Senior Cycle

Subjects – Senior Cycle

The curriculum is based on the syllabus of the Department of Education for Leaving Certificate.

Career Guidance is provided to all students in the selection of subjects at the appropriate level.

Subject Choices

  • Accounting
  • Agriculture Science
  • Art 
  • Biology
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Construction Studies
  • Design & Communication Graphics
  • Economics
  • English
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Irish
  • LCVP
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physics
  • Physical Education (New Subject)
  • Religious Education


In Physics we study events in the Universe and with Laws and Principles we try to explain them. Physics is also an experimental subject and practical work by students is mandatory. This develops the ability to observe, think logically, understand and use scientific method and to communicate effectively.
Records of practical work done must be kept and be available for inspection. Inspectors from the Department of Education and Science visit selected schools between Christmas and Easter before the Leaving Certificate Examination and they interview the student and give his experiment copy a thorough inspection. If records of practical work are not up to a certain standard the student will not be allowed to sit the written physics examination.

Course content

  • Light and Sound Waves
  • Gravity, Motion, Force and Heat
  • Electricity and Semiconductors
  • Atomic Physics
  • Particle Physics or Applied Electricity
As mathematics is the principal language of the physicist, and is more concise and accurate than words, the completion of the Honours Junior Certificate Mathematics Course is desirable but not essential. The ability to manipulate numbers and learn formulae is essential along with an interest in problem solving.


The Leaving Certificate Physics examination consists of one three-hour paper. It is divided into two sections. Section A on mandatory experiments, Section B problem solving questions.


Careers in Physics are found mainly in Industry, Research and Development, Education, Health, Computers, Electronics, Communications, Meteorology and Environment and in Aviation.


Economics is one of the social sciences; that is it studies human behavior. In general it explores how man can reconcile infinite wants with the limited resources available.


In the microeconomics half of the course we study how the price of a good is reached, whether a firm can be profitable and efficient and how the optimum combination of the four practices of production, (land, labour, capital and enterprise), is reached. This part of the course requires from the student analytical and partly mathematical skills as well as an ability to draw and interpret diagrams.


This side of the course may be more familiar to the student. In Macroeconomics we stand back from the individual firm and examine the overall economy in its national and international contexts. We explore the banking systems, government budgeting, the measure and significance of inflation and of national income. We study how best a government may balance different policies (such as lowering taxes or raising interest rates), with stated goals (such as reducing unemployment or improving wealth distribution). In International Economics we explore the role of international agencies such as the European Union and GATT and we examine how the value of the punt may be maintained. A good command of English and a clear, logical mind are required for the macroeconomics part of the course.


The Leaving Certificate examination is made up of a short multiple choice style section and a series of longer, essay type analyses.

Career options

The study of Economics equips the student with a broad understanding of economic issues that at least indirectly affect everyone’s daily life. It is an aid for careers in the Civil Service, in industry, financial services, business analyses, insurance, journalism, public administration, engineering, social sciences and research.


Leaving Certificate German forms a continuation of the Junior Certificate Cycle. In keeping with modern language teaching trends, emphasis is placed firmly on communication through the target language.
Our aim is to prepare students for the Leaving Certificate exam to the best of their abilities. We also aim to enable students to handle a variety of situations through the medium of German and to give them the confidence and foundations necessary to cope with the language, should they choose to pursue their studies, work with one of the many Irish-based German companies, or indeed work or spend time in a German speaking country at a later stage.
In Fifth Year students begin with familiar everyday situations and topics relevant to young people in order to revise and reinforce work already done at Junior Certificate level. The class then advances from this stage.
The Leaving Certificate syllabus concentrates on four main areas:


Students demonstrate an understanding of the spoken language – candidates will be required to listen to a tape recording and understand general information and specific details. The listening comprehension consists of 4 sections and answers are to be given in German and English depending on the section and level in question (worth 20% of overall marks at Higher Level and 25% at Ordinary Level).


The student should show an ability to communicate in the spoken language – and will sit an oral exam lastingapproximately 14 minutes (worth 25% of overall marks at Higher Level and 20% at Ordinary Level). The oral exam consists of the following:
  • general conversation
  • picture sequences – i.e. to tell picture storiesor a project
  • a role-play situation
Picture sequences and role-play materials are available to the students and are prepared in advance, enabling the student to approach the exam with confidence.
Students, if they wish, also have the option of discussing a project that they have prepared, instead of doing the role play section. A selection of German films will also be studied and these can also be spoken about in the German oral exam.
The oral and aural components of the exam count for 45% or the overall mark at both Higher and Ordinary Levels.


