Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023

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Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023

Skerries Community College






                            Skerries, Co. Dublin
                   Tel. 01-8490011 Fax: 01-8490012
  Email:      Web:

Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023

                        Subject Choice for the Leaving Certificate 2021 – 2023
                               “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
                                   I took the one less travelled by,
                         And that has made all the difference” - Robert Frost

Fifth Year marks a major transition point in a student’s school life; they have successfully completed
their junior years in post primary school and now they are embarking on the final stretch of this
particular path. Students with their parents / guardians are asked now to make choices and decisions
that will impact the next stage of this exciting journey. These choices relate to the particular subjects
they will study for their final two years of school, while at the same time making choices in relation to
third level colleges and what careers they would like to pursue in the future.

Whatever choices are made at this point, it is important to remember that these decisions will directly
impact a student’s future third level college and career path. It is unwise to give an unduly strong
weighting to future careers at this stage of a student’s education, as they may change their mind
numerous times before filling out the CAO form in 6th year. What is important, however, is that
students make informed decisions regarding their subject choices, making ones that will afford them
options at a later date.

The Leaving Certificate is a general education and the desirability of a balanced education cannot be
overstressed. To facilitate this process, both students and parents/guardians are encouraged to meet
with the school’s Guidance Counsellor and/or subject teachers to engage in open discussion. If still
unsure, talk to students who are presently studying the subjects in which they have an interest. Look
up past papers and consult text books.

As the majority of people will change career directions several times in the course of their working
lives, it is not recommended that students limit themselves to one discipline only, when selecting their
subjects at this early stage unless they are 100% sure about what career path they wish to pursue.
Very few 15-16 year olds are in this position. Remember students are more likely to excel in a subject
they like. This will enhance their chances of achieving a high standard of results and of opening up
more choices to them at a later period.

When choosing subject options, students are well advised to give serious consideration to the
following questions:

       What subjects am I interested in?
       Which subjects do I have an aptitude for?
       What are the subjects that I feel naturally drawn to?
       Which subjects are essential requirements for college courses which I might be interested in?

Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023

                         There are Seven Groups to choose from:
When it comes to actually picking the subjects you will see that students take 7 subjects which they
will study for the Leaving Certificate Examination. Of these 7 subjects, 3 of them are mandatory; these
include Irish (except when exempted by Dept. of Education), English and Maths. This leaves a student
with 4 wise decisions to make with your help!

                             The subjects are grouped under 7 headings:

       Language group: French, German and Spanish – A foreign language is necessary for most
        courses in NUI colleges, along with other Institutes of Education.
       Science Group: Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Applied Maths– A science subject is necessary
        for many careers such as Engineering, Medicine and Science etc. On occasion two science
        subjects may be required for certain medical or paramedical courses.
       Business Studies Group: Accounting, Business and Economics – In order to do a Business
        course in college it is not necessary to have done a business subject for the Leaving Certificate.
       Practical / Applied Science Group: Construction Studies, Engineering, Technology,
       Humanities: History, Geography, French, Spanish, Home Economics.
       Artistic Group: Art, Music, Design & Communication Graphics.
       Social Science Group: Home Economics and Religious Education

What are the best subjects for high grades in Leaving Cert?

Students or their parents/guardians sometimes ask for a list of the subjects they should take in order
to get the best possible results in the Leaving Certificate. The answer to this is that it depends on the
student. If a student is a very practical and hands-on person, then subjects such as Construction
Studies, Home Economics, Engineering, Technology, Design and Communication Graphics or Art,
depending on their aptitude and interest, may be considered. If a student is a strong reader and enjoys
factual information then subjects like History and Geography could be a good choice; in the case of
Physics, Economics or Chemistry these subjects might suit the student who has a good analytical and
mathematical mindset.

Decisions should be based with the individual student in mind, considering such things as their
personality, their strengths and abilities and their personal areas of interest – what makes them tick?
These are the things that will help a student to pick subjects that will help them grow and develop; to
flourish in their learning environment.

From a careers perspective and with third level colleges in mind, it is important to remember that
each college has their own specific matriculation requirements – in terms of the subjects a student
must have in order to gain entry into a particular college.

