Suggested Guidelines for State Exams 2024

Suggested Guidelines for State Exams 2024

Exam Timetable Dates

Leaving Cert – 5th to 25th June

Junior Cert – 5th to 17th June

Deferred Leaving Cert – 27th June to 13th 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.

The post mark adjustment (PMA) is being implemented again 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, as 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.

Choices after leaving cert

Exam results due out on Friday 23rd August.

CAO first round offers Wednesday 28th 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, including modular course information.

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.

Students should also be aware of the opportunities available with the Tertiary Education programmes. These degree programmes offer seamless progression into higher education to earn an undergraduate degree at level 8 honours or level 7 ordinary degree. Check the website to apply directly for these courses.

SUSI grant applications can still be made up to 11th July. Check website for changes made this year at, as budget 2024 made significant improvements to existing support grant scheme.

Check website to see full list of apprenticeships, over 70 now available between craft and new generation programmes. The number of apprenticeships keeps on expanding, with up to 20 more programmes in development. 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, check the list of employers currently seeking to hire apprenticeships as listed on the apprenticeship website, or 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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