Important dates and advice for the class of 2021

Preparations for Leaving Certificate 2021 are in train, with most students having registered for examinations, accredited grades, or both. There is ongoing engagement with education partners. Students have been informed of changes that have been made to the examination papers in light of the disruption to learning for the Leaving Certificate class of 2021 caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2021 school year comes to a close in a few weeks, but for some there is still a lot of uncertainty around. Some students are still deciding whether to go for calculated grades only, Leaving Cert exam only, or a combination of both. All Leaving Cert students will be given the option of availing of calculated grades and/or sitting written exams for each subject.

Students will be credited with whichever grade is highest when the results are released in August. In short, students can (1 ) choose calculated grades only; (2 ) sit all their exams; or (3 ) avail of both. Oral exams and musical practicals have taken place over the Easter break. They were recorded and will be marked by external examiners. In some subjects the holding of practical exams was not possible because of public health considerations.

Important dates

General guidance on all aspects of the accredited grades process is available at The Department of Education will also support students, parents, school leaders, teachers, and other school personnel and tutors, by providing a dedicated phone-line service for queries on the accredited grade process. This opened last Monday, April 26; access the helpline on 057 9324461 (select option 2 ), Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm, or by email to [email protected].

The Leaving Certificate 2021 Candidate Self Service Portal has re-opened since Tuesday April 27 at 12 noon and remains open until tomorrow, Friday April 30, at 6pm. All candidates are required to log in and re-confirm their subjects, levels, and whether they are sitting the examination, opting for accredited grades, or both, in respect of each subject. This is the final confirmation by students of their intentions for Leaving Certificate 2021. Candidates taking examinations will be able to change their subject level on the day of the examinations. However, the level in each subject which candidates select now will be their final level for the purposes of accredited grades.

Final chance

Candidates who did not register on the portal in March will have the opportunity to complete the registration process and to make their final subject level choices. This is the final chance to do this in order to be considered for accredited grades.

More detailed information is available from the State Examinations Commission at

In what way will the new version of calculated grades be different to last year?

Last year’s calculated grades were based on a combination of teachers’ assessments or predicted grades, along with a standardisation process overseen by the Department of Education to ensure consistency and fairness in grades. This year, the process will be overseen by the State Examinations Commission.

Relieving stress while preparing for the final days and weeks of the 2021 school year

Practice the habit of doing one thing at a time.

• Go to bed at the same time every night.

• Do one thing at a time, single tasking, being mindful and present while doing just one thing at a time. Multi-tasking leads to less productivity. Trying to achieve more in the same minute, the same hour, the same day, drains our energy and takes away our effectiveness.

• When you are eating do not try to read, watch TV, be on your phone, etc; when you do this you are distracting your body from the process of digestion.

• The three ingredients of productivity are time, attention, and energy, single tasking builds our attention muscle. The more specific you become, the more detailed you become, the easier it will be to do one thing at a time.

• Notice, shift, rewire. Notice when you are really busy, catch yourself and concentrate on one thing at a time, then shift gear and bring yourself back to the present moment, rewire by bringing yourself back to the present moment to do one thing at a time and become absorbed and immersed in this activity.

• Students should not jump from one subject to another, from one topic to another, just concentrate on one thing at a time.

Patricia Uí Fhlaithearta, career guidance counsellor


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