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Leaving Cert results: Girls continue to outperform boys in getting top marks

A gender breakdown of Wednesday’s results has been released.

9051 Leaving Cert_90546580 Students in Loreto College, Dublin during June's exams. Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

GIRLS OUTPERFORMED BOYS in achieving top marks across almost all the major Leaving Cert subjects, with boys tending to perform better in some numerical based subjects.

The State Examinations Commission has released a gender breakdown of the 35 subjects tested this year and the results show that girls were more likely to get a H1 Grade in 26 of those subjects.

A H1 grade is awarded when a student achieves over 90% in a Higher Level exam and girls have been achieving more of them on a frequent basis.

Among the top six most popular Higher Level subjects taken by students this year, girls received more H1 grade in five of the subjects, with boys only taking the lead in Maths.

Percentage H1 marks


  • Girls 3.1%
  • Boys 2.5%


  • Girls 12.1%
  • Boys 10%


  • Girls 5.5%
  • Boys 3.7%


  • Girls 4.0%
  • Boys 2.7%


  • Girls 3.0%
  • Boys 7.4%


  • Girls 6.2%
  • Boys 4.9%

As well as performing better in Higher Level Maths, boys were also more likely to get a H1 in Applied Maths, a subject that had a relatively high rate of H1s for both boys (16.8%) and girls (10.3%).

20180816_Leaving_Cert_Double Source: Statista

As well as French, girls were more likely to take top marks in the two other most popular language subjects, German and Spanish.

Boys outperformed girls in Italian and Japanese but in the majority of other minor language subjects girls came out on top, these included: Russian, Arabic, Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian and Croatian.

In the science-based subjects, the results were similar

Percentage H1 marks


  • Girls 11.0%
  • Boys 10.7%


  • Girls 9.8%
  • Boys 12.9%

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  • Girls 12.1%
  • Boys 10%

Agricultural Science

  • Girls 6.2%
  • Boys 3.3%

20180816_Leaving_Cert_Double2 Source: Statista

In the three main business-based subjects, girls outperformed boys in two of the subjects.

Percentage H1 marks


  • Girls 8.3%
  • Boys 9.2%

Business Studies

  • Girls 4.6%
  • Boys 3.3%

See the full results broken down by gender:

Higher Level

Ordinary Level

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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