Students answer reading comprehension questions based on two (Higher Level) or three (Ordinary Level) texts. Pupils will be expected to demonstrate an understanding of texts such as:
  • extracts from literary texts
  • usually newspaper or magazine articles/ journalistic texts
Answers are in German or English depending on the section and level in question.


Students will demonstrate their ability to communicate in the written language – Students have a choice and will be required to use their knowledge of German to discuss a range or issues relevant to young people, e.g. sport, work, travel and holidays, technology, mobile phones, travel, media, films, books, etc.
Tasks can include (depending on level and year in question):
  • expressing attitudes and opinions on topics (Äußerung zum Thema)
  • giving and obtaining information (e.g. writing an email or letter)
  • describing picture sequences, a photo or cartoons
  • writing part of a brief dialogue or a note
A modern continental language is a valued asset and provides a gateway to careers in the areas of industry, commerce, travel and tourism. German is the first language of almost 100 million Europeans and is also widely spoken in many of the new E.U. member states.


Leaving Certificate French is essentially a continuation of Junior Certificate French. In keeping with modern language teaching trends, the emphasis is placed firmly on communication through the target language. We want our students to be able to communicate through French and to develop a good understanding of spoken and written French.
Again, practical, everyday situations and topics relevant to young people form the basis from which we begin. For the Leaving certificate however, and particularly at honours level, our students are required to attain a much higher level of competence.
Speaking, reading, listening and writing are the four dimensions of our language teaching. Reinforcing work done already at Junior Certificate level, our students will be encouraged to speak in French about themselves and their interests. This naturally will begin at a simple level, and as they progress they will learn to handle more sophisticated topics such as their tastes in music, their interests and opinions and their reactions to current topics of social and political interest.
This is naturally a gradual process but over time students can become quite fluent and such fluency is the preparation for the oral examination, which is part of the Leaving Certificate examination.
At the same time our students are reading material that is relevant to such topics. They are reading about the attitudes of French people to such varied issues as education, relationships, the environment and fashion. They are finding out how to make reservations and how to get more information about France and the French way of life. They are also being introduced to excerpts from French literature.
Listening comprehension follows the same pattern. Starting from a relatively simple level, our students learn to listen to and to understand a wide range of recorded material. They will listen to excerpts from the French news, to conversations relating to issues effecting French people today and to people asking for information about a wide range of topics.
Simultaneously, our students are developing their writing skills. At the end of their Leaving Certificate course, they will have mastered a wide range of writing skills. They will be able to write good personal letters, discussing their own interests and giving and asking opinions about a broad range of subjects.
They will also be able to write business letters and will have the technical knowledge to format correctly such letters. They will have mastered the skills involved in leaving written messages, in making reservations and in coping with a broad range of practical situations.
Particularly at honours level, students will have learned to express their opinions about a range of contemporary issues such as the environment, sport and politics, and to react to opinions expressed across such a range of topics.


The Leaving Certificate examination consists of an oral examination, a tape test and a reading comprehension test and a written section .


Geography is concerned with the study of people and their environment. A study of geography will help students develop an understanding of their physical and human surroundings.


  • To promote a knowledge and understanding of a selection of contrasting physical and human environments.
  • To promote an awareness of the spatial, structural, and temporal patterns of environmental phenomena.
  • To understand the opportunities and challenges of global independence.
  • To promote conservation of the earth’s resources.
  • To recognise and be sensitive to other people and their cultures.
  • To develop a variety of geographical skills which can be applied to the world of work and to many other aspects of life.
  • To develop and promote active citizenship.
  • To encourage the use of information and communication technologies.
  • To assist students to become well-informed and responsible citizens.
  • To provide students with an interesting and enjoyable experience.



The course objectives list the knowledge and understanding, concepts, skills and attitudes which students should acquire through their study of Leaving Cert geography. They are based on and progress from the objectives of the Junior Cert.
They include a knowledge and understanding of basic spatial relationships, physical and environmental processes social, cultural and economic phenomena, the interaction between physical, environmental, social, cultural and economic phenomena.
Students should have the opportunity to develop various skills including:
  • Information gathering skills
  • Information and communication technology
  • Presentation and communication skills
  • Investigative skills
  • Social skills
  • Evaluation skills



There will be a final written examination and a geographical report. There will be a separate written examination for Higher and Ordinary level students. The written examination will have an assessment weighting of 80% and the report on the geographical investigation will have a weighting of 20%

Construction Studies

The Construction studies course introduces pupils to the knowledge and skills involved in construction technology and construction materials and practices. The course promotes theoretical study with integrated practical and project work. The Construction studies course enhances the knowledge and skills developed in the Wood Technology course at Junior Certificate level.
The students will combine studies of our architectural past with the technologies of modern architecture and the built environment. The combination of investigative and design work with the practice of sound craft skills provides the students with a unique learning experience and allows the development of discerning consumers in our modern world.

