5th Year Subject Options Guidance Counsellor Mary Finan Contents

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5th Year Subject Options

  • Guidance Counsellor
  • Mary Finan


  • Broad Overview
  • Entry requirements
  • Subjects Available
  • Choosing Subjects

Leaving Certificate Programme

  • Leaving Certificate is a 2 year programme.
    • Full time commitment required over 2 years.
    • 5th year is very important especially for those hoping to gain entry to high points courses.
    • Usually a maximum of 7 subjects are taken for the Leaving Certificate.
    • An extra (8th) subject? – need to think very carefully about this as each LC subject is extensive and requires a lot of work. Big jump in standard from Junior Cert.
    • Other subjects could suffer if workload is too great.
    • For points purposes best 6 subjects are counted.
    • Almost all subjects are of equal importance.
    • Extra points are awarded in all courses in the University from for Honours maths

Points System

  • Old Grade
  • Percentage Old
  • Percentage New
  • New Grade
  • Points Value
  • A1
  • 90-100
  • 90-100
  • H1 / O1
  • 100 /56
  • A2
  • 85-90
  • 80-90
  • H2 / O2
  • 88 / 46
  • B1
  • 80-85
  • B2
  • 75-80
  • 70-80
  • H3 / O3
  • 77 / 37
  • B3
  • 70-75
  • C1
  • 65-70
  • 60-70
  • H4 / O4
  • 66 / 28
  • C2
  • 60-65
  • C3
  • 55-60
  • 50-60
  • H5 / O5
  • 56 / 20
  • D1
  • 50-55
  • D2
  • 45-50
  • 40-50
  • H6 / O6
  • 46 / 12
  • D3
  • 40-45
  • E
  • 25-40
  • 30-40
  • 0-30
  • H7 / O7
  • H8 / O8
  • 37 / 0
  • F
  • 10-25
  • NG
  • 0-10
  • 0 / 0

College Course

  • College course are offered at 3 Levels:
  • Level 6 Higher Certificate – 2 years
  • Level 7 Ordinary Degree – 3 years
  • Level 8 Higher Degree – 4 years

There are three hurdles to college entry

  • Matriculation Requirement = Basic Entry Requirement
  • Subject Requirement
  • Points

1. Matriculation Requirement

  • Matriculation refers to the minimum requirements for entry to the University. Before you can be considered for admission you must meet these minimum standards. Matriculation has nothing to do with points

National University of Ireland NUI

  • National University of Ireland NUI
  • NUI Colleges (UCC, UCD, UCG, NUIM, RCSI, NCAD)
  • O6 -> Irish, English & Modern Language.
  • 2xH5 + 4xO6
  • Maths is essential for a number of courses
  • Important: A Modern Language is essential to gain entry to a number of courses in the NUI universities with the exception of Science, Agriculture, Nursing and Engineering courses. A modern language or Art is required for entry to all courses in NCAD
  • Trinity College Dublin (TCD)
  • O6 -> English, Maths & Another Language (can be Irish)
  • 3xH5 + 3xO6

University of Limerick

  • University of Limerick
  • O6 -> English, Maths & Irish OR Another Language
  • 2xH5 + 4xO6
  • Dublin City University
  • O6 -> Maths & English OR Irish
  • 2xH5 + 4xO6
  • O6 -> Maths & English OR Irish
  • 2xH5 + 4xO6 (Honours Degree - Level 8 courses)
  • 5xO6 (Ordinary Degree/Higher Certificate - Level 7/6 courses

Subject Choice Support

  • Careers classes on Subject Choice
  • Individual appointments with Guidance Counsellor
  • Multiple Intelligences Tests & Interest Assessment- to see what types of careers may suit your interests.
  • Leaving Cert text books and college prospectuses to research

5th Year Subjects

  • English
  • Irish
  • Mathematics
  • French or German or Spanish
  • Are the CORE SUBJECTS which all students must study
  • 3 additional choice subjects
  • Religion, PE, SPHE, Choral work and career classes
  • Students also have the option to study LCVP

Subject Options for Leaving Cert 2018

  • Art
  • Music
  • Home Economics
  • History
  • Geography
  • Business
  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Agricultural Science
  • Technology
  • Japanese
  • LCVP
  • Students are being asked to pick subject choice of subject bands. One from each line.

Core Subjects

  • Offered at both higher and ordinary level
  • Big step up from Junior Cert Standard
  • Recommendation is that a students who achieved a B grade in Junior Cert higher level is a suitable candidate for Leaving Cert higher level.
  • Course contents for each core subject is different at higher and ordinary level.
  • Time and effort are determining factors for sticking with higher level.

Courses and Core subjects

  • Irish: Higher level H5 for primary school teaching
  • English: Higher level H5 or H3 is required for some Journalism courses
  • Maths: Higher level H5 is required for some Engineering course, Financial Maths, Physics and some Computer Science Courses.
  • Language: Higher level H5 is required in courses which involve this language at third level e.g. International Languages or Business and a Language

Optional Subjects

Businessand Accountancy

  • Not essential (but recommended) for business at third level
  • Accountancy Course covers preparation, recording, presentation and analysis of financial information (figures). Honours maths is not essential. Students wishing to study accountancy at third level must obtain a H5 or above from some courses.
  • Business Information on role of enterprise and develop critical understanding of the overall environment in which a business functions (facts).

Home Economics

  • Resource management and consumer studies, food and social studies
  • All of the above are in part one of the course (80%)
  • A choice of social skills, textile design or home design (20%)
  • Written and practical examination
  • Students complete a journal of work, during 5th year. It is the practical component of the Home Ec.


