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Leaving Certificate Examinations 2021 Update

For the most up to date information on the Leaving Cert 2021, please visit:

Guide to Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021 for Out-of-School Subjects, and Out-of-School Learners

The Guide to Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate 2021 for Out-of-School Subjects, and Out-of-School Learners can be downloaded here.

This guide is for:

  • Students who are enrolled in, and studying in, a school on a full time basis but are also studying an extra subject, or subjects, entirely outside of school.
  • Students who are entered for the examinations as external candidates and who are not attending for fulltime tuition at any school, or private college, recognised by the State Examinations Commission. This category includes students who are being home schooled.

FAQ Leaving Certificate 2021

1. What has been announced regarding Leaving Certificate 2021 and why?

23rd April UPDATE
Leaving Certificate 2021 Candidate Self-Service Portal

The Candidate Self-Service Portal (CSSP) - Phase 2 for Leaving Certificate will reopen at 12 noon on Tuesday 27 April and close at 6 pm on Friday 30 April.

Please read 2021 Leaving Certificate Candidate Self Service Portal - PHASE 2 Before You Start Guide

12th March
LC Self Service Portal Video

Watch on YouTube

10th March
State Examinations Commission Self-Service Candidate Portal

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) Self-Service Candidate Portal will be available here from 10 March at 12 noon and will close on 16 March at 6pm.

You must register for your examinations and/or accredited grades on the portal.

You will be required to login to the portal again at a later date to confirm what level you are taking examination in and/or receiving Accredited Grades in.

Two important documents relating to Leaving Certificate 2021. Please ensure that you read the "Before You Start Guide" for the Self-Service Portal in full, before logging on to the portal.

The portal is open from 12 Noon March 10th until 6pm of Wednesday, March 16th. We advise taking your time, taking a considered approach and spending some time on the various options.

Kilroy's College strongly advises choosing both the Sit Examination option and the Accredited Grade option in all subjects at this time. If you decide to opt for one or the other subsequently, this can be done when the portal reopens in April/May. The DES also advises keeping your options open for as long as possible, especially in the context that further adjustments to the written examination papers (e.g. reducing the number of questions that need to be answered) will be published the week beginning March 22nd.

17th February
The Minister made an announcement regarding Leaving Certificate 2021.

Key features of the announcement were as follows:

The Government has decided on a dual approach regarding the Leaving Certificate Examinations this year (Leaving Certificate and SEC Accredited Grades).

All students may opt to take Leaving Certificate Examinations, including written examinations and related additional components. In addition, a system of Accredited Grades is being provided. Leaving Certificate 2021 results will be awarded on the basis of the better of:


  • Students' performance in Leaving Certificate examinations in any subject taken by them in the conventional examinations, including, where appropriate, their performance in the completion of additional components (coursework, orals, etc.)


  • Students' SEC Accredited Grades in each subject based on schools' estimates of students' likely performance and a national standardisation process. The oral and coursework components of the examinations will not form part of the Accredited Grade process.

The State Examinations Commission will operate both Leaving Certificate option pathways.

Established Leaving Certificate:

The established Leaving Certificate will take place including orals and coursework. Orals will be held during the Easter break or shortly thereafter. They will be conducted by way of recording by qualified teachers in the school or sourced locally and will be sent for external marking.

The conduct and recording of the orals will be a paid function. In some subjects, the holding of practical examinations will not be feasible due to public health considerations in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The written Leaving Certificate examinations will commence on 9th June, 2021.

The timetable can be viewed at this link.

The written exams will:

  • Operate in accordance with the normal timetable published on 18th February, 2021.
  • Be conducted subject to public health advice and providing, as far as possible, access to the examinations for very high-risk students.

SEC Accredited Grades:

Teachers will be asked to estimate for each student in their class.

An alignment process will take place similar to last year's Calculated Grades process and the school's marks for each student in each subject will be transferred to the State Examinations Commission for standardisation.

Teachers will not be asked to provide a rank order list of their students this year.

The professional judgement of each of the candidate's teachers will not be subject to appeal.

A right for students to appeal in respect of their Accredited Grade which will comprise a process review focused on examining possible errors in the transmission and processing of student data.

Provision as far as practicable for out-of-school learners or students studying one or more subjects outside school to apply to receive Accredited Grades through the devising of an appropriate and practicable process.

Indemnification of teachers and school leaders will be provided in the operation of the process.

Schools will be closed to all students from 28th May, 2021 to allow for the conclusion of the work necessary at school level within the process.

Legislation will be passed by the Oireachtas to provide for:

(a) the involvement of the SEC in this process
(b) penalties regarding canvassing of teachers
(c) Indemnity

A more detailed document A Guide to Accredited Grades for Leaving Certificate students 2021 will explain further how the system will work.

2. Has there been an adjustment to the assessment arrangements for the written Leaving Certificate examination in 2021?

Yes. In response to the disrupted learning experienced by students during the periods of school closures in 2020 and 2021 adjustments have already been made to the assessment arrangements for post-primary students taking State certificate examinations in the 2020/21 school year. Details of those adjustments were communicated to schools, teachers and students in the Assessment Arrangements for Leaving Certificate Examinations 2021 available here. These adjustments will be reflected in the written examinations.

3. Has there been an adjustment to additional components (coursework, oral and practical components)?

Yes. Details of altered arrangements for subjects with additional components (including adjusted dates for the submission of coursework and the completion of other components) will be published separately, but the general approach adopted can be found at this link:

4. What if I apply to sit the exams, but then am unable to do so. Will I get a second chance at sitting them?

At this time, it is intended that there will be one sitting only of the 2021 Leaving Certificate Examination for the 2021 examinations.

5. When will the grades be issued?

Students will get their Leaving Certificate 2021 results within the required timeframe for CAO and UCAS.

6. Will the grades be the same as in other years?

Yes. Students will receive a provisional statement of results with grades in the same format as every other year. Subsequently students will receive a formal final certificate confirming the grades.

7. What about the CAO process - how will it be affected by this change?

Students' Accredited Grades will be transferred directly to the CAO, in the same way that examination results usually are. The CAO timelines will run as close as possible to normal to allow for students to take up offers and to transition to third level, further education or work etc.

8. Does the same apply for people looking to study in the UK or Europe?

The Department has been in contact with counterparts in the UK and across the EU to explain the position regarding the Leaving Certificate. Other countries are being asked for as much flexibility as possible for our students. These contacts will continue over the coming weeks. This is also a common challenge in the UK and across the EU.

9. What are the detailed arrangements for the Leaving Certificate exams to be held in June later this year?

The SEC will set about putting the detailed arrangements for these examinations in place, guided of course by health advice

Still Have Questions?

The most current information on all matters relating to Leaving Certificate examinations and the Accredited Grades process will be available on an ongoing basis on

If you have a query, please read this source of information in the first instance. If you cannot find the response to your query, please submit a request for an update to to this email address:

This mailbox will be monitored periodically and queries that raise issues not already addressed in the information already published will be used to update the information on so that it is available to all candidates. Queries to this email address will not be responded to individually.