As of next Wednesday, March 10th, Leaving Cert students in Ireland will get six days to decide whether they want to take exams or receive accredited grades, or both, in their chosen subjects.
The candidate self-service portal will open from noon on the 10th until 6pm on Tuesday, March 16th. During this window, all students must make their choices and select their subject levels.
Students will not be able to apply to sit written exams beyond those selected after March 16th.
However, according to the Irish Times, they will have an opportunity at the end of April/early May to withdraw their intention to take written exams or confirm their levels in each subject.
When it comes to accredited grades, the levels selected for subjects – higher, ordinary or foundation – by candidates at the end of April/early May will be “absolutely final,” with the reason for this being that teachers are due to enter the formal estimation process for the accredited grades process shortly afterwards.
Students opting to sit the written exams will be permitted to change their levels on the day of the exam – as they do in a normal year. Schools across the country will be issued with all the details and guidance regarding the process by the State Examinations Commission (SEC).
When it comes to sitting the written exams in June, schools will be told to set aside more rooms than usual, as well as using gym halls and libraries, all in an attempt to adhere to social distancing guidelines for both students and teaches.
As well as this, schools will be asked to organise students into pods, so that where possible, the same group of students can remain in the same room for the duration of exams and avoid interaction with others.
As for this year’s oral exams, these must be held during the Easter break or shortly afterwards – between March 26th and April 15th, according to the guidance issued to schools by the SEC.
The reasons behind running the oral exams during the Easter break is that there will be fewer people in the school, both students and teachers, and more space will be available for ensuring physical distancing between the candidate and the examiner.