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State Exams

Record number of Leaving Cert students to sit exams today - starting with English Paper 1

The exams will take place in 817 venues across the country.

62,700 CANDIDATES ARE set to begin their Leaving Cert exams this morning, according to figures released by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).

The exams run from Wednesday, June 5, to Tuesday, June 25. English Paper 1 is the first exam on the on the timetable, taking place from 9:30am to 12:20pm – with Paper 2 to follow tomorrow afternoon. 

The Junior Cert exams also begin today, meaning a total of 136,160 candidates are undertaking state exams, a 1% increase on the 134,800 from last year.

The exams will take place in 817 venues across the country, including post-primary schools and other locations recognised by the SEC.

For the third year in a row, there will be a record number of students sitting the exams.

In April, Minister for Education Norma Foley confirmed that this year’s Leaving Cert students’ grades will remain at the same level as last year. The gradual return to normal Leaving Cert outcomes will begin next year, in 2025.

As with 2022 and 2023, the SEC will apply a post-marking adjustment after the marking of the Leaving Cert exams is completed to ensure grades are at the appropriate levels.

Grade adjustment measures were introduced to combat the effects of the disruption of Covid-19. Foley said previously that grade inflation increased by 7% compared to 2019 as a result of the adjustment measures.

By 2025, this inflation rate is due to be reduced by 1.5% as part of the gradual process.

Foley said that it was right to maintain overall results at their current level, given the “disruption to teaching and learning for students”, though she said it was also widely recognised that results should return to pre-pandemic levels.

Wishing this year’s cohort the best of luck, Foley noted that the majority of Leaving Cert students this year had not taken a state exam previously, given the disruption of Covid-19.

Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday August 23.


While the Leaving Cert exams officially span from today until June 25, many students are set to finish slightly earlier. 

The final day of exams features Japanese, Politics and Society, Arabic, Religious Education, and Applied Maths.

Maths Paper 1 takes place on Friday, from 2pm to 4:30pm. Paper 2 is the following Monday morning, from 9:30am to 12pm.

Irish Paper 1 is after the break on Monday, and Paper 2 takes place the next morning, June 11, at 9:30am.

Leaving cert exam timetable_page-0001 Leaving Cert exam timetable. SEC SEC

Leaving Cert Weather

The weather today is forecast to reach a high of 14 degrees – a far cry from the usual heat that the exam season beckons.

By next Thursday, however, when students are undertaking business and art exams, highs of 23 degrees are forecast for Dublin, while the west coast is expected to reach up to 21 degrees. 

The Journal’s FactCheck Unit determined in 2018 that the so-called Irish “exam weather” phenomenon was “partly true”.

Well Wishes

Yesterday afternoon, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) issued a statement to wish the best of luck to students undertaking state exams.

TUI represents 20,500 teachers and lecturers in second level, further education, and third level. 

“Those sitting this year’s Leaving Certificate should take comfort in the fact that there has never been a wider range of alternative routes to pursue their career of choice,” TUI President David Waters said. 

They will have worked hard and will inevitably find that they are better prepared than they might think.
As much as possible, they should try to maintain a balanced lifestyle over the course of the exams, making sure to eat and sleep properly and take regular breaks.

He further added that the class of 2024 have already displayed “resilience” in making their way through restrictions imposed due to Covid-19.

“The support of parents and guardians should be remembered today, along with the dedication of teachers in supporting their students.”


On July 1, the change of mind window available on the Central Applications Office (CAO) closes. Here, students can change the courses they have listed on their CAO, or change their order of preference.

Students will not be able to change the courses they are applying for after this date – which is why it is important to ensure that the courses listed on their CAO application are listed in order of preference.

It is important to note – if a student receives an offer for their first choice and turns it down, they cannot receive another offer.

It is also recommended that students fill in as many places on the list of the ten available to improve their chances – and to apply for level 6 and 7 courses.

Round one offers will be issued on August 28 at 2pm.

Advice to Leaving Cert students

CareersPortal, the career guidance website, has advice for a successful Leaving Cert here.

Among its tips, it says that the key is to familiarise yourself with the exam papers, get to know the exam timetable, ensure you have the necessary equipment, and prioritise time management and exam strategy.

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