Leaving Cert: more courses to require at least 500 points

As more students take higher level maths bonus points awarded push up levels


A surge in the number of students taking higher level Mathematics in the Leaving Certificate is set to push more college courses through the 500 points entry threshold.

Almost 58,000 Leaving Certificate candidates will receive their results tomorrow. But those applying for third-level courses won’t know for certain whether they have secured their first choice until next Monday when offers through the Central Applications Office (CAO) are made.

Higher points

The introduction of the bonus points scheme in 2012 has created some points inflation, with a noticeable jump in the number of courses demanding at least 500 points – a threshold once associated with narrow fields such as medicine, veterinary and actuarial studies.

Last year, 27 per cent of UCD courses were at 500 points or above, up from 19 per cent in 2010. At Trinity College Dublin, the proportion of courses at 500 points-plus rose from 34 per cent to 43 per cent in the same period.

CAO first preferences for this year indicate that points in law, engineering, architecture and construction are set to experience the biggest rises.

Architecture at UCD jumped from 465 points in 2013 to 490 points last year, while at DIT there was a 70-point rise.

First preferences

Students can collect their results from their schools tomorrow morning, while an online service is available from midday at the State Examinations Commission website (examinations.ie) for whose who can’t attend in person.

Betty McLaughlin, president of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC), said tomorrow was the day that “all sixth year students have worked towards – one of the biggest days in their school life.

Options for everyone

She urged anyone with questions to talk to their guidance counsellor or support services such as the National Parents’ Council Post Primary helpline (1800 265 165) or the Irish Times results helpdesk (irishtimes.com/education), both of which will be operated by IGC members.