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The Leaving Cert results are out today, and there are a number of emotions we all went through, whether you did your state exams in 2019 or 1999.

From sheer hysteria to eerily calm acceptance, here's how the roller coaster of a morning usually goes: 

5. The 'sure it'll be grand' attitude

It's the night before, and buoyed up with denial, (and potentially Rescue Remedy) you're feeling pretty okay. 

I mean really, how bad can it be? You only blanked on the entire English paper 2 and really, how important are core subjects anyway? 

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4. Pure, petrified fear

It's the morning of, and everyone in the house is tense. Your Ma has been up since 5am, chain smoking in her dressing gown and you can't face your breakfast. 

You are just now contemplating whether or not it would really be so bad if you had to repeat. (It's not that bad, here's some inside experience)

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3. Panic mode

You're in the car on the way to pick up the results, and it's taking every fibre of your being not to be sick on the way there. 

This is potentially the most nerve wracking stage of the whole ordeal. 

The driver isn't speaking much and you wish the lad on the radio would stop going on about the number of people who got all A1s. 

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2. Acceptance

You're walking into school to get your results, and noticing that everyone looks similarly sickly and terrified. 

Of course there are a few people giving it large and messing, but, like most people, you have accepted that your fate is sealed inside that brown envelope. 

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1. Sweet sweet RELIEF

Whether you got 600 points or just about scraped by, it doesn't matter now, it's all over. 

No matter what the results of the Leaving Cert, it definitely doesn't define what you will do in your life, and a part of you knows that as you slide the certificate back into the envelope and head off to confer with your mates. 

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Tomorrow is the big day for Leaving Cert students: The results are officially IN and their time in fresh hell of exams is soon to be over.

With CAO offers coming in on Tuesday, the nerves are bound to be fully shredded by the end of the week. 

What can one do to distract oneself from the horror of exam results? Have a cheeky Nando's, of course, but on the house.


A post shared by  (@ireland_nandos) on

Celebrate or commiserate with Nando's for free, if you bring your results (via paper, email or text) and a valid form of ID into one of their restaurants you can get your Peri-Peri reward.

The free lunch is available for students in the UK and Ireland on the relevant exam results day.

The special Nando's offer is a free quarter chicken or fire-starter menu item, so you don't want to miss it.

The offer runs on Tuesday, August 13 for Leaving Cert students, as well as a September date for the Junior Cert kids.


A post shared by  (@nandosuk) on

Who doesn't want free food in exchange for the pain of examinations? The only catch is that yoou have to make a minimum spend of €7 to get the free delicious chicken.

That's definitely manageable. A whole Nando's meal with sides and a drink is normally around €20, so €7 seems like a steal.

Check a full list of all the chain's restaurants here, as well as the offer's terms and conditions. Good luck to everyone getting their results tomorrow, you'll have forgotten them in a few months!

Feature image: Instagram/@NandosUK


My parents were quite strict when I was growing up. So, I became a master at bullshit stories about where I was going or what I was doing. Sorry, let me rephrase that –  I thought I was a master at it.

It was more like I had done a six-week course that I didn’t complete in Successful Bullshitting. Still, that was all going to change when I hit eighteen. I was going to be an adult and I could do whatever I wanted, I would have total freedom. That’s what I thought and that’s what I was living for.

The plan worked for all of two months before I found out I was pregnant. So, to say I spoke too soon is an understatement.

I had a bad feeling I was pregnant. Protection had been used, but I had this pain in my gut that told me something was up…like when you just know they’ve forgotten your garlic sauce when you order takeaway. It is like that, times a million zillion, kinda thing.

I went into town to buy a pregnancy test. I didn’t want to buy one locally in case I’d bump into someone I knew. I went into boots in Stephen Green Shopping Centre in the centre of Dublin City. I was in and out as quickly as possible. I went to the toilets and did the test.

I could see the result coming up pretty much straight away. I slid down the wall of the cubicle and cried silently for about 20 minutes. It wasn’t shock, it was grief. The carefree life I had planned for myself had died at that moment.

Apart from my friend Laura, I had told no one. At the time, my parents were out most evenings at the hospital because my Grandma was dying. For the next few weeks, I was pretty much in a haze. I’d cry myself to sleep and pray that I would wake up covered in blood. In my mind, at the time this would mean I'd had a miscarriage and the whole thing would be over.

