Junior Certificate

Introduction

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 Back to Education scheme or a similar scheme, may also sit the exams. You can get more information about continuing education.

Changes to the Junior Cycle

The Junior Certificate will be replaced with the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) on a phased basis. There is a classroom-based component to the assessment which is based on work completed by the student during second and third year.

Students in second year sit standardised tests in Maths and English reading (or Irish reading in Irish-medium schools). Standardised testing in Science is also 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 child’s learning progress. More information about the changes to the Junior Cycle is available on the Department of Education’s website.

Junior Cycle exams 2022

The Junior Cycle written examinations will run from Wednesday, 8 June 2022 to Monday, 20 June 2022. The timetable for the Junior Cycle 2022 (pdf) and assessment arrangements for the Junior Cycle 2022 (pdf) are available.

Technology subjects, Jewish Studies, Classics and Religious Education will be examined for the first time in 2022

Rules

Junior Certificate subjects

There is a wide range of subjects available, but all subjects are not offered in every school. The Department of Education publishes syllabus and curriculum information. The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment provides a list of Junior Cycle subjects.

All students must follow courses in Irish (except where exemptions apply), English and Mathematics. Students are also required to study History. 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.

Subjects are normally studied at either ordinary or higher level, although Irish and mathematics can also be studied at foundation level. However, under the Junior Cycle, English, Irish and Maths are studied at either ordinary or higher level and all new subject specifications are at common level. The classroom based assessments in second and third year are also set at a common level.

Examination grades

Percentage range Grade
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

New grading system

For information on the new grading system for the Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) see our document on the Junior Cycle.

Both the current and new grading systems will appear on your Junior Certificate until 2021 when the last Junior Certificate subjects are expected to be examined.

Assessment and examinations

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.

You can find the timetables for the Junior Certificate written examinations and for the practical course work as well as the Junior Certificate examination papers on the website of the State Examinations Commission.

The Junior Certificate School Programme

The Junior Certificate School Programme (JCSP) has been designed to help young people who are at risk of leaving school early and who would benefit from special support when they are working towards the Junior Certificate.

Schools that offer the programme are given extra resources in order to facilitate teachers to develop a team approach to supporting the students.

Students taking the Junior Certificate examination study the normal Junior Certificate syllabus. All students participating in the Junior Certificate School Programme must be entered for the Junior Certificate examination. All JCSP students are entitled to a profile - this is an individualised record of their achievement. This profile is in addition to the Junior Certificate.

A review of the Junior Certificate School Programme is currently underway.

Rates

There is no exam fee for the Junior Certificate 2022.

How to apply

The State Examinations Commission manages and administers the Junior Certificate or Junior Cycle Profile of Achievement (JCPA) Examinations.

Appealing your results: If you wish to appeal your Junior Certificate examination results, you should apply through your school.

To request a certified statement of examination results you can either apply in writing or download and complete the application form. Your application should include the following personal details:

  • Full name
  • Name at the time of the examination (if different)
  • Current address
  • Daytime phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Year of examination
  • Name and address of school attended
  • Examination number (if known)

Forward your completed application form together with the appropriate fee to the State Examinations Commission.

Where to apply

State Examinations Commission

Cornamaddy
Athlone
Westmeath
Ireland

Tel: (090) 644 2700
Fax: (090) 644 2744
Page edited: 9 February 2022