What Subjects Should I Choose For My Leaving Certificate?

Whether you are in Transition Year or 3rd year going into 5th year in September, the time to choose your subjects for leaving certificate is coming up. It’s the first of the many decisions you are going to have to make regarding your future career, especially if you still don’t know what you want to do. 

If you know exactly what you want to do in college in 3 years time, you’re one of the lucky ones, choosing your subjects will come easy to you. But for those of you who don’t know what you want to do, this decision is a stressful one. We’ve put together some tips to help make that decision easier for you.

1. Do interest assements

An interest assessment is a series of questions about your likes and dislikes. It will measure your interests in different areas such as leisure activities, career interests and personality traits. Using the results of these assessments you can find careers and college courses that match you and your interests. Careers Portal and Qualifax are great Irish sites that will show courses that match your interests in Irish colleges and universities, however, there is an abundance of interest/career assessments available on different sites online. Remember that these tests are based on an algorithm and can come back with careers that you know for certain that you do not want to do, so use the results as a guideline and not something that is set in stone.

2. Use Qualifax

Qualifax is an online database for students, parents, job seekers and graduates providing information about further and higher education and training options in Ireland and internationally. You can search for any course in any college and it will show you everything you need to know about that course, from required subjects to entry requirements such as grades. If you know what course you want to study in college, you can use Qualifax to find out what subjects you need to study in your chosen course. It also tells you the grades needed in particular subjects, such as a grade of H4 or above in higher level Irish for primary school teaching and the CAO points for the last 3 years. For those of you who don’t know what you want to study, you can use this tool to see the common subject requirements for different courses. For example, some courses require you to have at least one laboratory science subject while others require you to have another language so perhaps opting for one science subject and a second language would keep your course options open. 

3. Play to your strengths

Choose your subjects based on your personal interests and strengths. If at junior cert you enjoyed studying geography and found you were good at physics then by all means pick those subjects. Don’t pick subjects that you hated but did well in because when it comes to studying for the exams, you will struggle to sit down and do the work necessary to get high marks. If you enjoyed a subject but found it difficult to get high marks in it, don’t let that deter you from choosing it. You never know, you could get an excellent teacher who will help raise that grade. There are many students who scraped a pass in a particular subject in their junior certificate and by leaving cert they are getting H1’s & H2’s in that subject. Sometimes it all comes down to the teacher and their teaching style and whether or not it suits your learning style. 

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