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Here's how students got on in the Leaving Cert

Pretty well. Fair play.

Image: Mark Stedman/RollingNews.ie

THE PERCENTAGE OF students receiving top marks in higher level Irish and Maths in the Leaving Cert has risen this year.

However, the proportion of those getting A1s in English fell slightly.

Statistics released by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) ahead of today’s release of the results show that 6.4% of those who sat the higher Irish achieved full points, compared with 5.4% last year. That is despite an extra 1,300 students opting to sit the higher paper.

In Maths, 5.1% of students got A1s, up a full percentage point on 2014, with the number taking the test roughly the same.

In English, with an extra 1,000 students sitting the paper, the A1s slipped from 3.4% to 3.2%.

The SEC says that results this year are “broadly in line” with last year across the board.

The Holy Trinity: English, Irish, Maths 

In the three core subjects, the largest portion of candidates received grades between B1 and C3, while the percentages of those failing remains low.


There were more As, but the trend was for Bs and Cs as the graph shows.

Irish Chart

  • 19,460 sat higher level, 23,562 sat ordinary and 3,543 sat foundation level
  • Just 0.4% of those at ordinary got A1s. 2.5% at foundation did
  • B3 was the most common grade at higher (14.4%) and foundation (14.4%) but C1 was most common at ordinary (15.7%).
  • Just 0.6% of higher students failed, along with 3.6% of ordinary students and 4.1% of foundation level students


Very few people failed, but very few got maximum grades as the graph shows.

English Chart

  • 35,122 sat higher level and 17,154 sat ordinary level
  • 3.4% got A1s in higher level, 2.1% in ordinary
  • At ordinary, B3 was the most common result, shared by 15.6% and at higher it was a C2, which 14.4% got
  • 1.3% of people failed higher level and 3.5% failed ordinary level


In Maths, C1s were popular as this graph shows.


  • 14,326 sat higher level, 32,428 sat ordinary and 5,628 sat foundation level
  • 4.1%, 2% and 1.6% were the respective A1 levels at higher, ordinary and foundation levels
  • C1 was the most popular grade, shared by 11..5% of higher, 10.8% of ordinary and 14.4% of foundation level students
  • 4.2%, 7.6% and 5.6% were the respective failure rates

Not classic results

Leaving Cert Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Nobody who sat ordinary level in Classical Studies, Italian, Physics & Chemistry, Construction Studies, and Japanese received an A1, while just 1.1% of people  who sat higher Art got full marks.

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Ordinary Japanese had the highest failure rate, 17.7%, while ordinary Classical Studies, Religious Education, Arabic and Agricultural Science completed the top five. Ordinary level Physics & Chemistry had the highest rate of No Grades (between 0%-9%), with 8.7% of people failing to register on the exam.

Languages and A1s

Away from the three core subjects, the subject with the highest rate of A1′s is higher Russian. Over 70% of the 272 students who took it at higher level got an A1.

That was followed by Latin, which saw 30.9% of its 110 students get an A1, ordinary and higher Applied Maths (23.2% and 16.1%, respectively) and higher Italian (13.5%).

94 students sat higher Arabic, with 5.3% getting A1s and 2.2% failing.

A number of students sat non-curricular European languages, with Polish and Lithuanian leading the way.


What you should do next

While many say it isn’t that important, thousands of students will be today contemplating the sheer importance of the exams. Of course, their points will be used to decide what college courses they are accepted into.

The SEC says that candidates are “strongly advised to consult the Leaving Certificate Candidate Information Booklet that they have received earlier this year” when deciding on their next course of action. Candidates should adhere to the instructions provided in order to ensure that they lodge valid requests for viewing marked scripts and appealing results.

Read: Leaving Cert results don’t define your future

Read: ‘I had to run and jump for one of those embarrassing photos’: Memories of Leaving Cert results day

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