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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 21 February, 2019
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Fewer students to sit this year's Leaving Cert

Over 50,000 students, 13 days, 3.1 million exam papers, 105 subjects. Shudder.

Students at Belvedere College in Dublin sit the second day of the leaving cert exams last year.
Students at Belvedere College in Dublin sit the second day of the leaving cert exams last year.
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

AS WE ALL head into another Bank Holiday weekend, there’s a group of more than 50,000 people who probably won’t have the most relaxing four days.

Next Wednesday, after a two-year preparation period, a total of 53,789 students are due to begin the Leaving Certificate.

However, the number of students who are sitting the ultimate State exam has fallen by more than 1,750 this year. It is the lowest number since 2009 and there is also usually a fall off from the number of students registered and those who actually sit the exams.

Last year, 54,344 took the Leaving Cert and 3,195 sat the Leaving Cert Applied programme (LCA). This year, 3,301 student are registered for the LCA.

In 2011, it cost €64.8 million to run the exams with the bulk of that going to almost 5,000 superintendents, over 6,600 examiners and 664 drafters and setters.

A total of 3.1 million exam papers were distributed across 105 subjects. Included in the subject-list are 15 non-curricular languages which will be examined over the next month.

A total of 739 students will take a Polish exam, the largest number for any language. Almost 300 will sit Lithuanian papers, while another 120 will take Romanian. Just over 100 teens will sit the Latvian exam.

The next largest category is Portugeuese with 74 examinees. Seventeen students will take ancient Greek, while 11 will sit Swedish.

Yesterday, TheJournal.ie reported an increase in the number of students taking higher-level mathematics as extra CAO bonus points are awarded for the subject. There is an equal split between girls and boys taking the honours paper but there is a large gender gap when it comes to Applied Maths. Just 399 girls are registered for the exam, compared to 1,223 boys.

A similar gender gap is also noticeable for subjects such as agricultural science, construction studies, design and communication, economics, engineering and physics. On the other side, significantly more girls are due to sit art, home economics, biology and french.

Considered a core subject, Irish will be taken at higher-level by less than half of students sitting the exam. Foundation level will be the paper for almost 3,500 students.

Excluding Irish and Maths, all other subjects see more people take the higher-level paper than the ordinary level.

Not forgetting the Third Years, there are 59,684  teens taking their first ever State Exams on Wednesday. Twenty-six subjects will be examined, including the less popular Italian, Latin and Typewriting.

More: Bonus points luring students back to Higher Level Maths>

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