Leaving Cert Helpdesk: Q&A

A selection of questions put to our guidance counsellors about the 2019 Leaving Cert results


The Irish Times’ free online helpdesk received questions across a range of topics related to the Leaving Cert results and the 2019 CAO process.

Guidance Counsellors Brian Howard, Deirdre Garrett, and Emma Scully, responded to queries ranging from questions about DARE and HEAR to queries about newly established courses and what applicants should expect aftern not meeting grade expectations in required subjects.

The following is a selection of questions that were asked of our guidance counsellors:

I got all the points I needed to get into Engineering in DCU, but didn’t get the minimum requirement of H4 in maths. I instead got a H5. Is there anyway I can still get my first choice of engineering in DCU.

Colleges such as Maynooth offer engineering via the available place procedure (CAO) and I see today where they are advertising their engineering course and a maths exam to help applicants meet the requirements. However, please contact Admissions DCU and check if they offer a similar maths exam for students who fail to meet the H4 requirement.

I put my choices down in January but I added more choices in July not knowing that it deleted my earlier choice. Now I only have one choice that I don’t even want.

Your CAO course selection cannot be changed at this stage.There are still plenty of pathways through higher and further education which you can pursue if you find the right course for you. You should research PLC courses and apprenticeships. One can also go into higher education on direct entry courses that are not listed on the CAO. Anyone interested in these courses should apply directly to the colleges in question. For more on these and other options read here.

What back routes is there for secondary teaching?

There are many different routes into secondary teaching. The predominant route is to complete an undergraduate degree in a subject area that is recognised by the Teaching Council and follow this by completing a PME (Postgraduate Masters in Education). Alternatively, there are some concurrent teaching degrees where the subject matter (e.g. science) and education are studied together as one undergraduate degree and no PME is necessary.

Is it possible to predict the points for a new course? My son applied for Politics, Economics and Law at Galway but it is a new course in 2019 so we have no history of points to help predict what his chances are of getting in.

I would look at points for a similar course that has a similar content. After that it will depend on factors that we are not privy to such information such as course demand, results of interested applicants, and number of places on the course. No one will know the exact cut-off points until Thursday at 2pm. For more on this topic read here.

My daughter got a H5 in Irish and needed a H4 for her course, she is going to get it rechecked just in case she goes up a grade. How easy is it to just repeat Irish if you take your place in college this year?

It is possible to repeat one subject and then combine this with this years Leaving Certificate results to meet entry requirements of courses. In Irish there may be an issue with different texts and this should be checked out before embarking on a repeat study of the subject. Obviously studying a Leaving Certificate subject alongside studying a college course would be an extra challenge and would require a lot of self motivation and hard work but this is possible to do.

Remember if in the recheck your daughter is upgraded to the H4 in Irish and she becomes entitled to a place in her desired CAO course then she may be offered a place in September and it is her choice to accept this place.

I got the points I need for the course but I did not get a H4 in French that was required. Does this mean there is no chance I will be let on to this course?

Unfortunately, if you do not meet the minimum entry requirements for a course then there is no way you will be offered a place on the course regardless of what points you have achieved.

I wish to appeal two results. Do I have to notify my school?

No, you do not have to notify the school, this is all done online by you, the candidate. For more information on how to appeal read here.

Is it too late to apply for a PLC course for this year?

Some popular courses may be filled but there is a possibility some of the other less popular courses have availability. Please contact admissions of any further education center you have an interest in applying to and they’ll be in a better position to advise you. For more on this topic read here.

My son received a O5 for maths. Is that a pass?

Yes it is a pass. Your son achieved a percentage somewhere between 50 to 59 per cent. He will get 20 CAO points for this grade.

What is the absolute latest my son can accept a place under the CAO? He didn’t get the points he expected and was wondering if he should hold out for a later round.

The reply date by which an applicant must accept a Round One offer is Friday, August 23rd at 5.15 pm. On accepting an offer online, applicants will receive an email notification and can also log in to their account to view their current offer acceptance status. A receipt of acceptance will be available to download for those who require documentation. At the same time as Round One offers of places are issued to successful applicants, a “Statement of Application” will be emailed to those who have not received any offer, for them to check. For more on this topic read here.

When are the subjects that were corrected online be available to view?

Scripts that were marked online will be available to view from 5pm Tuesday August 20th until 5pm Wednesday August 21st. You can apply to view scripts online from 9am Wednesday August 14th until 5pm Friday August 16th on the Candidate Self Service Portal on examinations.ie. For more on this topic read here.

Can I accept a course that is lower on my CAO list even though I have enough points for a course higher on the list? Basically, can I select the lower listed course?

You will get an offer of the highest CAO course preference where you meet the minimum requirements and cut off points for. Once you receive this offer all course choices below this offer become obsolete. So, no is the answer to your question.

I got results last year and I attended college for the past year but withdrew from the course at the end of the year and reapplied for two different courses, within the points I got last year, through the CAO again. Will I know if I have an offer during the First round Offers or should I have already received an offer by now?

On Thursday, August 15th, a round one offer will be made to all applicants applying on the basis of school leaving examination results, regardless of the year in which they were completed. You should be included in this lot. Offers will be known at 2 pm. Best of luck.

The helpdesk will reopen on Wednesday at 9am.