It was the only thing on my mind 24/7. Every time I found myself involved in a conversation- the Leaving Cert, Debs, summer holiday with school friends, college choices all that was going through my head was I'M F*CKED, I'M F*CKED, I'M F*CKED. I drifted away from family and friends. I wasn’t laughing, or singing ridiculously catchy songs like I always had (I still do this and it’s very irritating for everyone around me). I had completely checked out. I had a huge secret which was only going to get bigger and bigger, quite literally.

When I was about two and a half months pregnant, I decided to tell my mother.

I wrote a letter. Left it on the kitchen table and ran across the road to Laura’s house. It was the easier option, yes, but I physically could not say the words- ‘I’m pregnant’.  What seemed like a very short time later. my mam followed me over to Laura’s. She came in, gave me a hug and told me to come home when I was ready.

So that’s when the pregnancy became real. It was no longer a secret.

And things got a lot better (but very real) very quickly. The first thing my dad said to me was ‘I quite like the idea of being a grandad’. Which at the time meant so much to me because being the youngest and only girl I really felt I had disappointed him. I slowly realised that my parents were on my team and they were going to do everything to help.

The next few months were challenging.

I continue to go to school where I felt like a bigger alien day by day. The plan was always to do my Leaving Cert. I become obsessed that if nothing else I would get to do my Leaving Cert, I could have control over this. The thoughts of having to do it again and repeat my final year was just too much.

I went for an appointment at the hospital on my due date. I was waiting for a stretcher to be pulled out and for all the staff to tell me this baby was coming.

But it wasn’t. I’d have to be two weeks overdue to be induced. ‘Don’t worry, plenty of women have done their Leaving Certs in here’ I was told.  It was just over two weeks to the Leaving Cert starting. With this bombshell, I just broke down.


A post shared by Emma Doran (@emmadorancomedian) on

Mother nature did end up throwing me a bone though and I had my daughter four days later. 13 days after that I sat my Leaving Cert which was a surreal experience.

I was given my own room to sit the Leaving Cert. At the time, it was an option for a student if they have been through an illness or I suppose, in my case, child birth.

It did make the process even more intense looking back at it now. I’d do an exam in my old class with the school receptionist as supervisor and then walk home and feed my daughter.

I remember one of the girls came over to me and asked me how my baby girl was. It was so nice to have one of my peers who I haven’t seen in what felt like a lifetime acknowledge that the outcome of a stressful pregnancy had been my beautiful daughter.

I think though, in many ways, I was still the alien and people just didn’t know what to say to me.

When the Leaving Cert was over, just like everyone, I could take a breath. I wasn’t going on holidays with all my friends. I had a very different summer. I didn’t really know the person I was before I was a mother but I didn’t even recognise the person in the early weeks of my pregnancy. She was completely gone. I was just like any other first-time mother-full of love, fear, exhaustion and newfound wisdom.

Now, as a parent to three children, one of the things I really take from the experience is (apart from my girl, the light of my life, of course) is how my parents dealt with the whole thing.

I always try to remind myself that my children are their own human beings and I can’t make decisions for them. But if they need me in difficult times, it’s how I deal with that that matters. They have been my rock and my biggest supporters when I didn’t make it easy. And that’s the real test- being there for your child when they decide to feck off to work in a chipper in Courtown for the summer and come home pregnant.

Follow more of Emma's adventures on her Facebook page.



Exam season is officially upon us, and while we're loving all this glorious Leaving Cert weather, we can't help but be reminded of our own experiences. 

To mark the occasion, we've a taken a little trip down memory lane and compiled a list of all the cringiest  fashion trends from the years gone by.

From Ugg boots to Kanye glasses, we've all had style moment we'd rather forget about – what's yours? 

2017 – Plastic jeans 

2016 – Emoji clothing 

2015 – Furry sliders 

2014 – The naked dress 

2013 – Wedge runners

2012 – Over-the-forehead headbands 

2011 – Drop crotch pants 

2010 – Boot sandals 

2009 – Military jackets 

2008 – Kanye sunglasses 

2007 – Low-rise jeans 

2006 – Charity wristbands 

2005 – Ugg boots with everything 

2004 – Jeans under dresses 

2003 – Von Dutch hats 

2002 – Thin scarves 

2001 – All over denim

2000 – Wearing ties as belts 




The mere thought of sitting the Leaving Cert again makes me feel queasy. The memories of my final year exams aren’t pleasant, and I’m sure I’m not the only Irish person who feels that way.

