Leaving Certificate


Most Senior Cycle students choose the established Leaving Certificate programme. This 2-year programme covers a wide range of subjects.

Subjects are normally studied at either Ordinary or Higher Level. Irish and Mathematics can be studied at Foundation Level. Foundation Level is geared to the needs of students who might have difficulty with subjects at Ordinary or Higher Level.

Leaving Certificate 2023

The Department of Education has published the assessment arrangements for Leaving Certificate 2023.

Oral examinations in Irish and Modern Foreign Languages were held over the Easter holidays from Saturday, 1 April 2023, to Thursday, 6 April 2023.

The Music Practical Performance test was held before the Easter holidays between Monday, 20 March 2023, and Friday, 31 March 2023.

The Leaving Certificate 2023 written exam will start on Wednesday, 7 June 2023 and finish on Tuesday, 27 June 2023. The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has published the Leaving Certificate 2023 timetable (pdf).

You can watch tips from SEC on how to complete your exam paper.

Deferred Leaving Certificate 2023 exams

Deferred Leaving Certificate exams will run from Thursday, 29 June 2023 until Saturday, 15 July 2023.

You can apply to sit the deferred Leaving Cert if you are affected by:

  • Family bereavement, or
  • Serious medical condition – accident, injury or illness

Students who have an extreme medical emergency during the exam can also apply.

Applying for a deferral

Your school must apply to the SEC on the day of the first missed exam and must submit evidence to the SEC within 5 working days of your application.

The SEC will decide if you meet the criteria for a deferral.

You can read more about the eligibility criteria, medical conditions and evidence required for the deferred sitting of the Leaving Certificate (pdf).

If you are not happy with the SEC decision, you can appeal within 4 working days of the decision.

Leaving Certificate 2023 results

The Leaving Certificate 2023 results will be issued on Friday, 25 August 2023.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) will apply the same level of adjustments as made in 2022. It will issue schools with details of adjusted assessments arrangements.

Leaving Certificate subjects and assessment

The Department of Education publishes syllabus and curriculum information. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment provides a list of Leaving Certificate subjects.

Senior Cycle and Leaving Certificate reform

The Department of Education has announced plans to reform the Senior Cycle and Leaving Certificate. It has set up the Senior Cycle Redevelopment Programme Delivery Board to oversee this work. A selection of schools will be invited to become pilot schools. You can read about changes to the Senior Cycle.

Marking system for examination grades

The examination scale has 8 grades, the highest grade is Grade 1 and the lowest grade is Grade 8.

The 8-point grading scale replaced the 14-point scale at both Higher and Ordinary levels in 2017.

Marks between 100% and 30% are divided into seven grade bands (1-7). Each band is 10% wide.

The scheme means that the Common Points Scale used by the CAO to determine entry into higher education institutions, was also revised in 2017. You can read more on transition.ie.

Grading scale for Leaving Certificate from 2017
New grades* % Marks
H1/O1 90 - 100
H2/O2 80 < 90
H3/O3 70 < 80
H4/O4 60 < 70
H5/O5 50 < 60
H6/O6 40 < 50
H7/O7 30 <40
H8/O8 0 < 30

*Grades at Higher level are prefixed with H. Grades at Ordinary level are prefixed with O.

Marking system (2015/16)

Percentage Range Grade
90% or over A1
85% but less than 90% A2
80% but less than 85% B1
75% but less than 80% B2
70% but less than 75% B3
65% but less than 70% C1
60% but less than 65% C2
55% but less than 60% C3
50% but less than 55% D1
45% but less than 50% D2
40% but less than 45% D3
25% but less than 40% E
10% but less than 25% F
Less than 10% No grade

Leaving Certificate exam fee

There will be no exam fee in 2023.

Getting a copy of your old Leaving Certificate results

You may be asked for evidence that you have completed State examinations when you apply for a job or for further education. It is always useful to have a copy of your results as well as the original Certificate, especially if you plan to work or study outside Ireland.

The State Examinations Commission can give you a certified statement of your results.

Further information

State Examinations Commission


Tel: (090) 644 2700
Fax: (090) 644 2744
Page edited: 29 May 2023