For this reason to give students the best possible chance in the future it would be advisable that all
students choose at least one Science subject and one language – French or Spanish for their Leaving

Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023


    It is impossible to pursue any Science course or Science related course in Third Level unless
     one has at least one Science subject to Leaving Certificate Level.
    Honours Maths is necessary for most degree courses in Engineering.
    A European Language is necessary for many University degree courses.
    Points for all 3rd level courses are scored on six highest grades obtained in one sitting of the
     Leaving Certificate.
    When deciding your subject options never pick a subject believing that it is easy.
    Never pick a subject because your friends are doing that subject; your future career path may
     be totally different to your friends; do not hesitate to ask for advice.
    Subject Choice should not depend on what teacher is teaching a certain subject at Leaving
     Certificate Level.
    Talk to your teachers, past pupils or even students in 5th and 6th year who are currently
     studying the subjects that interest you; older brothers and sisters and parents can also help
     to make informed decisions on subject choice.
    Always, always get your information through Research, Research and more Research!

Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023

Accounting                                                            Subject group: Business


Accounting is a business studies option within the Leaving Certificate programme. It provides a
valuable foundation for all business functions. It is concerned with the preparation, recording,
extraction, presentation and analysis of financial information for the purpose of making economic

What Accounting involves:

It involves the recording of financial information; the presentation of this financial information and
then the interpretation and uses of this data. It requires the use of logic and direct thinking.
Accounting gives a clear picture of the state of affairs and prospects for a business enterprise.

What do you study?

The course is divided into ten main sections:
           The Conceptual framework of Accounting            Specialised Accounting
           The Regulatory framework of Accounting            Incomplete Records
           Accounting Records                                Cash Flow Statements
           Sole Traders                                      Analysis & Interpretation of Financial
           Company Accounting                                 Statements
                                                              Management Accounting
How do students benefit by studying Accounting?
The study of Accounting helps students to learn how to:

       To collect information
       To record and analyse information
       To think logically and clearly
       To understand the importance of financial information for good decision-making. This can
        be for shareholders, creditors, employers, employees, customers or members of a
        voluntary organisation.
While at the same time students will learn about the relationship between accounting and other
areas of business.

Possible Career links:

The study of Accounting is valuable foundation for all business functions, especially such areas as
Accounting, Banking, Hotel Management, Hospital Administration, Teaching, Auctioneering, and

Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023

Applied Mathematics                                                   Subject group: Science


Applied Maths is the study of practical applications of mathematics in the real world and physical
It is very well suited to the student who is taking higher-level maths and physics.

Who is it suitable for?

This subject is highly recommended for students considering a career in any area of
Engineering, Science, Information Technology, Business, Finance, Architecture or Education.
Those who are studying Leaving Cert higher level Maths. It is also valuable to those who are
studying Physics, due to some overlap of content.

What are the advantages of doing Applied Mathematics as a subject?

    1. There is an overlap between some parts of the Leaving Cert Physics course and the
       Applied Maths course e.g. Linear Motion, Newton’s Laws, Circular Motion. It will also help
       students to develop a deeper understanding of these topics in Physics.
    2. As there is a high Mathematical content in the course it will also give students a better
       understanding of some parts of the Higher Maths course, especially Trigonometry,
       Calculus and Vectors.
    3. If a student is considering studying any kind of engineering in college, Applied Maths is
       very important – all engineering students have to study Applied Maths in their first year in
       college and this would provide a valuable head start if you have the Leaving Cert course

Possible Career links:

It is typically associated with engineering and physics, but also finds use in economics, finance,
business, environmental studies and even chemistry and medicine.

Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023

Art                                                                       Subject group: Artistic


If choosing this subject, it is desirable to have taken Art to Junior Cert level as it will continue to
build on the skills and techniques which were learnt in the Junior cycle.
What Art involves:

Art involves the study of Art History, Art Appreciation, Art Craft work and Design.
What do you study?

You learn:
    Drawing using a variety of media
    Painting
    Three-dimension work in clay and mixed media
    Printing
    Study of Early Irish and European Art
    Analysing and evaluating modern design and architecture


This accounts for 50% of the overall mark. It is carried out over 10 weeks between Christmas and
Easter in 6th Year. A minimum of 30 hours of classroom contact is provided for the delivery of the
coursework component over the ten-week period.

How do students benefit by studying Art?