Course outline

The course can be divided into three main areas.
  • Construction engineering and drawing
  • Practical skills
  • Course work and projects


Construction theory and drawing

This involves the study of construction details, practices and materials. The students learn how to analyze various situations and determine how different materials and details will react both in a physical and in a scientific manner. The building regulations are adhered to in all studies.
The pupils learn to communicate their ideas through a whole range of media including freehand sketching, written work, draughting and computers.
The topics covered range from the following:
  • Historical development of buildings
  • Planning permission
  • Substructure, i.e. foundations, concretes and sites investigation
  • Superstructure, i.e. walls windows, doors and roofs
  • Internal construction, i.e. partitions, floors, stairs, dry lining, painting and decorating
  • Services and external work, i.e. hot and cold water systems, heating systems, underground and overground drainage, fireplaces, electrical installation and circuits
  • Heat and thermal effects in buildings, i.e. U valves, insulation and human comfort
  • Illumination in buildings
  • Sound in buildings


Practical skills

This involves the development of woodworking techniques and skills, initiated at Junior Certificate level. The pupils will experience fine craft skill in relation to joinery construction woodworking joints and projects.

Course work and projects

The students must compile and submit:
  • Workshop / laboratory course work reports on assignments and experiments carried out and
  • The results of a project undertaken during the course.
The project may be:
  • A building detail involving three craft practices or
  • A building science project relating to craft practice or
  • A written drawn project relating to craft or architectural heritage, including a model.



The assessment consists of three separate sections, which are combined together:
  • Practical exam 150 marks
  • Project / course work 150 marks
  • Written exam (Higher level 300 marks, Ordinary level 200 marks)


Career options

The constructions studies course allows a wide range of careers to be followed, some of which are outlined below.
Civil engineering, architecture, quantity surveying, architectural technician, interior design, furniture design and restoration, all related trades such as carpentry, plumbing, etc, industrial design, teaching, wood science and industrial site management.

Design & Communication Graphics

Design and Communication Graphics is of significant value to the general educational and intellectual development of its participants. This new course offers the student the opportunity to make use of Computer Aided Technology.

Course content

The course is made up of a core, common to all students along with five options of which two will be studied. This accounts for 60% of the subject, the remaining 40% will be marked through a student assignment.
For this assignment students will be required to compile a portfolio of work on a given theme. They will be expected to use various presentation media e.g. traditional board and tee square drawings, C.A.D drawings, freehand sketches and the use of digital cameras and scanners to produce photo realistic images.

Core areas

All topics in the core are to be covered. The core is divided into two areas:

Plane and Descriptive Geometry

  • Projection systems
  • Plane Geometry
  • Conic sections
  • Descriptive Geometry
  • Intersection and development of surfaces


Graphics in Design and Communication

  • Communication of Design
  • Freehand Sketching
  • Computer Aided Design



There are five options of which two will be studied
  • Surface Geometry
  • Geologic Geometry
  • Structural Forms
  • Dynamic Mechanisms
  • Assemblies



The core topics and chosen options will be assessed in the form of a one three-hour exam in the state exams. Students will have the choice of a higher or ordinary level paper. This exam accounts for 60% of the marks. The students’ assignment accounts for the remaining 40%. This assignment will be based on a theme, with different themes offered for Higher and Ordinary Levels. It will be completed over a period of time in school under the supervision of the class teacher and then submitted for examination.


DCG is the language of engineers, architects and designers. It is an excellent choice of subject for any student with reasonable spatial problem solving abilities as is developed in the Junior Cycle Tech Graphics course. Such students will find DCG a challenging and rewarding subject choice. The skills developed will provide him with an indispensable range of cognitive problem solving strategies suitable for a wide range of possible future careers.


Art, at any level is a subject for life. Apart from gaining skills in sketching, drawing and painting, the student acquires an appreciation of his natural and man-made environment.
Taste, tact, flair and style are developed as the student learns the many and varied aspects of colour, tone, textures, forms and shapes. He can differentiate between the gaudy and the classic in a painting, in a film, in colour schemes, in furniture, in advertising; the list is endless. While art is viewed very much as a creative subject, the reality is that its application is rooted in day to day living.