Reading crumpled history notes through strained eyes at 2 am became a staple part of my nighttime routine during sixth year.

Some people sail through exam season, but other succumb to the pressure of the Leaving Cert.

We got frustrated over our struggle to understand Pythagoras’ theorem.

We shed tears over the pressure to memorise quotes from Macbeth for higher level English.

We had nightmares about not getting enough points for our dream college course.

I couldn’t possibly go back to that time of never-ending stress, tears and the Straith Pictíur, unlike broadcaster Stephen Byrne who went back-to-school nearly a decade after he sat his Leaving Cert.


A post shared by Stephen Byrne (@stephenbyrne) on

The former YouTube star has a show on one of the nation’s biggest radio stations and has interviewed everyone from Oprah to Steven Speilberg, so why on earth would you swap the Oscar red carpet for French grammar lessons?

He told SHEmazing: “It felt incredibly different but all so similar at the same time. When I first sat down in Geography and began learning about rocks, it felt incredibly nostalgic.”

The one difference he noted was young people’s ability to open up about their mental health: “The progressiveness of young people and their vocabulary around mental health though has changed in a major way."

He explained: “I felt very proud to sit among the students I spent my classes with but at the same time was incredibly jealous of that experience too."

"I feel like LGBT people of my generation have a somewhat delayed adolescence because we didn't get to experience similar things to other young people as we were suppressing ourselves for much longer. “

The documentary is bound to start a huge conversation surrounding young people’s mental health, but the entire process took quite the knock on the 28-year-old.


A post shared by Stephen Byrne (@stephenbyrne) on

Despite his struggles, Stephen described the experience as one of the most cathartic journeys of his life

“I was quite lost last year and that felt very similar to how I felt during my original exam year so this sort of bridged a connection between that younger version of me and my current self,” he commented.


A post shared by Stephen Byrne (@stephenbyrne) on

It’s clear the Leaving Cert doesn’t cater to everyone. At the end of the day, it’s a memory test and the students who can memorise poetry quotes and geography facts the best are rewarded.

We never truly see the real picture of what life as a Leaving Cert student is like. People share good luck tweets during exam season and like photos of their friend's results on Instagram, but Leaving Again will open the eyes of the public to the reality of the Leaving Cert.

Leaving Again airs on RTÉ One at 10:15 pm.



With the intense pressures of performing well in the Leaving Cert, it seems that some Irish students have turned to cheating to nab those coveted points. 

80 students who sat their Leaving Cert exams this year have had their results withdrawn due to suspicions of cheating. 

The State Examinations Commission has confirmed to The Irish Times that the sets of results are being “permanently withheld” from 43 of these students.

The Commission is still investigating the rest of the cases. 

Students have the option to appeal cheating allegations. 

It is not known what methods were used to cheat by the students. 

Electronic methods have been used in years previously, with students utilising technology to cheat in their State examinations. 




Today, over 57,000 students will receive their Leaving Cert results.

This is the second year of the new exam grading system and it appears to make the overall process better for students. A total of six students received eight H1s. A further 7,490 have received at least one H1 each.

There has been a notable improvement in subjects like physics, math and chemistry.

One of the top three grades in biology also jumped from 39 percent to 45 percent this year.

However, the top-three grades in higher Irish and English are slightly lower compared to the 2017 results.

Richard Bruton congratulated students earlier this morning: “I would like to congratulate all those students receiving their #LeavingCert results this morning. You should all be very proud of the hard work you have put in and what you have achieved.”

He reminded students of all the different paths ahead of them: “There are more opportunities now than ever before to help you achieve your ambitions in life, whether you choose the apprenticeship, traineeship, further education or third level route.”

The Minister for Education also made sure to reassure students who may feel disappointed by their results. It’s vital to remind youths that these results are not the be all and end all.

“For students who may not have done as well as you hoped, don’t panic, take time to consider your options and remember that no matter what your results are today, there are opportunities for you,” he shared.

Good luck to everyone receiving their Leaving Cert results today.

You should celebrate your own results and acknowledge this huge achievement whether you get 600 points or 200 points.