The study of Art helps students to develop their own creativity.
This should lead them to better appreciation of their environment.
It also provides training in decision-making and lateral thinking.

Possible Career links:

Career in Art History, Archaeology, Architecture, Animation, Design, Painting or Sculpture, Display,
Graphic Design, Craftwork, Dress Design, Interior Design, Teaching, Product Design, Stage or Set

Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023

Biology                                                             Subject group: Science


Biology is the study of living organisms. Students undertake 24 mandatory experiments, the
details of which they record in their laboratory book. During the course students are encouraged
to question and research material and to apply their biological knowledge to everyday life.

What do you study?

The course is divided into three units
 Unit 1: Biology – the study of life
                 1. the scientific method
                 2. the characteristics of
                 3. nutrition
                 4. general principles of
                 5. a study of the

Unit 2: The Cell
               1.   Cell structure
               2.   Cell metabolism ( respiration – photosynthesis)
               3.   Cell continuity ( Mitosis – Meiosis)
               4.   Cell diversity (Tissues – Organs – systems)
               5.   Genetics

Unit 3: The Organism
               1. diversity of organisms (micro-organisms – flowering plant – animals
               2. plant systems – human systems
                  (circulatory system – root & shoot system)
               3. Transport and Nutrition in plants and animals
               4. Breathing systems and excretion in plants and animals

How do students benefit from studying Biology?

Students develop a better understanding of many of the biological issues which impact on our
daily lives.
Students gain adequate knowledge for making informed judgements on biological issues.
This is a core subject in a number of third level courses.

Possible Career links:

Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Nursing and Paramedical professions, Pharmacy,
Biotechnology, Product Research, Zoology, Botany, Marine Biology, Sports Science, Scientific
Journalism, Teaching, Horticulture, Physiotherapy, Food Science, Physiotherapy, Food Science,
Environmental Science, Genetic Engineering, Forensics, Equine Science, Homeopathic Medicine,
Massage Therapy, Beauty Industry...

Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023

Business                                                             Subject group: Business


This subject is concerned with understanding the environment in which business operates in
Ireland and in the wider world. It equips students with a positive view of enterprise and its
applications in the business environment in both public and private sectors.

What do you study?

There are 7 core units covering the following topics:
Introduction to People in Business; Enterprise; Managing 1 & 2 ; Business in action; Domestic
Environment and International Environment.

How do students benefit from studying Business?

Students learn how to make informed business decisions.
They learn to understand the structure and management of business and to use established
commercial principles and knowledge.
Students will understand and appreciate ethics in business.
They will practice Communication, Literacy, Numeracy and Problem Solving Skills.
And finally those studying this subject will be able to understand and discuss current affairs as
they relate to business.

Possible Career links:

This is an invaluable foundation to any business related career and the study of Finance and
Management makes it a very relevant subject to enhance any career choice.
It would also be very a great asset to anyone interested in setting up their own business.

Skerries Community College - OPTION SUBJECTS FOR LEAVING CERTIFICATE 2021-2023

Chemistry                                                               Subject group: Science


Chemistry exists everywhere not just in laboratories but in every living thing on land and sea and
in our bodies. It is often described as ‘the central science’ containing a lot of formulas. So, if you
enjoyed Junior Cert Science and you have done well in this and Maths you should be a good
candidate for Leaving Cert Chemistry.

What do you study?

Some of the topics are:

        The Periodic Table
        Bonding
        History of Chemistry and Scientists
        The Use of Chemistry Techniques in
         everyday life
        Water Chemistry
        Acids and Bases

How do students benefit from studying Chemistry?

Students develop skills in laboratory procedures and techniques.
They learn how to take safety precautions in this environment.
Students develop the abilities to assess the uses and limitations of procedures.
They develop skills in observation, analysis, evaluation, communication and problem solving.
This is a subject which is a core element to many third level courses

Chemistry is also an area where the prospect of employment is increasing. Many of the new
industries entering Ireland are involved in Chemistry and as such need trained and qualified

Possible Career links:

Medicine; Dentistry; Veterinary Science; Physiotherapy; Nursing; Pharmacy and Medical
Laboratory Technology; Engineering...


