The Voice Of A Generation

The Leaving Cert vs Leaving Cert Applied

Is Leaving Cert Applied better than the traditional Leaving Cert?


When I was back in my Third Year, I was given three options of what to do next. They were to do Transition Year, Traditional Fifth Year or Leaving Cert Applied (LCA). Due to my health, it was suggested that I do LCA. When I went into LCA the following September, I found it completely different from my school experience up until then.

The format of LCA is continuous assessment, and the curriculum is divided into many different modules, each containing key assignments and tasks. Before LCA, I always struggled to turn hard work in the classroom into good grades in the exam hall. Now my LCA grades reflected how much work I was putting into classwork. This made me want to work more while I was in school.

LCA also gives you a great insight into what college life is actually like. It gives you a taste of what doing assignments and tasks is like. It also teaches you how to make deadlines with all of that work, again something that would be useful for college life.

Having said that, although it does set you up better for college, LCA is viewed as the inferior form of the Leaving Cert. It is a common view among both young people and adults alike that LCA is only there to cater for the people who are quote on quote ‘Too Stupid’ to do the traditional one. This, in my opinion, is wholly unfair and a form of discrimination. I think that the method in which LCA students learn should be implemented into the Traditional Leaving Cert, or better yet, scrap the Leaving Cert altogether and only use the LCA model.

Exam in progress.

It is common knowledge that people learn in different ways. Einstein once said, “Everybody is a Genius, but if you judge a Fish by its ability to climb a Tree, it will live its whole life thinking it is stupid“. So by that logic, everyone should be judged in the way they learn and also treated the same. Even if they need to learn differently, they should seek the same rewards.

This includes being allowed to be accepted into all colleges straight away. Currently, some colleges and universities do not accept Leaving Cert Applied students until they apply as mature students, which means a minimum of 5 years waiting to get into college. This is exceptionally unfair as colleges regularly say that LCA students are better prepared for college because they learn in Secondary School.

I think that the entire Leaving Certificate cycle needs a reform quite quickly; this would include the Leaving Cert Applied. I think the Minister for Education and his staff should look into this issue for the benefit of everyone who has taken, is taking, or will be taking the Leaving Certificate or Leaving Cert Applied in the future.

Furthermore, the Department has refused to update the course on multiple occasions, which hasn’t been updated since its inception in the late 1990s. Which means it is ridiculously out of date.

It is time to implement change.


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