The examination comprises four different sections. Three take place in May and one takes place in June.
  1. Life sketching: Two sketches are required, drawing from a live model.
  2. Design/Craft: A week is allowed to prepare for this paper. Preparatory pieces are brought into the examination. The finished piece may be a poster, a book cover, a CD, or video cover, a design suitable for printing, calligraphy, etc.
  3. Imaginative composition and still life: This paper is distributed a few days before the examination. A drawing or painting is required. There is lots of scope and a wide range of choice and options.
  4. Art History and Appreciation: A minimum of twelve questions is given from which the student must answer three. One from Irish Art History, one from European and one from General Appreciation. This examination takes place in June.


While studying the past, the subject of History helps us to better understand the world in which we live today. It also helps us to see present day conflicts in a new light. For those with an interest in current affairs, politics, socio-economics and matters military, history encompasses all of these and more.
The subject requires a lot of reading, some of which must be done outside the course. Video material, particularly of a documentary nature, is extensively used.
For many the study of History is a labour of love and the subject remains a hobby long after the Leaving Certificate.

Syllabus framework

The syllabus framework comprises two inter-linking parts as follows:
  • Working with evidence
  • Topics for study


Working with evidence

  • Introduction: history and the historian
  • A documents based study
  • A research study
Students will be given a pre1iminary introduction to the nature of history and the work of the historian. This will form the basis for future work on the topics, on the documents-based study and on the research study.
Students will undertake a documents-based study of one of the syllabus topics as the primary means of developing their skills in working with evidence.
Students will undertake a research study of a significant historical subject as a means of developing further their skills in working with evidence and as the primary means of developing their research skills.

Topics for study

The topics are arranged in two discrete fie1ds of study:
  • Early modern, 1492-1815
  • Later Modern, 1815-1893.
Students will study topics from one of the fields of study. Within each field of study, there are six topics from Irish history and two from the history of Europe and the wider world from the selected field of study.
Two topics will be prescribed for documents-based study: one from the Early Modern field of study and one from the Later Modern field of study. Students will engage in a documents-based study of the prescribed topic from their selected field of study.


The Higher level paper

  • Candidates will answer four questions, one from each of the four topics studied. Al.l four questions will be of value. Three of the questions will be general questions, while one will be documents-based.
  • With the exception of topics nominated for the documents based study, a specified number of questions will be asked on each of the topics.
  • In the case of each topic, at least two of the three perspectives will be examined each year.


The Ordinary level paper

  • Candidates will answer four questions, one topics studied. A1l four questions will be of equal value. 3 of the questions will be general questions, while one will be documents-based.
  • One question will be set on each topic.
  • An element of choice will be “built in” to each of the general questions.
  • A common format will apply to each of the general questions and each will be stimulus-driven. ‘The stimulus is intended to facilitate candidate recognition of the topic and as a reasonab1y gent1e lead-in to more testing examination of  knowledge and understanding. The common format will include stimulus-driven questions (testing comprehension and/or identification) and paragraphs or short essays 1inked to the key personalities and case studies.



Choosing history is an advantage for many employment areas. It is a subject that can open many doors” career-wise”. Some of these include careers in the media, radio, television and fi1m, teaching, research and politics.


Biology is the study of LIFE. As a subject, it is a gateway to exposing the student to many aspects of the scientific word. The current and recently updated syllabus is suited to students of varying capabilities and competencies in the science field. It is an essential core subject for any student contemplating further studies in the Life Sciences, Healthcare, Biotechnology, Medical, Paramedical, Environmental, and agricultural areas.
Aside from the many diverse and interesting career and further education options that Biology offers, its study also includes an excellent understanding of contemporary biological issues relating to human health, human environment, genetics, diseases and diversity of life.
It is a comprehensive syllabus requiring ongoing study to ensure continuity in understanding new concepts as they arise. Students with an enquiring mind and an interest in matters biological, whether intending to proceed to higher education or enter the workforce will find the course informative, interesting, challenging and relevant.
An essential component is the attainment of skills in practical laboratory activities.