Construction Studies                                                Subject group: Practical


Construction studies introduce students to the knowledge and skills associated with construction
technology and construction materials and practices. This is achieved through bother theoretical
study and integrated practical projects which provide a basis for the thorough exploration of
materials and processes.

If choosing this subject it is desirable to have studied Materials Technology (Wood) or Technology
to Junior Cert level – however a well-motivated and interested student will not be refused a place.

What do you study?

The course is essentially about the study of buildings and the built environment. The theoretical
part of the course examines all parts of a building from the planning stages right through to
completion. The course is studied under the following main headings:

                Planning and Design                          Windows and Doors
                Drawings and Documents                       Stairs
                Site Preliminaries and Foundations           Plastering and Painting
                Walls, Partitions                            Plumbing and Heating
                Floors, Roofs                                Services
                Fireplaces                                   Drainage

How do students benefit from studying Construction Studies?

Students develop manual skills and problem solving skills.
They acquire skills that will remain with them and useful to them throughout their life; and
students will improve their skills of observation and criticism.

Possible Career links:

Architecture, Auctioneering, Bricklaying, Building Management, Carpentry, Civil and Structural
Engineering, Environmental Design, Interior Design, Painting and Decorating, Site Management,
Town Planning, Insurance, Claims Assessment, Electronics, Electrical Engineering...


Design & Communication Graphics                                         Subject group: Artistic

Design and communication Graphics (DCG) has taken the place of technical drawing for the
Leaving Certificate and provides students with the opportunity for visualising and comprehending
information presented verbally or graphically.

Problem solving and creative thinking skills are developed through the analysis and solution of
both 2 and 3 dimensional graphics. Graphics and design are communicated using freehand
sketching skills, traditional draughting equipment and CAD (Computer Aided Design program).

This subject follows on from Tech Graphics or Technology at Junior Cert level.

Although it is not an essential subject for either architecture or engineering it is regarded as a
useful asset if students were thinking of a technical course.

What do you study?

There are two parts to this course a compulsory section and then optional modules.

The compulsory section is based on Plane and Descriptive Geometry which carries on from Junior
Cert Technical Graphics which involves Sketching, Shading and the use of colour; and would be
similar to material covered in Junior Cert Art. It also includes the use of ICT (Information and
Communications Technology) and Digital Media such as scanners and digital cameras.

The optional modules section of the course contains 5 choices, from which students must choose
2 to answer a question on in the Leaving Cert: 1. Dynamic Mechanisms, 2. Structural Forms, 3.
Assemblies, 4. Surface Geometry and 5. Geologic

Students will also produce a project on a design topic, which will be presented on paper and in
digital format. This will account for 40% of the entire exam.

How do students benefit from studying Construction Studies?

Students will become proficient in the use of Graphics as a language of communication. They will
be able to produce a design folder as used in Third Level Institutes and in the work place.

Possible Career links:

DCG is a core element of many 3rd level options including Engineering, Construction and
Architecture and knowledge of this subject will greatly enhance a student’s ability in any 3rd level
engineering based programme.


Economics                                                            Subject group: Business


Economics is regarded as the most practical business subject and is the study of how people
manage limited resources such as money to meet their goals. By understanding the reasons why
people spend their money in certain ways, economics can try to introduce incentives to change
their behaviour.

Each day the media keeps us in touch with a wide range of economic issues, such as
unemployment, inflation, job creation, the EU, the Euro, Third World issues, taxation, interest
rates and even government economic policies...

Economics studies show how scarce resources are best distributed to satisfy infinite needs and

What do you study?

This subject is divided into two main sections:

    1. Microeconomics – where you study economic decisions at the level of the individual
       consumer or household, the individual producer and the individual supplier of goods and
    2. Macroeconomics – where you study economic decisions at the level of governments and
       whole communities. This involves you in the student in the study of topics such as
       employment, inflation, investment, growth and international trade.

How do students benefit from studying Economics?

        Students learn to understand the economic environment in which we live.
        Students will understand media reports on economic issues and have a better grasp of
         current affairs.
        Students will learn how to collect, analyse and interpret information and this in turn will
         hone skills in clear and logic thinking.
        Students will be able to evaluate the complex information about markets, e.g. financial
         markets and what they have to offer the consumer.

Possible Career links:

All business courses require an Economics content so having this subject is an advantage.
It is also useful for careers in Banking, Insurance, Finance and Marketing.