The Leaving Cert holiday is a rite of passage for most Irish teenagers.

To celebrate school finishing forever, you head off with your mates to Santa Ponsa or Aya Napa for a week with no parents and no rules.

Or so Mick Molloy thought.

Mick's mum was one step ahead of the other parents who simply give you a lecture before you get on the plane. 

She decided to set down a few rules of her own that her son could take abroad with him. 

Mick, from Gorey, shared the list on Twitter and it is pure gold. 

The orders include to ''stay away from dodgy tattoo parlours with dirty needles'', to ''avoid balconies completely'' and also to ''walk away from fights.'' 

Also notice that the ''use condoms'' rule had double stars next to it – Mammy Molloy isn't taking any chances!

Best of luck on your trip lads, but better luck with sticking to those rules. 



The country is currently in the midst of exam-itis, with its young people worrying about passing state tests, the elderly lighting candles with a vehement fervour, and those of us in the middle casting our minds back to the time when we did what could arguably be considered the most difficult, stressful exams some of us will ever take. 

When I underwent the trauma of my first Leaving Cert back in 2011, I went into it with a very laissez-faire attitude. 

This was because I had applied to art college, and had already gotten in based on my portfolio of work alone. 

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So, feeling like the smug little brat, I was aged 17 (barely, I turned 17 two months before the Leaving Cert loomed) and I coasted through, doing the bare minimum for subjects I hated like Maths and Economics, and throwing myself lavishly upon the subjects I loved, like Art, English and History. 

It's safe to say that by the time my results rolled around by the end of that summer, those were the only three subjects I had done anything close to well in, but feeling safe in the knowledge that my life as an amazing artist was about to unfold before me, I didn't think much of my 300 point score. 

I honestly wasn't too bothered. It was only later hearing the high flying marks that had been awarded to my friends did I feel slightly sub par. Comparison truly is the thief of joy. 

There was also an awkward moment on our result night out, when one of the girls – laughing because some had asked her how she got on – said 'I did grand, at least I didn't get, like, 300 points or something.' 

An unnatural hush fell upon the group as we sat outside in the fading Leaving Cert weather sunshine, as everyone knew how I had scored in the great, defining points system. 

She realised her indiscretion immediately and apologised, red-faced and completely mortified over her slip of the tongue, but it definitely stuck with me.

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I pottered off to art college that coming September, moved out of home, and finally committed myself to doing art full time – something I had always wanted to do.

It was only when I finally got to art college, after years of dreaming about it, that I realised, while I love conceptualising creative ideas and expressing myself through art, the discipline and technical ability required for fine art simply wasn't something I had in my arsenal of talents. 

I had always written a fashion blog and loved fashion photography, so I threw myself into those areas of creativity when I realised that painting and sculpture were just too hands-on for my skill set. 

I came to the end of my first year and finished up at art college, knowing I wouldn't be returning again. I scraped FETAC accolade in Art and Design and met my ultimate existential crisis: What now? 

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I was barely 18, living with my complete dosser and fellow artist of a boyfriend, and knew that I wanted to continue my education, but just not in the field I had always thought.

So, I looked to what had always been my close second-to-favourite subject, English, for guidance. I had always loved writing, it was the one thing that came so naturally to me, but I never felt that it was a viable career path for me because I had always been so caught up in following my dreams of doing art. 

Unfortunately, the points I had secured in the Leaving Cert were coming back to haunt me, as no university would accept me for an English degree with 300 points – that's just a fact. 

So, I made one of the most defining and life-changing decisions I have probably ever made, and after a full year of independently going to college, I decided to return to my old secondary school and repeat the Leaving Cert. 

As my friends were venturing into their second year of university study, I was dusting off the plaid skirt of our old school uniform and making the far too familiar journey to our secondary school – something I never thought I would do ever again. 

Repeating was difficult. The first morning I walked into that assembly and looked into the sea of unfamiliar faces made of students, who had been two years below me in school, I was met with ones of confusion as people wondered 'why the hell is she back here?' It was sufficiently weird.

But, I knew I was back for a very specific reason, and I felt that the time was right for me to apply myself in a way I never had before. 

It was gruelling getting back into the swing of secondary school-style studying; memorising reams of information and pages of facts, and after the freedom of a full year of college, dashing to class at the ring of a bell and adjusting to wearing a uniform again was tough. 

