Case Study – Repeating the Leaving Cert

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Olivia Dempsey

3rd Level Student

My main reason for repeating the Leaving Cert was that I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to avoid attending university in the UK or northern Ireland, as I had only put choices down on my CAO application which were above the amount of points which I achieved in August. I didn’t take the CAO half seriously enough and didn’t consider the fact that I wasn’t doing near enough work for the exams. The reality only hit home in August 05.

I didn’t repeat in the same school which I had attended for 6 years previously, I repeated in the Institute of Education on Lesson St. The two main reasons for this were that the Institute is a cramming college which is famous for both good results and for repeat leaving cert students. The other main reason was that the institute is more relaxed then a proper school and I would only have to do the minimum required 6 subjects.

I found it rather difficult when all my friends moved on to college especially regarding nights out and general time off which they now had and I still didn’t. But once I settled in it became a bit easier to adapt. I moved out of home into the centre of Dublin which helped. My family were incredibly supportive and my parents did all they could in order to make things easier. At the beginning I found it difficult to be strict with study as I couldn’t accept that I was doing it all again but once that realisation kicked in so did my motivation and I became more rigorous with my study timetable!

I personally don’t find the points system fair, I think continuous assessment and marks given for project research material would be better. The points system really only benefits those who have a good memory. I got my first choice after I repeated so I would advise anyone to repeat if they really wanted to and were prepared to make a huge effort. The biggest benefit of taking the year was that I got my desired course which I love and there’s no doubt in my mind that it was worth it.

I really matured during my year out and learned to deal with the consequences of my actions!The main disadvantage was that all my school friends went on and it was difficult to be left behind. I really had to motivate myself to work, especially with some of the courses which had changed. Any advice? Think about seriously before you commit yourself, and make sure it’s something you really want to do also go into it with a positive, I can do it attitude


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