Engineering                                                           Subject group: Practical


Engineering carries on from Junior Cert Technology. It promotes an educational understanding of
the materials and a knowledge of the processes associated with mechanical engineering. This is
achieved through the development of skills and initiative in the planning, developing and
realisation of technological projects in a safe manner.

What do you study?

Students study the use of workshop tools, the Lathe, Drilling and Jointing etc to produce their own
work of Art. The theory behind the processes used will then be covered in the theory section of
the course.

The theory covers such things as:
     Manufacturing processes, Drilling, Milling, Grinding and Lathe Machines
     Theory of cutting Materials
     Material Properties and Material Testing
     The joining of Materials – Threading, Soldering, Brazing and Welding
     Production and Manufacture of Plastics and Metals
     Material Science, Pneumatics, Electronics and Mechanisms
     Honours students cover a prescribed topic particular to their year.

How do students benefit from studying Construction Studies?

The design project which students will undertake involves the skills used in Third Level Institutes.
It also provides a good grounding for anyone interested in pursuing this type of career when they
finish school.

Possible Career links:

Engineering while not directly required for any courses in the CAO, it is very useful for the
following careers: Mechanic, Panel Beater, Welder, Plumber, Electronic and Mechanical
Engineering, Architecture and Design.


French / Spanish / German                                         Subject group: Humanities

It would be strongly recommended that all students should take another language in addition to
English and Irish. By eliminating a third language from your subject options you greatly reduce the
number of third level colleges which you can apply to in 6th year.

The colleges of the National University of Ireland require a pass in a third language for entry into a
large number of their courses. These colleges are NUI Maynooth, Dublin, Galway and Cork and a
range of associated constituent colleges, all of which are listed on the NUI website at

In recent years, NUI have dropped their third language requirement for both their engineering and
science programmes. UCD has also dropped it for their agricultural programmes. It has never been
a requirement for Nursing at NUI colleges.

It is however necessary for arts, human sciences, law, social science, commerce, medicine and
health sciences and some other degrees. A third language is also a requirement for entry into the
cadetship in the army or the air corps.

If choosing any of these languages, it is essential that students have studied for the Junior

What do you study?

There are four sections in the Leaving Cert Course:
Aural – Listening to the language on CD
Oral – Speaking the chosen language

How do students benefit from studying a Continental Language?

Students become proficient in a third language, which enables them to communicate with people
in French, Spanish and German speaking countries. They develop an understanding of these
different cultures and an appreciation for their language of choice.

Possible Career links:

Translator, Au Pair, Telesales, Catering, Diplomatic Service, Tourism & Travel, Work for
International Organisations, Work within the European Union, Work with Aid Agencies, Work
within the Fashion Industry, Teaching...


Geography                                                          Subject group: Humanities

Geography is the study of people, their environment and the interaction between the two. The
course follows on from the Junior Cert syllabus, and covers very similar topics (such as rocks, soils,
oceans, population movements, map-reading, and economic activities) in a lot more detail.

It is also worth noting that this subject is accepted in Trinity College Dublin as a science subject for
entry into both the science and pharmacy faculty.

What do you study?

Students learn about the following key topics:

            Mapping and aerial photography skills
            The physical landscape, such as rivers, sea, ice, volcanoes, earthquakes and other
             natural phenomena
            Environmental issues are discussed e.g. acid rain, pollution, desertification, global
            Levels of economic development within certain regions and countries of the world e.g.
             developed and developing countries
            Human geography which examines the relationships between people and their
             natural environment
            Geo-ecology which examines soils and biomes in two contrasting regions
            Geographical investigations where students apply their knowledge of physical
             geography to a local area in a project based study. This field work component
             accounts for 20% of the Leaving Certificate and is submitted by April in 6th year

How do students benefit from studying Geography?

        Students broaden their knowledge of the world in which we live
        Students learn to relate current events with topics within the syllabus
        Students learn to develop links between geography and other subjects
        Students learn to express themselves in a clear and logic manner

Possible Career links:

Geography is a very useful subject for those who wish to follow a career in Town Planning,
Surveying, Environmental Science and Politics.

