Rise in college points likely as more students seek places

More than 120,000 Junior and Leaving Cert students to begin exams with English

Both the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert exams will get under way with English papers on Wednesday. The exams run until June 23rd for the Junior Cert and June 24th for the Leaving Cert.  File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Both the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert exams will get under way with English papers on Wednesday. The exams run until June 23rd for the Junior Cert and June 24th for the Leaving Cert. File photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

 

The long wait is over for 120,000 Junior Cert and Leaving Cert students who are to to begin their exams on Wednesday in 5,000 test centres across the country.

The rising number of students seeking to progress on to higher education means a record number of students will seek college places this year.

This means points increases are likely across a number of sectors in high demand, such as business and science.

Of those beginning exams, a total of 56,596 are due to sit the Leaving Cert, while another 2,811 are due to sit the Applied Leaving Cert.

A further 59,522 students are due to sit the Junior Cert.

A combination of bonus points for higher maths, along with “project maths” reforms, means about one in three Leaving Cert candidates will undertake the higher-level exam this year.

From this weekend, about 5,000 superintendents involved in supervising the written exam received locked boxes containing the four million exam papers which will be used over the coming fortnight.

English paper

Both the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert exams will get under way with English on Wednesday. The exams run until June 23rd for the Junior Cert and June 24th for the Leaving Cert.

Pat Burke, chairman of the State Examinations Commission, sent his best wishes to candidates ahead of the beginning of the exams.

“The State examinations represent the culmination of much hard work by students, their families and schools,” he said.

“The commission is committed to ensuring that the examinations are conducted to the highest standards in an open and fair manner. It is our objective to enable each candidate display his or her achievements during what can be a stressful time.”

The number of candidates with additional needs who require “reasonable accommodation” is due to rise to almost 20,000.

The issue has proved controversial over recent months, given the number of students whose requests for reasonable accommodation were rejected without official explanation.

Following a legal action, the commission has begun issuing details of why they were refused these supports.

Support

Exam candidates, meanwhile, are being advised to stay calm, remain positive and draw on support available from fellow students, teachers and family.

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland, which represents thousands of second-level teachers, paid particular tribute to students and school staff following education cutbacks.

Union president Gerry Quinn said: “Students will have worked hard up to now and in general will find that they are better prepared than they think,” he said.