Featured Advice
What are your interests?



Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.

Leaving Cert Subjects

The Three Leaving Certs

You may not know that there is more than one type of Leaving Cert available to students. It is important to understand and explore what they involve and what suits you best. 

Leaving Certificate Established (LCE)

This is the most popular and longest running programme. It is available in all secondary schools.

The core subjects (English, Maths and Irish*) are compulsory. Your school will also offer a number of optional subjects.

Generally students will take study seven subjects, six of which will be counted for the purpose of CAO points if you choose to apply for college through the CAO. 

Choosing which optional subjects to study is an important process. Subject options should be considered in detail as there may be future implications regarding entry to college, or entry to certain careers, if particular subjects are not chosen, or are chosen at the wrong level (i.e. Ordinary level rather than Higher level).

Explore the Leaving Cert Subjects area for more information.

(*Unless you have an official exemption from Irish in place.)

Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP)

LCVP combines regular Leaving Cert subjects with three additional compulsory link modules.

The link modules cover Enterprise Education, Preparation for Work and Work Experience.

Students take at least 5 Leaving Certificate subjects. These include English, Irish and two subjects from specified subject groupings, and a Modern European language, together with the three link modules.

For details on the link modules click here

Leaving Certificate Applied Programme (LCA)

The Leaving Certificate Applied is a two year Leaving Certificate available to students who wish to follow a practical programme with a strong practical and vocational emphasis. It is strongly job/employment focused. LCA is only available in selected schools and does not lead directly into third level education courses.

The two-year programme consists of four half-year blocks called sessions. Achievement is credited in each session. Courses are offered in three main areas: Vocational Preparation; General Education; and Vocational Education.


Assessment takes place on the completion of modules, and there is also a final examination in each of the following areas:

  • English and Communication
  • Two vocational specialisms
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Language
  • Social Education

Students who successfully complete the programme are awarded a Leaving Certificate at one of three levels: Pass, Merit or Distinction.

Students can progress to a wide range of Level 5/6 PLC Courses, many of which provide progression opportunities into third level colleges.

For more information go to www.pdst.ie

Enda Coates, Forest Researcher

What subjects did you take in school and how have these influenced your career path?

I took Music, Geography, and Economics. I donít think they influenced me at all in my career path.
Ask me your first question!

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