Other career links include: Civil Engineering, Construction, Architecture, Meteorology, Mineralogy,
Agricultural Science, Research, Journalism, Tourism, Marine Service, Flying, Mining and


History                                                           Subject group: Humanities


The history course has extended beyond military and political history to include social and cultural
issues. Students can secure up to 20% of their overall marks by pre-submitting a research paper
on a selected topic from a range set out by the State Examinations Commission. Students have to
present three essays in their higher Leaving Cert paper, plus a documents question.

What do you study?

History aims to record and analyse things which have happened in the past, with an emphasis on
both how and why events occurred. It deals with human experience and it is often studied out of
personal interest, but also develops important skills such as self-discipline and critical thinking
which are of life-long importance.

The Leaving Cert syllabus is divided into two distinct fields; the first of which is Early Modern
(1492-1815) and the second is the Later Modern field of study (1815 – 1993). Each field is further
divided into six Irish topics and six European topics

European History includes such topics as Hitler, Mussolini, World War II

Assessment consists of two components: A written examination paper (80%) and A research study

How do students benefit from studying History?

        The study of History can teach such things as self-discipline and critical thinking which are
         of life-long importance.
        It fine tunes students ability to pay attention to the evidence presented to them and to be
         aware of bias.
        This subject develops research skills and an appreciation for the society in which we live.
        It can bring people in touch with human experiences that are very different from their
         own and this presents an opportunity to improve the skills of critical thinking.
        It fosters a spirit of inquiry and critical thinking.
        It also helps to prepare students for their role as active and participative citizens.

Possible Career links:

Politics, Law, Sociology, Local Government, Journalism, Teaching, Writing, Garda Siochana, Civil
Service, Broadcasting...


Home Economics                                                          Subject group: Social

Home Economics at Leaving Cert level examines the way in which individuals and families manage
their resources to meet physical, emotional, intellectual, social and economic needs. The course is
assessed through both a written exam and a practical assessment. The practical cookery classes
are recorded in a special journal which is examined by the Department of Education and Science;
and this journal accounts for 20% of the overall Home Economics Grade

What do you study?
 Food Studies - 45%                                    Choose one from electives
     Nutrients
     Special Diets                                    Home Design and Management- 20%
     Food Industry and New methods of Food                Housing and provision of House
         Processing                                        Interior Design
     Legislation in Relation to Food                      Energy Efficiency in the Home
                                                           Insulation
                                                           Ventilation
                                                           Lighting

                                                       Textiles Fashion and Design — 20%
                                                            Current Fashion Trends
                                                            Textile Science
                                                            Evaluation of Garment Design
                                                            Textile Industry
 Resource Management and Consumers Studies- 25%
      Money Management                                Social Studies — 20%
      Housing                                              The Family and Social Change
      Electrical Appliances                                Education
      Consumer Studies                                     Work
                                                            Reconciling Work and Family
 Social Studies - 10%                                       Leisure
      The family                                           Unemployment
      Marriage                                             Poverty
      Family Law                                           Government response to Social Problems

How do students benefit from studying Home Economics?

        Home Economics is an excellent preparation for life skills in general
        Students learn the skills of making wise decisions and good choices when shopping,
         budgeting and cooking.
        Students will learn about the science and application of good nutrition.
        Students will gain insight into the food industry, along with the clothing and textile
        Students will learn how to understand all the systems and services we have in our homes.

Possible Career Links:

Teaching, Dietetics, Catering and Tourism Industry, Child-Care, Social Studies, Food
Demonstration, Nutrition, Fashion Design, Interior Design....


Music                                                                  Subject group: Artistic

The Leaving Certificate Music course is designed to provide a progression from the Junior
Certificate Music course. The course is aimed at students who wish to continue to develop a
deeper knowledge, understanding and critical appreciation of music.

What do you study?

Like Junior Certificate Music, Leaving Certificate Music places great emphasis in learning through
experience; the experience of listening, composing and performing. Students study Music
Technology which involves inputting and editing music. Listening is 25%, Composition is 25%, and
Performance is 50% of the Leaving Certificate course. Students listen to classical and modern set
works; and they learn how to harmonise and compose melodies.

How do students benefit from studying Music?

