Q&A: When will State exams now be held exactly?

State Examinations Commission due to publish timetable in early June

The written Leaving Cert exams will be postponed until late July or early August, subject to public health advice.

The written Leaving Cert exams will be postponed until late July or early August, subject to public health advice.


So the exams are postponed. When are they going to be held, exactly?

The Government has announced that the written Leaving Cert exams will be postponed until late July or early August, subject to public health advice.

At Junior Cycle, the written exams are postponed and will be rearranged as school-based tests when schools reopen.

When will a timetable be available for the new exam dates?

The State Examinations Commission says it plans to publish the July/August Leaving Certificate exam timetable in early June, along with the other detailed arrangements for the rescheduled exams.

What now happens with my project work and coursework which was due to be completed on May 15th?

The deadline for this work in subjects such as history, geography, home economics and others had been extended until May 15th. This has now been extended to immediately prior to the commencement of the written examinations in the July/August period.

Practical tests in art, engineering and construction studies due to commence on 27th April and the oral and practical performance tests in the Leaving Certificate Applied programme due to take place in May, will now be rescheduled for the July/August period.

I’m sitting the Leaving Cert - will my classes resume during the summer?

Minister for Education Joe McHugh said the intention was to allow at least two weeks of class time, in school, before the Leaving Certificate examinations begin.No date has been given for this yet.

I hope to go to college. What impact will this have on starting dates for college?

The start date for college will be delayed. Third level bodies say they will work as quickly as possible to ensure students start as soon as possible. This will most likely be late September, October or, at the very latest, November.

What about students hoping to go to college abroad?

Minister Joe McHugh said he has been in talks with the UK government over the delays and is confident students will be accommodated. As for other countries, it remains to be seen. On a positive note, most institutions will want to be as flexible as possible given that many are desperate to attract students due to the international student market drying-up.

And what about non-Leaving Cert students. Is there any chance they will return to school?

Technically, schools are shut until May 5th at the earliest. However, given that the Leaving Cert is being postponed, it is difficult to see public health advice allowing for primary or secondary schools to reopen for the rest of the normal academic year. Time will tell.

How will students due to sit the Leaving Cert Vocational Programme be affected?

There are also three terminal examinations scheduled in May in the subjects LCVP Links Modules, LCA ICT Specialism and Computer Science. These May examinations will now also be rescheduled to the July/August period.

Will my children be safe sitting the Leaving Cert exams with hundreds of others?

The State Examinations Commission says it will be engaging with the education partners in putting in place arrangements for the safe conduct of the 2020 Leaving Cert exams, acting at all times in accordance with the best available public health advice.

It says the decision to postpone the Junior Cycle examinations recognises the need to prioritise the running of the Leaving Cert exams in order to allow sixth year students progress to higher and further education or to the world of work.

Retaining all of the available space that was to be used for both sets of examinations will allow the SEC to significantly reduce the number of Leaving Certificate candidates in each exam centre.

It says that at all stages, the health and safety of candidates, exam superintendents, school staff and others involved in the delivery of the examinations system will be at the forefront of the SEC’s approach.

What will the Junior Cycle be replaced with?

At Junior Cycle the State Examinations Commission will provide schools with the exam papers and related materials they need to deliver these tests when schools reopen.

All of the remaining elements of the Junior Cycle, project work, coursework and assessment tasks, will also be rescheduled to that time.

Given the delays to the Leaving Cert, will there be teachers available to mark the exams?

Minister McHugh said he is confident there will be capacity in the system to mark these exams, even if the marking process overlaps with the start of the new school year.

The State Examinations Commission says it will continue to engage collaboratively with the education stakeholders on these matters.