The Junior Certificate

The Junior Certificate

The Junior Certificate examination is held at the end of the Junior Cycle in post-primary schools. The Junior Cycle caters for students in the 13 to 15 year old age group. Students normally sit for the examinations at the age of 14 or 15, after 3 years of post-primary education.
However, candidature for the examination is not limited to post-primary school students. A candidate following an approved course of study outside the State or who is attending an approved course of study organised under the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme , Adult Literacy and Community Education Schemes, the Department of Social and Family Affairs second-level scheme for the unemployed or an analogous scheme, may be admitted to the examinations on payment of the appropriate fee.

Subject Choice

The examination is offered in the following subjects and levels. For curriculum information for each of these subjects please click on this link to the website of the Department of Education and Science.

Irish Higher, Ordinary and Foundation
English Higher, Ordinary and Foundation
Mathematics Higher, Ordinary and Foundation
History Higher and Ordinary
Geography Higher and Ordinary
French Higher and Ordinary
German Higher and Ordinary
Spanish Higher and Ordinary
Italian Higher and Ordinary
Art, Craft & Design Higher and Ordinary
Music Higher and Ordinary
Science Higher and Ordinary
Science (with Local Studies) Higher and Ordinary
Home Economics Higher and Ordinary
Materials Technology (Wood) Higher and Ordinary
Metalwork Higher and Ordinary
Technical Graphics Higher and Ordinary
Business Studies Higher and Ordinary
Typewriting Higher and Ordinary
Environmental and Social Studies (ESS) Higher and Ordinary
Technology Higher and Ordinary
Latin Higher and Ordinary
Ancient Greek Higher and Ordinary
Classical Studies Higher and Ordinary
Hebrew Studies Higher and Ordinary
Religious Education Higher and Ordinary
Civic, Social and Political Education (CSPE) Common

Other EU Language Subjects

Examinations in a number of other EU language subjects are also offered on a non-curricular basis and subject to candidates meeting certain criteria.
Please click here for further information.

Subject Exclusions

Candidates may not take any of following subject combinations :

  • Classical Studies and Latin
  • Classical Studies and Greek

Composition of the Examination

The examination incorporates written tests in all subjects except Art, Craft and Design. There are optional oral examinations in the subjects Irish, French, German, Italian and Spanish. There are practical examinations in Art, Craft and Design; Music; Home Economics Metalwork (Higher Level only). There is Practical Course Work in Art, Craft and Design; Materials technology (Wood); Home Economics; Religious Education; Metalwork; Environmental and Social Studies and Civic, Social and Political Education, Technology and Science.


Results of the Junior Certificate examination subjects are given in the form of grades. Each grade represents a percentage range of marks as follows.

Percentage Range
85 or over A
70 but less than 85 B
55 but less than 70 C
40 but less than 55 D
25 but less than 40 E
10 but less than 25 F
Less than 10 No Grade



Information taken from