Ask Brian: Will Leaving Cert exams take account of Covid?

Next year’s papers will look similar to previous years, but with more choice

My daughter is worried that she missed out on coursework in fifth year when schools closed between March and June. What changes are being made to the curriculum to accommodate this year group?

Next summer’s Leaving Cert exams will look largely the same as previous years’. Students will, as always, have to carefully read the instructions on the exam papers to make sure they are answering the correct combination of questions to maximise their marks.

However, there are some changes which the Department of Education has published online for each subject . Students can also access it online by searching for assessment arrangements for the 2021 State exams.

Hospital Report

If a student is doing a practical subject, the design brief will be issued to their school earlier than normal so they have more time to prepare and finalise the project. Therefore, teachers will be able to revise key skills developed before the schools closed down and re-teach and revise the skills and knowledge that students may need to complete their project.


Prepared material

A key change for all oral exams is that the amount of material that needs to be prepared in advance has decreased. For example, the number of sraith pictiúr for Irish has decreased from 20 to 10. This will allow teachers and students to spend more time on preparing other aspects of the oral examination.

Otherwise, the same advice as in every year applies to the students studying for the Leaving Cert.

First, always listen closely to the advice provided by your teachers. Always ask the teacher to revisit aspects of the course that you may have forgotten or found difficult to understand.

Make time to study. Concentrate first on written homework and then build in time for revision. You can take a variety of approaches, but it is often useful to start with the subjects you like best as you will feel positive about your learning and what you can achieve.

Revision style

Store the tests you do in school as the teachers will have designed these using exam-style questions and they will be useful to help with revision

If there is a topic you know you need to work on, use the past exam papers and the sample solutions available online ( to model answers that can be used to assist with your revision

Find the revision style that best suits you; this may be mindmaps, summary notes, flash cards or whatever method you find useful.

Design a study and revision plan for a week. You can change this if you find that you are revising the same subjects more often than others.

Keep healthy. Eat well, get regular exercise, maintain your friendships and talk to your parents/guardians about how you are getting on.

Last, focus on the positive. There is plenty of time before the exams start. Placing yourself under too much pressure will not help and may stoke anxieties.