Music students will have the opportunity to develop their own performance skills as a soloist and
/ or as part of a music ensemble. All Music students are strongly encouraged to continue to
participate in the School Choir, the School Orchestra, School Musical and all the Music events that
occur throughout the academic year.

Students grow in confidence in their own musical abilities and learn to share their gifts with those
around them.

Possible Career links:

Music Industry, Music Education, Sound Engineering, Music Therapy, Singing, Musician, Music
Technology and Conductor.


Students choosing Music as a Leaving Certificate subject should have attained a good standard in
Junior Certificate Music, and can play at least one instrument to a good standard. Otherwise only
students who have a background in music performance and music theory will be considered for
Leaving Certificate Music.


Physics                                                              Subject group: Science

The study of Physics is undoubtedly relevant to society today. It is about finding out and
understanding what lies behind every day phenomena. Physics deals with the laws and forces
which govern natural phenomena such as energy, atoms, radioactivity, electricity and magnetism.

What do you study?

Physics has a strong maths element (though it can be taken comfortably with ordinary level
maths) and requires the learning off of many formulae. Students must maintain a laboratory book
as there are 24 mandatory experiments, four of which are examined on the Leaving Cert paper.
The Leaving Cert physics course follows directly from Junior Cert Science and covers more topics
in greater depth.

Topics studied include mechanics, optics, heat, light, electricity, magnetism, sound, atomic and
nuclear physics and electronics.

At Leaving Cert level Physics involves more practical work which makes the theory come alive.

How do students benefit from studying Physics?

Students develop experimental and investigative skills.
It is a subject that requires planning, implementation, analysing evidence and drawing conclusions
and evaluating evidence and procedures all skills that are important for everyday life.
Students have the opportunity to draw on existing knowledge to show understanding of the
responsible use of Physics in society.

Possible Career links:

Physics is particularly relevant to Engineering and Technology courses, Computer Science,
Astronomy, Physicist, Biophysicist, Biomedical Science courses; Medical related courses such as
Doctor, Dentist, Radiographer, Physiotherapist, Pharmacist, Nurse, Scientific Lab Technician, and
Scientific Researcher.
It would also be an important subject for Pilots, Meteorologist, the Naval Service and Marine
Radio Operators.


Religious Education                                                Subject Group: Social

Are you interested in studying Religious Education for the Leaving Cert as an additional
exam subject?'

Religious education in the Leaving Certificate programme calls for the exploration of issues such as
meaning and value, the nature of morality, the development of diversity and belief, the principles of
a just society, and the implications of scientific progress. It has a particular role to play in the
curriculum in the promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding.

Why Study Religious Education
It seeks to develop in students the skills needed to engage in meaningful dialogue with those of
other or of no religious traditions.
The RE syllabus supports the development of the inquiry, thinking, and problem solving skills central
to the Leaving Cert

What kind of student would Religious Education suit?
Religious Education suits the student with an enquiring mind. A student who is interested in history,
current affairs, travel and culture and debating the meaning of life.
The syllabus offers extensive choices and areas of study, e.g. Christianity, world cultures, moral
decision making, religion and gender, issues of justice and peace, religion and science, etc.
It seeks to develop in students the skills needed to engage in meaningful dialogue with those of
other or of no religious traditions.
Religious Education is a relatively new subject for the Leaving Cert. (It was first examined in 2005).
Since then many students throughout the country have taken this option to build on their
experience of Religious Education at Junior Cert, even though it is not necessary to have taken the
exam at Junior Cert to succeed at Leaving Cert.
The RE syllabus supports the development of the inquiry, thinking and problem solving skills central
to the Leaving Cert.
The course aims to explore issues such as meaning and value, the nature of morality, the
development and diversity of belief, the principles of a just society, and the implications of scientific
Students’ personal faith commitment and/or affiliation to a particular religious grouping are not
subject to assessment.

What do you Study?
The subject consists of one core obligatory section, 'The Search for Meaning and Values' and a
choice of two other core sections from a list of three:
         Christianity: origins and contemporary expressions,
         World Religions, and
         Moral Decision Making.
There is one optional section also from a list of six which gives the students the opportunity to
explore a topic of their own liking.
An exciting feature of this subject is the coursework element, which is like an extended essay on a
topic supplied by the DES which accounts for 20% of the marks in the final exam. This means that in
effect, students will have one fifth of the examination covered before they begin the Leaving Cert
Possible future courses/career areas: Arts, Law, Journalism, Education, Teaching, Theology,
Philosophy, Religious Vocations, Social Work and Career Guidance among others.


