The Junior Certificate examination is held at the end of the Junior Cycle in post-primary schools. The Junior Cycle caters for students aged from 12 to 15 years and students normally sit the exam at the age of 14 or 15, after 3 years of post-primary education. However, the Junior Certificate is not limited to post-primary school students.
A candidate following an approved course of study outside the State or who is attending an approved course of study organised under the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, adult literacy and community education schemes, the Department of Social Protection's Back to Education scheme for the unemployed or a similar scheme, may also sit the exams. There is information about continuing education schemes elsewhere on this website.
Changes to the Junior Cycle
The Junior Certificate will be replaced with a school-based model of assessment called the Junior Cycle Student Award (JCSA). English will be the first subject of the school-based model of assessment introduced to first year students in 2014. Other subjects will be introduced on a phased basis between 2014 and 2018.
There will be a school-work component to the assessment which will be based on work completed by the student during second and third year. This will be marked by the teacher in the school. Generally, it will be worth 40% of the marks awarded to the student. The final assessment component will be a single written paper or assignment and will represent 60% of the marks.
English, Irish and Mathematics will be examined at higher and ordinary level, while all other subjects will be assessed at common level.
Also, from 2014, students in second year will sit standardised tests in Maths and English reading or Irish reading in Irish-medium schools. From 2016, standardised testing in Science will also be included. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment is developing a new report card for parents which will give them much more information about their son or daughter’s learning progress. More information about the changes to the Junior Cycle is available on the Department of Education’s website.
There is a wide range of subjects available, but all subjects are not offered in every school. The Department of Education and Skills publishes syllabus and curriculum information. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment provides a list of Junior Certificate subjects.
All students must follow courses in Irish (except where exemptions apply), English, Mathematics and Civic, Social and Political Education. There may be other compulsory subjects, depending on the type of school. Examinations in a number of other EU languages are offered to students who meet certain criteria.
The Junior Certificate is assessed by means of a written examination at the end of the three-year programme, along with practical examinations and project work in some subjects and oral and aural examinations in Irish and continental languages.
The practical and oral examinations take place during the third year of the programme. The written examination takes place in June.
|85 or over||A|
|70 but less than 85||B|
|55 but less than 70||C|
|40 but less than 55||D|
|25 but less than 40||E|
|10 but less than 25||F|
|Less than 10||No Grade|
You can find the timetables for the Junior Certificate written examinations (pdf) and for the practical course work (pdf) as well as the Junior Certificate examination papers on the website of the State Examinations Commission.
Students sitting for the Junior Certificate must pay an examination fee. In early February of the exam year, the school sends parents who are paying the examination fee a form. The parent makes the payment through a bank and the bank must stamp the form. The parent then returns the form to the school.
Students whose parent or guardian holds a current medical card do not have to pay the fee. In the case of parents who have a current medical card, details of the medical card are put on the form and the parent then sends the form back to the school.
The examination fee for the Junior Certificate in 2015 is €109.
The examination fee for VTOS (Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme) and similar students is as follows:
The State Examinations Commission manages and adminsters the State Certificate Examinations including the:
Appealing your results: If you wish to appeal your examination results, you should apply through your school. The appeal fee is €32 per subject which is refunded if your result is upgraded.
To request a certified statement of examination results you can either apply in writing or download and complete the application form. Your application should specify the following personal details:
Forward your completed application form together with the appropriate fee of €14.50 to the State Examinations Commission.
Tel:(090) 644 2700
Fax:(090) 644 2744
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.