  • Art History and appreciation (38%)
  • Practical Art includes: (62%). Students complete a life drawing exam and will also develop a 10 week project based on a set theme. This is done in 6th year and will replace the traditional practical exam.
  • Essential for some photography, craft, media, architecture and design courses. (fine art etc)
  • NCAD/DLIAD and other art colleges require portfolios for specific courses


  • Includes; listening 25%, performing 25%, composing 25% and either listening/ performing/composing for final 25%
  • Students can do a music technology piece to make up 50%.
  • Essential for music courses (Most music degrees will require an audition etc). Students may also choose music within Arts Degrees


  • Geography is the study of people, their environment, and the interaction between the two.
  • The course follows from Junior Cert Geography, and covers very similar topics but in a lot more detail.
  • There are a large number of optional sections on the course.
  • Written Examination (80%)
  • Geographical Investigation Report (20%)


  • Late Modern(1815-1993)
  • Not a required subject for any specific courses
  • Good preparation for third level as it trains you in extracting relevant facts and presenting them
  • Could be helpful for careers in area such as journalism or law
  • Written examination paper (80%). Essay style questions.
  • Research topics (20%): 1,500 words or 4 typed pages on an area of history which interests you. It is submitted in April of your exam year.

Science Subjects Physics

  • The Leaving Cert physics course follows directly from Junior Cert Science, and covers more topics in greater depth. Physics is often referred to as the maths side of science. Physics aims to enhance student's ability to think logically, observe and understand scientific method
  • Includes forms of energy, light and wave motion, current electricity, electronics, mechanics etc
  • Important to have a good understanding of maths
  • Required in most engineering and electronics courses


  • The course includes 28 mandatory practical experiments which must be completed in the lab, as well as a written paper including questions on the experiments and examining the theory and applications of chemistry
  • Chemistry is an essential element in the study of careers including: Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Physiotherapy, Nursing, Pharmacy and Medical Laboratory Technology.
  • This subject is a requirement for entry into a number of third level courses and a higher level H5 grade is now needed for some scientific degrees. Examples include: Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Human Nutrition and Dietetics in DIT.


  • Study of plants, living things and animals, Human physiology, microbiology and genetics
  • Relevant for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, physiotherapy, health care work etc
  • It is recommended that a student taking Leaving Certificate Biology has a good understanding of Junior Science at higher level.
  • Each student must have an aptitude and interest for laboratory work.
  • A considerable amount of learning and study is necessary to do well in this subject.
  • A requirement for Human Health and Disease in TCD and Human Genetics in UCC

Agricultural Science

  • Agricultural science is the study of the science and technology underlying the principles and practices of agriculture.
  • It is recognised as a laboratory science subject for almost all 3rd level courses including nursing. It can be a good study to subject with Biology and/or Geography due to the overlap in course content. Some experience of farming would be desirable.
  • The examination in Agricultural Science consist of (a) a terminal examination paper and (b) an assessment of the work (25%)

LCVP – Link Modules

  • This two-year programme’s primary goal is to prepare young people for working life.
  • LCVP is considered an 8th subject.
  • Students complete topics in relation to work preparation, interview and employment skills
  • Students complete 1 weeks work experience as part of the programme
  • LCVP is assessed by Written Examination (40%) and by Portfolio of Coursework (60%). 

LCVP Programme Requirements

  • LCVP Programme Requirements
  • Minimum of 5 Leaving Cert Subjects
  • 2 subjects from Subject Groupings below
  • Modern European Language
  • Good standard of English
  • An aptitude for Business
  • LCVP Vocational Subject Groupings:
  • Students must have a combination of the subjects below to qualify for LCVP
  • Business & Accounting
  • Business & Home Ec
  • Business & Art
  • Business & Music
  • Accounting & Music
  • Accounting & Art
  • Home Ec & Biology
  • Home Ec & Art
  • Home Ec & Ag Science
  • Home Ec & Business
  • Home Ec & Accounting
  • Biology & PhysChem
  • Biology & Physics
  • Biology & Chemistry
  • Biology & Ag Science
  • Ag Science & Home Ec
  • Ag Science & Biology
  • Ag Science & Chemistry
  • Ag Science & Physics
  • Ag Science & Phys/Chem
  • Physics & Chemistry

Grade & Points for LCVP

  • LCVP students receive the same certificate as other Leaving Certificate students but their Certificate includes an additional statement of the results of the Link Modules.
  • The Link Modules are recognised for points purposes by the Institutes of Technology and the Universities. The points are allocated as follows:
  • Distinction 66 points (80-100%)
  • Merit 45 points (65-79%)
  • Pass 28 points (50-64%)

General Advice

  • If a student is not really sure what she wants to do in the future:
  • Pick a broad range of subjects in order to keep options open
  • Many students will change their minds about their future a number of times in the next 2 years
  • E.g.
    • one language
    • one science
    • one business
    • one humanities / applied science.
  • This combination would allow access into a broad range of courses/careers.

Choosing a Subject

  • A wise choice of subjects requires:
  • L.C. Books, Guidance Classes, Other Students
  • Subject Teachers, TY Programme, Publications
  • Guidance Counsellors, Current Teachers
  • Parents, Friends
  • Consider all the information, views and opinions
  • Then, ultimately each student must make up their own mind.

3 Words to Remember!!!

  • Like: Will I like the subject? Do I have the interest in it?
  • Ability: Do I have the ability for it?
  • Potential: Do I have the potential to do well in the subject and what potential does the subject have for my future?

Useful Websites

  • www.qualifax.ie
  • www.cao.ie
  • www.ucas.com
  • www.careersportal.ie
  • www.nui.ie

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