Suggested Guidelines for State Exams 2023

Suggested Guidelines for State Exams 2023

Exam Timetable Dates

Leaving Cert – 7th to 27th June

Junior Cert – 7th to 19th June

Deferred Leaving Cert – 29th June to 15th July (see further information re Deferred Leaving Cert exam at the end of these guidelines)

Have a Positive but Realistic Approach

Be positive about the information that has been studied. Students have put in a big effort in preparing for the exams, particularly because of the disruption caused by the pandemic. In this regard, the SEC (State Examination Commission) have made adjustments to some leaving cert papers, in order to give more choice and make the papers more manageable. For details check In addition, the post mark adjustment (PMA) is being implemented for this year, as grades are compared to the pandemic years.

We know from research that 25% to 35% of students under perform in exams because they do not react in a positive way.

Night Before Exam

  • Have all the material you need.
  • Do not study new material (avoid cramming).
  • Use relaxation methods that you are familiar with.
  • Do at least 30 minutes exercise, e.g., walking, cycling. Exercise is a great way to deal with stress. Remember stress is a normal reaction to a challenging situation which one could say are the state exams. It is how you cope with stress that is important, by not allowing stress to become distress.
  • Be mindful of the amount of time spent on social media.

Exam Day

  • Arrive in good time, have all the materials you require.
  • Know your timetable.
  • Choose and read questions carefully.
  • Ensure one answers the obligatory questions.
  • Make out, in advance, a rough draft of the main points to be included in the answers.
  • Maintain time management strategy.
  • Allow space at the end of your answers to include any further information that you may wish include before handing up your paper.
  • Read through your answers before handing up paper.
  • After the exams, avoid spending too much time going back over the papers, especially when one may have another exam in the afternoon.
  • Do not leave exam hall before the time is up.
  • If changing from higher to ordinary level papers, be aware of how that may affect entry requirements for college courses. It is not advisable to change on the day, as one needs to be prepared for the different levels.

Time Management

Time management for exams is very important. Be aware of the marking scheme and the amount of time required to answer various questions. Practice writing essential information in the required time.

See details on for marking schemes and expected responses.

Plan Your Revision

Be organised and realistic, keep focused on exam style questions and the type of answers expected. Have a revision timetable.

Control Stress

Become familiar with ways that help to overcome stress and tension before, during and after the exams. Use breathing techniques, drink water or chew a sweet. If the stress continues, it may be necessary to leave the exam hall for a few minutes. You can do this by raising your hand and indicating to the exam superintendent that you wish to leave.


  • Keep to usual routine.
  • Try to be around to support the exam student.
  • Have a calm atmosphere in the home.
  • Remind other members of the family, that the exam student may be under extra pressure at this time.
  • Be mindful of what they eat, encourage a balanced diet.
  • Ensure they drink plenty of water.
  • Suggest they take physical exercise.
  • Be available to listen to any concerns they may have.
  • Check that they are having sufficient rest and sleep.
  • Remind them that, irrespective of exam performance and results, they can rely on your support and love.
  • Let them know you want them to do their best, they do not have to be the best.

If stressed, do not feel isolated – seek help from school, guidance counsellors, home or many agencies such as:

Mental Health Ireland – Website:

Aware Helpline – Tel: 1800 80 4848

Samaritans – Tel: 116123

Deferred Leaving Cert

This sitting of the exam is available for students who unfortunately experience bereavement, major illness or injury. (Of the 61,000 student who sat the leaving cert in 2022, a total of nearly 400 students availed of the deferred exam. Of these, 43 were due to bereavements, 84 due to a serious medical condition and the remainder was because of public health advice due to Covid-19)

Choices After Leaving Cert

Exam results due out on Friday 25th August.

CAO first round offers Wednesday 30th August.

CAO second round offers Monday 11th September.

Cao website now carries links for post leaving cert courses and apprenticeship programmes.

Important Reminders

Be aware of CAO course changes (check CAO website –

Ensure course selections are researched fully.

10 choices at level 8 (honours degree programmes).

10 choices at level 7 (ordinary degree programmes), 6 (certificate programmes).

Students can still make changes to CAO course choices up to 1st July (with the exception of restricted courses).

Check accommodation availability and costs if you are going to be living away from home.

Students should consider making online applications for Fetac (post leaving cert courses) as soon as possible.

Susi grant applications can still be made up to 8th July. Check website for changes made this year at

Check website to see full list of apprenticeships. Contact Cork Training Centre, Bishopstown, for registration and further information on Tel: 021 485 6200.

One must have sponsor for apprenticeship programmes, if one does not have a sponsor, consider applying for a pre-apprenticeship course available at ETBs (Educational Training Board).

Be aware there is a colour vision appeal for some apprenticeships if one is not successful, check with local ETB for details re appeal process.

Check UCAS for UK applications

Check EUNiCAS for mainland European application

Good luck and best wishes to all,

Roisin Kelleher

Guidance Counsellor

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