HomeBlogOur TeamContact

Mastering The Leaving Cert: Your Key to Success and a Guide to Points

By Malachy Reynolds
Published in Education
June 08, 2023
6 min read
Mastering The Leaving Cert: Your Key to Success and a Guide to Points

Mastering The Leaving Cert: Your Key to Success and a Guide to Points


As the Leaving Cert approaches, students across Ireland are gearing up for the final hurdle in their secondary education journey. The Leaving Certificate, or Leaving Cert for short, is an important standardized examination in Ireland that holds significant weight for students aspiring to pursue higher education. At Quantifold, we understand the challenges that come with preparing for this pivotal exam, particularly in the subject of maths. In this blog post, we’ll explore what the Leaving Cert entails, shed light on the points system, and share some effective study techniques to help you conquer this crucial examination.

Understanding the Leaving Cert

The Leaving Cert is an examination conducted by the State Examinations Commission in Ireland, typically taken by students at the end of their secondary school education. It assesses a wide range of subjects, including mathematics at both higher and ordinary level, which holds immense importance for students aiming to pursue STEM fields or related disciplines. Excelling in Leaving Cert maths not only demonstrates proficiency in this critical subject but also significantly impacts a student’s overall points score.

Choosing Subjects for Leaving Cert

When selecting subjects for the Leaving Cert, it’s essential to consider your interests, strengths, and future educational goals. Choose subjects that align with your intended college course or career path. It’s also beneficial to research the subject requirements of specific universities or courses you may be interested in. Seek guidance from teachers, career counselors, and educational resources to make informed decisions about subject selection. A maximum of six subjects may be used to count towards your points score, and maths comes with the unique benefit of adding 25 bonus points to your score when passed at Higher Level.

The Points System

The Leaving Cert operates on a points-based system, where each subject is allocated a specific number of points based on the student’s performance. The new grading system replaced the previous 14-point grading scale with an 8-point scale. On this new scale, the highest grade is Grade H1 or O1, and the lowest is Grade H8 or O8 at both the Higher and Ordinary levels.

Marks between 100% and 30% are divided into seven equal bands (Grade 1-7). Each band is counted as 10%. Any marks less than 30% are counted as Grade 8.

H1-H8 distinguishes the grades at the Higher Level, and the Ordinary Level is distinguished by O1-O8.

Points are calculated based on the results of the six best subjects in one year’s LC sitting. The maximum number of points possible in the Leaving Cert is 625, which would reflect receiving 6 H1s all at Higher Level, including a H1 in maths.

PercentageHigher Level GradeHigher Level Points
90% - 100%H1100
80% - 89%H288
70% - 79%H377
60% - 69%H466
50% - 59%H556
40% - 49%H646
30% - 39%H737
0% - 29%H80
PercentageOrdinary Level GradeOrdinary Level Points
90% - 100%O156
80% - 89%O246
70% - 79%O337
60% - 69%O428
50% - 59%O520
40% - 49%O612
30% - 39%O70
0% - 29%O80

Note: The points shown are based on the current Irish Leaving Certificate grading system. These also include +25 bonus points for H1-H6 maths.

Leaving Cert Grading Points System

So for example, a student at Higher Level who scores between 90%-100% will score a H1 and get 100 points.

A student at Ordinary Level who scores between 90%-100% will receive an O1 and get 56 points. For Grades H1 – H6 in Higher Level Mathematics, 25 bonus points are added.

For example, if an applicant receives an H5 grade in Mathematics, an additional 25 points will be added to the 56 points for their H5 grade. Their Higher Level Mathematics grade now carries a points score of 81.

Under this new grading system, Higher Level students get 37 points for grades between 30%-39%; no longer an automatic fail like the E grade in the previous scale.

LCVP Link Modules

Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) students follow the same assessment method and grading scale of Leaving Cert Established (LCE) for their subject examinations. Grades for LCVP Link Modules are aligned with the current Leaving Cert grading system and equivalent points.

LCVP Link Module GradePoints

Note: The points shown are based on the current Irish Leaving Certificate LCVP (Link Modules) grading system.

Why Are Leaving Cert Points Important?

These points determine a student’s eligibility for college courses and serve as a competitive measure for university admissions. Excelling in maths can significantly boost your overall points, opening doors to prestigious institutions and coveted programs. Leaving Cert maths’ unique added value of providing 25 bonus points when taken at Higher Level can often be a key factor for students when deciding which subjects to count toward their total of six.