Course content

  • 70% of the course syllabus constitutes pure science.
  • 30% of the course consists of technological, political, social and economic aspects of Biology.
It is divided into three units:
  1. Scientific method, Life characteristics, Food, Nutrition,Eco1ogy, Ecosystem study.
  2. Microscopy, the Cell, Metabolism, Enzymes, Photosynthesis, Respiration, Genetics and DNA.
  3. Microorganisms, Bacteria, Human Biology and Body systems, Flowering Plants and Plant bioloqy, Human and Plant Responses, Immune Responses, Plant reproduction, Human Reproduction.
Students will carry out mandatory 1aboratory experiments and a record of them shall be retained.

Assessment and exam

There will be a three-hour written examination available at Higher and at Ordinary level. All the material in the syllabus is examinable and practical work is an integral part of this.

Career options

The study of Biology is an essential passport into many interesting and challenging careers including research and development, Genetics, Nursing, Sports medicine, Microbiology, Medicine, Disease control , Agriculture , Horticulture, Equine studies, Science Degree, Teaching, Veterinary Science, Physiotherapy, Pharmacy and Alternative Medical practice.


Chemistry enables us to understand the breadth, beauty and balance of the world we live in; the reasons behind the different colours in fireworks, why knocking can take place in car engines, why some reactions are slow and others explosive etc. It helps to improve the quality of our lives through developments in medicine, pharmacology, engineering, agriculture and other science related areas.
Without chemistry there would be no modern medicines to relieve pain, control diseases or cure infections, no unbreakable bottles, no hi-fi equipment, no CDs or cassettes, no colourful paints, no fast cars, no photography or glossy magazines, etc. etc. etc.
Chemistry is an experimental subject and practical work is an integral part of the course. Students are required to do 28 mandatory experiments including; Flame testing metals, Analysis of everyday products like Iron Tablets, Indigestion Tablets, Household Cleaning agents, Studying Rates of Chemical reactions and the factors which effect this, Gas Production and combustion reactions, Analysis of Water, working with acids and bases, oxidising and reducing agents, separations and preparations; and many more. Every student must keep a record of his practical work and the Dept. of Education may inspect these records at any time. There is one compulsory question based on practical work on the L.C. paper but one will notice that many other questions contain aspects of practical work.
I should take Chemistry as a Leaving Cert subject if :
  1. I have basic Mathematical skills (very competent at ordinary level or better).
  2. I can grasp principles.
  3. I can apply these principles.
  4. I like doing practical work.
  5. I am prepared to work diligently and consistently through fifth and sixth year – impossible to “cram” this subject.
Students who can answer “yes” to all of the above are most suitable and welcome.

Careers and Chemistry

Chemistry offers a wide range of career options. As a discipline it has input into most scientific fields ranging from Brewing technology to patent work and from science laboratory technician to food processing. There are few if any jobs in science, applied science, engineering, electronics, computers, medicine where a knowledge of chemistry is not a decided advantage. Careers include Pharmacy, Mining, Nursing, Polymer Science, Chemical Engineering, Dairy Science, Industrial Chemistry, Textile Science, Food Science, Forensic Science, Veterinary Science. Photographic Processing, Medicine, Teaching, Applied Science, Pollution Control, Metallurgy, Cosmetic Science, Materials Science, Glass Technology, Dentistry, Geochemistry, Agriculture, Quality Control, Forestry and Biotechnology.


Accounting has a very positive role to play in the general education of senior students. Personal initiative, enterprise, logical organization, problem solving skills and decision-making are developed during the programme.

Course content

Financial accounting (80% of course)

This involves summarizing information about an organization’s past business transactions and then determining its financial performance and financial position during a given period. Examples of topics covered here are, accounts, sole traders, clubs, farms and companies, depreciation, bad debts and cash flow statements.

Management accounting (20% of course)

This is concerned with providing information to managers, which will assist them in planning, controlling and decision making in the future. Examples of topics covered here are product-costing, budgets for purchases, sales, labour and production.


The Leaving Certificate examination consists of one three hour paper comprising:
  • Two sections on financial accounting (80%)
  • One section on management accounting (20%)


Career options

A qualification in accounting is a passport for work in a huge variety of organisations and countries. It remains an attractive route to a career in accounting and financial services, auditing, insurance, management services, hotel and catering management, taxation consulting, auctioneering, recreation management, manufacturing, accounting technician, local and central government and the health service.
Students with an aptitude for numerical skills and with such character traits as neatness, concentration and perseverance will find the subject challenging and rewarding.


As the nation approaches the new millennium, students who choose to study business in the Leaving Certificate are encouraged to show initiative, self-reliance and enterprise, in their personal, business and public lives.

