So, you failed the Leaving Cert?
Okay, failed is probably being super dramatic. It may just be the case that you didn’t get the grades that you need for your course? And that is a truly awful feeling.
Firstly, don’t start panicking too much. The CAO offers aren’t out until Thursday. You could be lucky and still get the course that you wanted. BUT, it doesn’t hurt to start mentally preparing yourself about what you’re going to do if it doesn’t come up smelling of roses on Thursday. So, maybe start looking into some of your options now.
Repeat 6th Year
Arguably the worst option is up first because let’s be honest, who actually wants to go back and repeat 6th year again? Repeating is a very personal choice. It can be the right fit for some people. It’s best to book an appointment with your school guidance counsellor to talk about everything. If you know that you need to put in a significant amount of work to up your points drastically next year, returning to full-time school might be the best option for you. It can feel like an awful thing to do, but once you get the first few days of school over with and get to know your new classmates, it will be fine. Very few people who actually put in the work regret repeating 6th year. Failing the Leaving Cert is often the “kick” that some people need to get their priorities and focus in order.
Get Your Exams Rechecked
There is an option to view your exams to see how they were marked and if you think they were incorrectly done or that you genuinely deserved a higher grade you can have them re-checked. It’s best to ask a teacher to view them with you as they can give you a proper opinion on whether you should get them re-checked or not. There is a fee involved per exam, but it will be refunded if your grade goes up. Missy Editor, Dani, got her History re-checked back in the day and she did receive a higher grade. While this is a worthwhile option, especially when you deserve the proper credit for all the work that you put in, its best to always have a back-up incase your points don’t go up or it’s too late to get your college course.
Sometimes physiologically or financially its just not possible for people to return to full-on 6th year. Independent study requires serious discipline and commitment for the whole school year. Not that you just whip out the books to start studying in May. You might be able to juggle a part-time job along with study, but be careful with what you can handle.
Repeat The Leaving Cert In A Specialised Program
If the idea of going back to your old school to repeat just isn’t an option look into repeating the Leaving Cert in other institutions. Places like Plunket College of Further Education in Dublin offer a year-long Leaving Cert course in a more relaxed environment. Yeats College Waterford is also another option. Check out and see what options are available locally.
We could probably write a whole article on PLC courses, but for now here are the basics…
If you have your heart set on a particular college course or career check and see if a PLC course enables you to access the course through a “progression route”. Not all PLC courses have this option, so do your research. Have a meeting with the course coordinators and make sure that the course will enable you to still access the course that you need (seriously, double and triple-check this because you don’t want to waste your time and money). A PLC course will not give you “extra” points. Instead ‘new’ points will be calculated on the basis of your results from the PLC / FETAC course.
To be awarded a FETAC Level 5 certificate you must pass 8 modules. For each of the modules you complete you are awarded a Distinction, Merit, Pass or Undefined (Fail).
Points wise this translates as:
Distinction – 50
Merit – 35
Pass – 20
Your best 8 modules are used to calculate your CAO points total. So, the best you can get is 8 Distinctions giving you 400 points. Note: PLC points and LC points are not added together, they are two separate qualifications.
If you are considering a specific college look up the course on and see what it says under FETAC qualifications. If it lists a specific FETAC course then that is all they will accept, if it doesn’t then they will accept any PLC. There are actually a number of places on courses (mainly in ITs) reserved for PLC students in the CAO system. However, if your points are high enough you may just get it through the conventional manner as your points will match up to similar LC applicants. You can do a PLC in a wide variety of areas and often it can lay a great foundation for college courses. The student grant is available for students who do PLCs. It will not affect you getting the grant at third level if you continue on after completing your PLC.
Look, we always tell it like it is on missy.ie; failing the Leaving Cert, or not getting the points you need, SUCKS, but it’s not the end of the world.
Yes, it is as failure and you will need to acknowledge that, mope and move on from it. Don’t allow this set-back to move you away from your ultimate career goal. We can be our own worst enemies in these situations. The L.C is hard, everyone knows that. There’s no shame in failing, as long as you learn a hard lesson from it. So, chin up.