The dreaded Leaving Cert. exams wrapped up just under a month ago and in just over 3 weeks, all will be revealed by way of Results Day on 17th August. Firstly, to all my readers who recently sat their LC exams, fair f**ks to you. They really are the most difficult set of exams you’ll ever sit, with regards to the immense pressure of cramming such a large range of subjects over such a short space of time. Earlier in the year, I published two posts, 7 Things I Wish I’d Known When Doing The Leaving Cert.
and Surviving The Leaving Cert. – My Advice To Last Year’s Me, both of which got amazing responses, so I thought it might be useful to write a post-exam piece too, as being quite honest, that 2 month gap between exams and results, for me was the most daunting time of all.
Change Of Mind (Closed 1st July)
During the school year, most people have a fairly clear idea of where they see themselves the following September, but speaking from experience, that idea can alter drastically by the time summer swings around, for a variety of reasons. Personally speaking, my entire CAO changed in May, when I removed Medicine (in Cork, Dublin, Galway and even London) completely and totally re-did the entire form. The reasoning behind this major change was a genuine change of heart and I don’t regret that decision one bit. So to any of you who bit the bullet and changed your CAO before the start of this month because your gut just told you to – trust it. Our judgement during the stressful times prior to exams isn’t always as wise as usual so sorting your head out in the weeks afterwards can often be a deal-breaker.
Results Day (17th August) & First Round Offers (22nd August)
For me results day wasn’t anywhere near as stressful as Offers Day but that will vary with each person depending on the factors they’re most anxious about. You’re going to hear this advice on loop for the next few weeks but honestly, what’s done is done. Getting worked up about the exams, replaying them in your head as August 17th grows closer and closer is only going to crack you up. Like anything else in life, you’re only going to recall the ‘bad bits’, the questions that challenged you, the blanks you may have left and it really won’t do you any favours. My best advice here is to try your best to block those thoughts out and either recall the positives (your strong oral exam, your best poet coming up) or just block out the experience completely.
When it comes to the night before, I’m not going to tell you to “get a good night’s sleep”. Yes, in an ideal world, a perfect 8 hr sleep the night before you receive your results would be wonderful but as someone who sat their exams just last year, I know this more than likely won’t be happening and that’s okay. What I will say is, on the night before First Round Offers are released, don’t do what I did and stay up the entire night refreshing the CAO Points thread on Boards.ie.
Most people don’t realise this but the points for each and every course are actually available not long after midnight if you decide to ransack a shop for the next day’s Irish Times (I don’t recommend this as you know, it is technically theft). So at around 2am that morning last year, I actually knew what the points for my course were (a nasty 25 point rise may I add), as some lunatic decided to run 5 miles to his local Centra, rob a paper from outside the door, run home and post all the course points on the thread.
Was it of any use to me, knowing this knowledge before offers were released? Of course not! I spent 4 hours filled with unnecessary worry, unable to do anything but of course at that time, overcome by anxiety and the fear of not getting my course, all logic went out the window. My advice here is, if you can’t sleep, watch YouTube, read or eat something, but whatever you do, stay away from Boards.ie (I learned the hard way).
When ‘Plan A’ Doesn’t Make An Appearance
So you’ve received your results, first round offers have been given and things haven’t panned out quite as you hoped. The Leaving Cert. ship rarely sails smoothly and when your plans don’t materialise the way you imagined, it’s only natural to be feel upset, disappointed and even angry at yourself. The most important thing to remember is, there are ways and means around everything and the outcome is probably far less bleak than you think.
If you feel there could be an error within your exam results and you think you may have been deprived of marks you deserved, you need to submit your papers to be viewed by 23rd August. You can then view your marked scripts (free of charge) from 2nd-3rd September, and if you feel they were marked incorrectly, you can request that they’re rechecked (the charge for this is based on the no. of scripts you want re-marked). My advice here is, if you have any shadow of doubt with regards to your grades, it’s worth viewing them at least.
Due to such a large volume of scripts being corrected, there have been instances where A grades were wrongly marked as Cs. A couple of marks could be the different in a grade, which could determine your course’s entry requirements so if in doubt, get them rechecked. The results of these appeals are released in October. The only downside is if you win your appeal and are offered that place you deserved in the first place, you’ll be entering the course a month late but for most, that’s a disadvantage that can be dealt with if it means getting that course you really wanted.
To Repeat Or Not To Repeat?
Obviously as someone who never had to consider this decision, I can only advise on what I’ve learned from those who have. If, after all offers are given, you’re left without the course you wanted, repeating the LC is usually the obvious choice but not always the wisest. Going back into that stress-filled, exam-orientated environment for a second time can caused havoc with your mind and generally be harmful to your mentality. In some cases, those left without a plan of actions after the offers actually turned down different courses out of a lack of uncertainty. Repeating the LC for them would most likely be futile and so taking a year out to work or travel and reapplying to the CAO the following year, having re-analyzed what they want, could be a far more beneficial option.
When it comes to making that very difficult decision, take on board the advice of teachers, parents and friends, but at the end of the day, make that decision for yourself. I know a lot of people who were pressured into repeating by their parents and really regret doing so. Take some time to figure your own mind out and follow whatever your gut tells you is my only advice to you here.
Finding A Home From Home
If you’re one of the lucky ones who smashed their results, got offered their course and is all set to head off into the big bad world of third level education, well done you! If you’re living a considerable distance from home, you’re going to need accommodation for the college year, and as crazy as it may sound, finding said accommodation will be as difficult as sitting the exams themselves. There’s a major housing crisis at the moment, particularly in Dublin and more recently Cork, so I’ll warn you now, you’re going to have your work cut out finding somewhere if you haven’t already done so and it’s also going to cost you A LOT of cash. Student complexes such as Brookfield and Vic Mills in Cork booked out in a matter of hours for the coming years so if you didn’t secure a place then, you need to get looking right now – seriously! Get onto every complex’s waiting list (cancellations occur around the time of offers), research local landlords and post in accommodation pages on Facebook. Here’s link to the UCC Accommodation Search page, where you’ll find people looking to fill a room in their house or others in the same position as you.
Find Accommodation HERE; https://www.facebook.com/groups/1700273420257096/
I hope this post was helpful and informative in some way, if you have any questions with regards to any of the areas I touched on above, let me know. All the luck in the world to those of you awaiting results in the coming weeks!