Technology                                                             Subject group: Practical

Technology is a distinct form of creative activity where human beings interact with their
environments, using appropriate materials and processes in response to needs, wants and
opportunities. It integrates problem solving and practical skills in the production of useful
artefacts and systems.

What do you study?

Within the Leaving Certificate, technology education is provided through the subjects
Technology, Design and Communication Graphics, Engineering Technology, and Technology;
There by providing progression with junior cycle.

At a more practical level, the technology subjects at senior cycle share a number of common
features. The syllabus is composed of core areas of study and optional areas of study, reflecting
the different topics and sections within the subject area.

 Core Content:                                       Options Content:
      Energy, Electricity & Electronics                  Applied Control Systems: Robotics,
      Structures and Mechanisms                             Pneumatics and Programmable Devices.
      ICT                                                Electronics and Control: Printed Circuit
      The Process of Design                                 Boards, Logic Circuits and Counters.
      Project and Quality Management                     ICT: Computer Architecture, Computer
      Materials and Production                              Networks and Multimedia and Design.
      Communications and Graphic Media                   Materials Technology: Properties of
                                                             Materials, Skills Development, Quality
                                                             Assurance, Manufacturing Systems, P&O
                                                             Management and Concurrent

                                                     *Students will have to answer questions on two
                                                     chosen topics so three will be covered to allow for

The Leaving Certificate Exam in June will be worth 50% of the full marks and the Artefact and
Portfolio on a given prescribed topic will amount for the other 50%.

How do students benefit from studying Technology?

The process of your project work involves a skill that is used widely in Third Level Institutes and
also in the workplace. The course is very broad and the topics covered serve as a good
introduction to a number of different careers or areas of study at third level.

Possible Career links:

Construction, Electronics, Engineering, Computing, Design, Manufacturing.

Note: If choosing this subject is an advantage, but not essential, to have studied Junior Cert
Technology, Metalwork or Materials Technology Wood.


Guidelines on how to use Careers Portal to study in detail your
children’s subjects’ options for the Leaving Certificate 2021
Log on to:

Click on the School icon:

Click on the Junior Cycle box:


Click on Guide to Leaving Cert Subjects:

You have now reached the page titled ‘Guide to Leaving Cert Subject Choices.’

Click on All Leaving Cert Subjects


This will provide you with a link option to review every subject in detail. It will also provide
information pertaining to the subject’s importance in relation to third level colleges and future
career paths.

Click on the subject you want information on e.g. Gaeilge- Irish

Click on the tabs on the left-hand side for information which you will find on
these pages:


                                Useful Websites
           Topic                    Web Address                    Description

Subject Content                       Gives outline of all Leaving
                                                           Certificate Subjects

Matriculation Regulations              Minimum academic entry

Career Planning           Provides descriptors on a
                                                           range of careers with
                                                           information on progression

Course Searching                  Provides an A to Z of
                                                           courses in Ireland

Course Search and Career       Resources, video clips and
Paths                                                      lots of information
                                                           pertaining to careers and

Progression Routes                   Resources for advising on
                                                           progression form level 5

Grants                      Information on grants and

HEAR and DARE Scheme         Access schemes to improve
                                                           access to third level
                                                           education for students from
                                                           disadvantaged backgrounds
                                                           or for students with

CAO                                    The Central Applications
                                                           Office (CAO) processes
                                                           applications for
                                                           undergraduate courses in
                                                           Irish Higher Education

UCAS                               The college application
                                                           system for the UK


Grades and Common Points Scale for Leaving Certificate 2021

Bonus Points for Maths

25 Bonus points will be added to the points score for Leaving Certificate Higher Level Maths.

      Students achieving a grade H6 or higher will have 25 Bonus Points added to their total score
       for Honours Maths - the grade itself does not change.
      No bonus points are given for H7 in Honours Maths, or for any Ordinary Level Maths grade.

NOTE: The 25 Bonus points for Honours Maths are not counted unless Maths (following the addition
of the bonus points) is included in the top six subjects counted for the purpose of calculating CAO



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