an offer of a desired place in a later CAO round.

Is there a limit set by the school or Dept as to how many of your exam scripts you can view and/or subsequently ask to be re-marked? My daughter is fishing around for 10 extra points and is saying she will ask to see them all.

No. You can view as many of your scripts as you wish and based on this viewing you can proceed to appeal as many of your subject scripts as you wish. Rememb.er you do not have to view your scripts in order to appeal them but it is advisable, as remember grades can go up or they could possibly go down.

Can I use my Irish result for my requirement from last year?

You can combine Leaving Certificates for the purposes of meeting course entry requirements but not points, so if you passed Irish last year and didn’t do it this year but need it, then you can use your pass from last year to meet the requirement.

My son got sufficient points and maths grade for his first choice course in UL. He wants to work for a year first and we agree that this is a good choice. How does he go about requesting a deferral of his place until next year.

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 HEI 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 HEI 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 HEI 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 the CAO.

The Irish Times helpdesk will operate at irishtimes.com/results2018 from 9am until 5.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday. Guidance counsellors Brian Howard and Deirdre Garrett will be on hand to answer questions about the results and any questions students or their parents might have about the college applications. The service will also be available from 9am-1pm on Friday.

The helpdesk will reopen on Monday morning at 9am and will operate until Tuesday at 1pm.

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.