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Leaving Certificate 2019 Interactive Grades Chart

See the subjects with the highest uptake and which have the highest percentage of H1s

Leaving Certificate 2019 Interactive Grades Chart

Leaving Cert Results Guide
To explore our Leaving Cert Results - Your Next Steps guide, click here.

More students then ever continue to take higher level papers across almost all of the available subjects, with a large number of top grades achieved.

Statistics released by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) show that 58,787 students sat the Leaving Certificate examination this year, a slight increase from last year. So how did the Class of 2019 perform and what are the key trends emerging from the results this year?

Higher Level
The number of students taking the higher level papers in all three core subjects increased in 2019.

The breakdown for higher level uptake of English, Irish, and Maths is as follows:

English
40,216 students opted to take the higher level English paper this year, versus the 38,283 students who did so in 2018. The percentage of students achieving a H1 in English saw no change between 2019 and 2018, standing at a low 2.9%.

Gaeilge
For Irish, the number of students taking the higher level paper rose by 776 students, with 23, 176 opting for it versus 22,400 in 2018. The number of students securing a H1 increased by almost 1%, standing at 5.7%.

Maths
The number of students sitting the higher level Maths paper continued its upward trajectory. The number of students sitting this paper has more than doubled since 2011. This year 18, 153 sat the higher level paper, with many likely enticed by the bonus points. Just under 2% of students sitting this exam received a H8, which signifies zero points.

Just over 10% of those who sat the ordinary level Maths paper failed to secure a pass grade.

See the distribution of grades for subjects below. Just click on the photo for the interactive chart.



STEM Subjects
Biology
Biology remains one of the most popular Leaving Cert Subjects with just over 34,000 students sitting an exam between both higher and ordinary. The number of students sitting the higher level Biology exam has risen since 2018,  there had been a slight decrease in the number of students doing so versus 2017.

Chemistry
A remarkably high percentage of students taking the Leaving Cert Chemistry exam achieved a H1 grade (13.2%). However, the subject also had one of the highest percentages of students receiving a H8 grade. The highest percentage of H8 grades came from Physics and Chemistry where 11.4% of the students who sat the higher level exam were awarded zero points for their efforts.

Physics
Physics saw a slight increase in the number of students sitting the higher level paper, rising from 6,258 to 6,583 from 2018 to 2019. 

Engineering
The number of students taking the higher level Engineering paper has risen by roughly 20% since 2011. This year 4,765 sat this paper.


Languages
French
French remains the most popular foreign language for Leaving Cert students by quite a margin. In total, 23,361 students sat Leaving Cert French exams, 15,654 at higher level and 7,707 at ordinary level.

German
German followed French as the second most popular foreign language among students, with 8,544 sitting either a higher or ordinary German exam. However, the gap between the two most popular languages is vast; over 15,000 more students sat a French exam than German.

Spanish
Despite being one of the most widely spoken languages internationally, the number of students taking the Leaving Cert Spanish exams remains much lower than French, totalling 7,711. Even though Spanish lags behind French in terms of student interest, the subject saw an increase of almost 700 students in this year's exams.

Russian
Out of the 458 students who took the higher level paper, just under 60% of the students who sat the Russian exam achieved a H1. Many of the other minority languages also had a high proportion of H1s.


Other Subjects
Geography
was one of the most popular optional Leaving Cert subjects; in total, 24,122 students sat a Geography exam.

Politics & Society, a subject which was first examined in 2018, saw a decrease in the number of students choosing to sit its exam, dropping from 867 students to 779. In addition to this, the percentage of students achieving a H1 dropped from 6.1% to 4.6%.

Business was the most popular of Business-related subjects, with 17,326 students between the higher and ordinary exams. This was followed by Accounting where 7,907 students sat an exam. Lastly, the Economics exams, both higher and ordinary, attracted 5,863 candidates. Out of the three, the Accounting exam saw the highest percentage of students achieve H1s (6.6%).

Art and Music both saw increases in the number of students sitting exams in 2019. The number of students sitting an Art exam rose from 9,046 in 2018 to 9,185 in 2019. The number of students sitting a Music exam rose by almost 300 students in 2019 compared to 2018. Over 90% of the students taking Music as a Leaving Cert subject took the higher level exam paper. 

For more information on the breakdown of Leaving Cert grades, follow these links:
Leaving Cert Interactive Grades Chart
Leaving Cert Subjects (see individual grade information by subject) 

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