Seeing my best friends from school enjoying their second year of college and trying to play catch up was also horrible. It was like I had two lives, in one I was myself, keeping up with nights out with my friends and trying to adult while in the other I was a bag of nerves, studying at any spare minute while clutching a copy of Less Stress More Success in each hand. 

Luckily, people were nice, the class of fellow repeats, who had been in the year below me before, were hugely supportive of each other as we swotted away in our study room, and I had definitely matured in my year away from home, and knew that I had to sacrifice this year to these exams in order to create the life I saw for myself in the future.

I hadn't fully appreciated this the first time around, so by the time my second Leaving Cert arrived, I actually felt the white-hot heat of pressure that I had missed out on previously. 

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The exams happened, I barely remember them now almost six years later, but I passed everything with somewhat flying colours, and at the end of that summer I was accepted into Dublin City University to study Journalism on a scholarship. 

I loved every second of my three years at DCU, so much so that I then went on to do a fourth in the form of a Masters Degree in Public Relations and Strategic Communications to compliment by Bachelors degree. 

Journalism was the right choice for me, and obviously it worked out because you're reading this article right now. 

One thing that really stuck with me about my LC experience is that putting pressure on a 16 or 17-year-old to decide what they want to pursue as their ultimate career is madness, and it's no wonder I thought art was for me when the only experience I had of it was my four hours a week in school. 

I spent a long time scared shitless that I would make another misstep, and follow the wrong path, but it's a risk you have to take.  

When it comes to deciding what you want to do in college, make sure you choose something that you know will make you happy, and that you know you have the capacity for. 

Seek out internships, talk to your school about getting work experience, and try your hand at as many things as possible until you find the thing that fits. 

If I hadn't been so single-minded and stubborn to pursue art and had opened my eyes a little to the possibilities that came from the other subjects I enjoyed, I might have gotten to where I am quite a lot faster. 



A total of 52,374 third-level applicants will be offered at least one college course this morning, the Central Applications Office has confirmed.

Points for more than half of all honours degree courses are down from last year's figures, while close to 10 per cent saw no change at all.

Just over 300 level eight courses saw points rise, however, these increases were limited to 15 points or less in most cases.

While the volume of applications has remained relatively unchanged, almost 1,700 additional level eight course were offered to applicants by 35 colleges this year.

Teaching degrees saw the biggest decrease, while many nursing courses also had significantly lower entry requirements, though applicants fell by 5 per cent in this case.

Some areas of study with traditionally high points, such as medicine and dentistry, have risen slightly.

Arts remains the most popular choice for applicants, with slight in creases and decreases seen across individual colleges.

Applicants have until next Monday, August 28, to accept their first round offer.



We all remember the moment : Walking into your school assembly, palms sweating, after a summer of stressing, to receive the results of the Leaving Cert. 

You had barely slept the night before, and that slightly sickly feeling of apprehension caused your stomach to lurch as trembling fingers ripped the top off that brown envelope. 

Almost 60,000 secondary school students are going through those emotions this morning, as they collect their results from their respective schools around the country. 

This year saw a new grading system, where CAO points were awarded for scores over 30 per cent, rather than 40 per cent as was the norm previously.

This could be responsible for the rise in students opting to take Higher Level subjects.

Higher Lever Irish saw a 10 per cent increase of students taking the paper, while Maths saw an 8 per cent increase. 

The more lenient grading system has seen a decrease in failure rates this year. 

According to The Irish Times, failure rates have dropped by an average of 50 per cent across key subjects.



Ladies, it's that time again.

We're halfway through August, 'Back to School' signs are going up in every store around the country, and thousands of Leaving Cert students are desperately trying to remember whether they used the right formula in question 3 of Maths Paper 2.

That's right; the results are out tomorrow, and Twitter is currently awash with posts from 6th Year students who would rather do anything else than tear open that envelope tomorrow morning.

Let's take a look…

1. Oh, Casey.

2. It'll always be the dream, Annie. 

3. Our lips are sealed, Sammy. 

4. Just about everyone, Grainne. 

5. You said it, Breeanna. 

6. Everyone when they open that envelope. 

7. Yep, looks about right. 

And while those awaiting results gnaw their knuckles to the bone, and question their very existence, older Twitter users are, thankfully, on hand to offer some sage advice.