Leaving Cert: How to challenge your exam results

If you feel you should have done better, you might consider getting papers remarked

Since the release of the Leaving Cert results, students' and parents' questions have poured into the Irish Times helpdesk.

Anxiety over whether the six best grades in the exams would get them their desired courses drove many students to contact our guidance counsellors on the helpdesk. Nothing is certain until the CAO offers come out on Monday morning.

Some who fell short of their anticipated grades wonder about viewing exam scripts. In the excitement of opening the results envelope, some students miss the form inside to request script viewing.

All students can view one or more of their marked exam papers, free, to see how the marking scheme was applied to them.


This can help in deciding whether to lodge an appeal against a result. Applications for viewing marked scripts are made through your school, before Tuesday, August 18th.

External candidates, who took the exams outside of a school, received instructions with their results.

Script viewing

To decide whether to pay €40 per subject to have it recorrected, you can access the marking schemes for every paper and see how they were applied in your case. Script viewing is in schools on Friday evening, August 28th, and all day Saturday 29th.

The student must be present to view the script. You can be accompanied by one other person, who can be different for each paper viewed, so a number of your teachers may accompany you. Some readers ask whether a parent can view the scripts on their behalf, as the student is away. This isn’t possible; the candidate must be present.

If you decide you do want a paper remarked, applications must be with the State Examinations Commission by 5pm, September 2nd.

Percentage marks

About 20 per cent of appeals are successful each year.

Papers which are 1 per cent shy of the next grade up are more likely to be upgraded than those, say, 4 per cent adrift, so your best bet is to choose for remarking the papers where the shortfall is slightest.

The only way to get your percentage marks is to view scripts on August 28th/29th.

A small number of students will discover an administrative error in the calculation of marks on the front cover of their answer books. This can be rectified between the SEC and the CAO, so students may get revised CAO offers.

If the apparent error is in transferring marks on answer pages on to the final totals on the front cover of the booklet, the paper has to be fully remarked.

The results of appeals are issued to schools in mid-October. If your grade in one or more subjects improves (or in very rare cases falls), the CAO is advised when SEC releases the results in October, and any college place you would have got with those points will be offered to you, no matter what you accepted in the meantime.

The college may not allow you to start in late October, as you’ll have missed half the first semester, but you’re guaranteed the place for 2016-2017.

The numbers failing maths at all three levels has dropped to 3,022. But if you are one of the unfortunate 764 higher-level candidates to fail maths, a number of colleges offer second-chance higher-level maths exams for level 8 courses. These include DIT (level 8 engineering) and NUI Galway (engineering and IT) on August 19th, UL (science and engineering) on August 20th, and NUI Maynooth (engineering) on August 21st. The Institute of Technology, Carlow also has a special maths exam, on August 20th,for students wishing to study engineering.

Cork IT and WIT have special maths exams on August 18th and 28th respectively, for those who have applied to either college and have failed maths at any level.

NUI Galway offers a five-day free preparatory course from today. DIT has one on 17th and 18th prior to its exam on the 19th and WIT’s revision programme is 24th to 27th. To book , contact the colleges directly.

Brian Mooney

Brian Mooney

Brian Mooney is a guidance counsellor and education columnist. He contributes education articles to The Irish Times