Benefits Of The New Leaving cert Grading System

  1. The previous grading system had a lower grade band that pressured students to cram and rote learn. The new broader grade bands ease that pressure.
  2. It allows for greater flexibility, variety, and innovation in Leaving Certificate assessments.
  3. It maintains the previous alignment between the points at the Higher Level and the points at the Ordinary Level. This ensures that a broad range of second-level learning achievements will be encouraged.
  4. It minimizes random selection in the admissions process by minimizing the number of candidates presenting with identical points scores.
  5. The revised points scale awards points for even the H7 grade. The level of achievement represented by an H7 is equivalent to the level of achievement represented by an O3. This encourages the take-up of a higher-level curriculum in the senior cycle and reduces the risk of taking higher-level examinations.

How Hard Is The New Leaving Cert?

Leaving Cert is the final exam for senior students, and universities use its result for admission. So, yes, naturally, the Leaving Cert is pretty much going to be tricky. But how hard will it be for you?

Well, that depends solely on your preparation. It’s a cliché, but preparation is everything. Here at Quantifold we have seen many students start studying bit by bit in their 5th year, and it pays off.

There are many resources available to help you study. Starting with the past papers is the best way forward. You can find all the previous years’ questions here and practice them regularly. You can also find worked solutions here for particular questions, so if you have a question you want answered, reach out to us using our contact link!

If you need extra help with Leaving Cert Maths, you can join our online maths grinds. We provide weekly notes and questions to enhance your maths skills. Our online classes consist of small groups of 6 or fewer to ensure that every student gets the best guidance possible. We also offer online support for any extra questions or queries!

You can check our online maths video resources or book a free trial grind to start your journey!

Can You Fail The Leaving Cert?

There is no overall pass or fail of the Leaving Certificate examination.

Students need to check the minimum entry requirements and subject requirements for all their courses. They may have the necessary number of passes and satisfy any subject requirement for university. Students will only have to repeat a subject if their desired course has a specific grade requirement which they did not meet.

Effective Study Techniques

To excel in Leaving Cert Maths, a well-rounded and focused study approach is crucial. Here are some study techniques recommended by experts:

  1. Understand the Syllabus: Familiarize yourself with the syllabus, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the topics, concepts, and problem-solving techniques covered in the exam.

  2. Practice Regularly: Consistent practice is key to building confidence and improving your problem-solving abilities. Solve a variety of questions from past papers, textbooks, and online resources to enhance your skills.

  3. Seek Guidance and Support: Don’t hesitate to seek assistance when needed. Quantifold offers both online and in-person tutoring services, providing expert guidance from experienced tutors who have excelled in the Leaving Cert themselves.

  4. Utilize Technology: Leverage educational platforms and tools, such as Quantifold’s online resources, to access interactive lessons, practice quizzes, and valuable study materials. These tools can help reinforce your understanding and provide additional practice opportunities.


The Leaving Cert maths examination is a significant milestone in your educational journey, and it requires focused preparation to achieve the desired results. At Quantifold, we are committed to supporting students on their path to success by providing tailored tutoring services, comprehensive study resources, and expert guidance. By utilizing effective study techniques, seeking support when needed, and leveraging technology, you can navigate the challenges of Leaving Cert Maths with confidence. The new 8-point scale of the Leaving Cert grading system ensures that students will have less pressure than before, and the 10% grade bands will give greater flexibility in their assessments.

Need more information? Read our complete overview of the Leaving Cert here for a more in-depth analysis of the Leaving Cert.

Good luck!

Recommended Reading: How To Study For Leaving Cert Maths

Remember, the journey to success begins with the right resources and support. Let Quantifold be your partner in conquering the Leaving Cert Maths and unlocking your full potential. Get started today and set yourself up for a bright future in the world of mathematics!


  • State Examinations Commission: www.examinations.ie
  • Central Applications Office (CAO): www.cao.ie


Previous Article
Unlocking the World of Code: The Best Programming Languages for Beginners
Malachy Reynolds

Malachy Reynolds

Mathematician, CEO and Founder at Quantifold

Related Posts

Excelling in the Junior Cert: Your Key to Success
Excelling in the Junior Cert: Your Key to Success
June 08, 2023
2 min

Quick Links

Work With UsAbout UsContact UsBlogOur Commitments

Social Media