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Leaving Cert: Spike In Failure Rates Among Number Of Higher Level Subjects

Leaving Cert: Spike In Failure Rates Among Number Of Higher Level Subjects

Sitting the Leaving Cert is unarguably one of the most arduous and all-consumingly difficult tasks in the life of any student, in or out of school, and everyone who successfully sat it this year is to be applauded, regardless of the outcome of their results. However, while many of the 57,000 students who will be getting their results today will be relieved and indeed pleasantly surprised by how they've done, there will inevitably be some who did not get their desired results.

While there was a drop in failure rates among the major higher subjects - with only 1.8% of students who sat higher Maths failing as opposed to 2% last year, and the failure rate in higher English dropping from .6% to .5% - some major subjects reported a worryingly significant increase in failure rates.

Biology and Accounting were the worst affected with their failure rates jumping from 4.2% to 7.1% and 4.1% to 6.6% respectively. While the relative numbers of people who've sat these subjects mean that there has been a 50% increase in the number of students who've failed these subjects compared to 2017. Chemistry meanwhile saw the percentage of students failing jump from 9.6% to 13.6% in higher level. The trend seems to have predominantly affected the sciences as Physics also recorded a marked jump from 6.7% to 8.6%.

While we extend our commiserations to those who did not achieve their desired results, it is always important to remember that there are many avenues open to those of you who do not get the results you were hoping for at the first time of asking. There are many routes into third-level education, if indeed that is where you want to go having finished school, and not all of them require you to have a perfect Leaving Cert. So even if you are disappointed today, remember that there are still many options open to you.


The Irish Times has a very thorough and comprehensive breakdown of the Leaving Cert results percentiles for this year's results by subject, grade and exam level.

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Also Read: Six Students Achieve Top Marks With 8 H1s In Leaving Cert

Rory McNab

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