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A Guide To Choosing Leaving Cert Subjects

A Guide To Choosing Leaving Cert Subjects

Alice O'Donnell

So, you’ve survived the Junior Cert, maybe even had some craic during TY. But now fifth year is fast approaching. And that means it’ll soon be time to think about choosing which Leaving Cert subjects you’ll study. Gulp! 

Although picking which subjects to take may seem pretty daunting, especially if you don’t know what you want to do after the LC, there are some steps you can take which makes the choice a little bit easier.


Although it may be tempting just to get it out the way and fill out those forms, you could be left kicking yourself in the future if you don’t do some research beforehand. For example, make sure you know what your school’s policy is. Do they push for their students to take six, seven or even eight subjects? Which subjects do they offer?

Despite the odd teacher channelling their inner Snape, most teachers simply want you to achieve the best results you can and will be more than happy to help with any questions you have. Are you worried Business may be a bit too maths-focused for you, or maybe that you like the creative side of Art but aren’t too comfortable with the essay sections of the subject? Email the teachers and tell them your concerns. Or maybe you know an older student who you can ask.

Either way, there’s nothing worse than committing to study a subject for two years, only to find out it’s nothing like you expected. 


Although the Leaving Cert may seem like the biggest thing ever, trust us, it’s not. It’s handy to think of it simply as a gateway to the career you want. Even if you have no idea what you want to do, it’s a good idea to go through some broad courses to see if there are requirements to keep in mind. For example, nearly all medicine courses require two science related subjects, with the grades needed dependent on the individual universities. On the other hand, most Bachelor of Arts courses require a pass in a foreign language.

It may seem way too daunting to sift through all the requirements of various courses so make sure you visit your school’s guidance counsellor.  They’re more than willing to help and might even have some special intel direct from the colleges.

Play to your strengths

Unfairly, it’s not enthusiasm but points which’ll get you a place on your dream course. Think back to your Junior Cert – what grades were your highest? If you’re a whiz at sums, maybe Applied Maths would suit you. Or if you’re great at remembering individual facts, Geography or History could benefit your talents.

If all else fails and you still have no idea which subjects to go for, choose the ones you like. If you think about all the hours you’ll be spending on a subject, it’ll be way better if you enjoy what you’re learning about. And in most cases, you’re good at what you like.

Be Independent

One of the most important things about choosing your subjects is to make sure it’s all your own preference. While we’re not suggesting completely ignoring your parents or anything, it’s important to remember that it’s not your mum or dad who will be sitting the LC in two years’ time. At the end of the day, which subjects you take should be completely your own choice, not that of a well-meaning parent or guardian.

Similarly, don’t choose a subject just because all your friends are doing it. No matter how daunting it may seem to have to take a class without your bestie, it will be worse to have to sit through classes which you have no interest in. Plus, you may even get to make new friends.

See Also

Don’t Worry

The most important thing to take away from this is not to stress. There are tons of people and websites that can help you. lists all the courses, their points and their subject requirements in an easy-to-read format, whereas offers information on career advice and gives you general Leaving Cert subject choices.

Worst case scenario, you pick the wrong subject? Most schools (unless very strict) have a policy where up to Christmas of fifth year you can switch to another class.

Just keep calm and don’t stress. You got this.

Head over to our school section for more advice.

Have you any tips or words of wisdom for choosing Leaving Cert Subjects?

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