Course contents

The new Leaving Certificate Business syllabus comprises three main sections: 
  1. People in Business
  2. Enterprise
  3. Environment
In Section 1 the student learns about producers, consumers, employers, employees, and laws relating to the above groups, such as the Sale of Goods act, the Consumer information act, the Unfair dismissals act, and the small claims court.
In Section 2 the student learns about enterprise skills and their application, management in action, communication and information technology, household management and finance, business plans, manpower planning and recruitment.
In Section 3 the student learns about the social responsibilities of a business, ethical business practice, new product development in a changing world, the importance of the E.U. and its funding, the role of special interest groups in the decision making process.


The Leaving Certificate Examination consists of a written examination at Higher and at Lower levels.
  • At Higher Level the paper will be three hours long.
  • At Ordinary Level the paper will be two and a half-hours long.


Career options

The new Business course is an excellent choice for students. It will enable them to understand the dynamic relationship between the principal parties in business, the importance of enterprise and management in business and in the community. The skills developed will help the student with a career in industry, banking, the civil service, financial services, information technology, business analyses and insurance.

Agricultural Science

The course is a two year programme for Leaving Certificate. Both Higher and Ordinary Level options are available. This course covers many areas of Science, for example: soil physics, soil chemistry, food science, genetics, animal science and production, crop science and production, microbiology and many other areas of real life sciences.
The course is based on the continuous assessment method of learning, which helps every student to get rewarded for their effort and hard work during the two years. The leaving certificate exam gives a great choice from all areas of the course and allows students to select questions suited to their interests. The exam has focused on Biology and more scientific material in recent years.
All students will complete over forty experiments over they’re two year course, this allows them to examine various areas of the subject while formulating conclusions and graphs which represent they’re findings. Each student will have the latest data logging equipment, to accurately determine different areas of the course, for example: Temperature, pH, O2 and CO2 levels, light intensity, pressure and many other factors.
Each student will attend at least two farm visits. This allows them to link the classroom to animal and food production enterprises. The visits gain valuable information for students in the completion of the project which is worth 12.5% of the course. Each student will choose at least two animal enterprises from the list below and two crops from the list below along with a lot of information gained from outside the school and their own interests in Agriculture. Students get graded on their own individual work.
  • Animal enterprises
  • Crop enterprises
  • Dairy
  • Beef
  • Sheep
  • Pigs
  • Poultry
  • Horses
  • Any other animal produced in Ireland
  • Cereals
  • Root Crops
  • Leaf Crops
  • Potato production
  • Biofuels
  • Catch Crops
  • Grassland and Maize
  • Horticulture
  • Forestry
All students have been involved in producing crops in our garden. This allows them to view all the crops we talk about in class. It also allows students to be able to grow their own food in future years. By sowing these crops it allows us to view various diseases and pests that affect the crops we  produce. This activity is also included in their project work.  
Crops sown the last five years include : wheat, barley, oats, grass/clover, oilseed, kale, turnips, swede, onions, beetroot, fodder beet, forage maize, peas, beans and many more in years to come.


Examined for the 1st time in 1999, the new Leaving Cert Music syllabus has seen a dramatic increase in the number of students doing music as a subject at Leaving Cert level.

Course content

The syllabus is structured into three essential activities­
  • Listening
  • Composing
  • Performing
and assessed in relation to these core activities by means of 3 categories of examination – aural, written and practical.
At both Ordinary and Higher level each activity is allocated a 25% weighing in the exam. at Ordinary level students choose one of the three activities to represent 50%.
Students at Higher level undertake additional studies, a Higher Level elective, in one of the activities to represent 50%. This allows both Ordinary and higher Level students to gain up to 50% of their marks in the activity that best suits their interests and abilities.


Aural awareness is developed in the context of four prescribed works which students analyze. They learn how to compare and contrast music of different period and styles. Irish traditional music is also looked at here, as is identification of instruments as well as melody, rhythm and harmony.


The art of melody writing of taught both in the context of word setting and as a continuation of a given phrase. Students are also taught the rudiments of harmony and counterpoint. The course examines composers and songwriters from Bach to the Beatles, enabling students to compose using both guitar chords and more traditional forms of notation.


Performing options offer a wide variety. Music may be chosen from chemical, cert music, traditional Irish, ethnic, fo1k, rock, jazz, stage musical or other modern popular repertoires. The music chosen must show diversity in style and technique and be of standard consistent with two years study as a continuation of Junior Cert or a similar programme. The Performing activity also includes an unseen assessment from a choice of sight reading / singing or melodic / rhythmic repetition.