Clongowes offers a broad range of subjects for Senior Cycle study. Student will study a minimum of 6 subjects for the Leaving Certificate, with most boys taking 7 or 8 subjects.

All students will study English, Irish (unless exempt) and Mathematics.  A modern language is required by many Third Level Institutions and students can choose from French and German on the timetable or Spanish off timetable.  In addition to the mandatory subjects, students will choose from those shown below.

Explore more information on the Leaving Certificate subjects below.

Accounting

Accounting is concerned with the preparation, recording, extraction, presentation and analysis of financial information for the purpose of making economic decisions. The course also involves a management accounting section where the student will learn how to analyse business costs and how to prepare budgets.

Other course content includes: Double Entry, Final Accounts, Bank Reconciliation Correction of Errors, Ratio Analysis, Management Accounting, Published Accounts and Incomplete Records. Commonly seen as the mathematical side of business, accounting attracts the more numerate students.

The course teaches students the bookkeeping side of business but also delves deeper – teaching students to analyse and interpret the figures. Once students can understand and adhere to the basic rules of accountancy, it is a subject that they can do very well in for the Leaving Certificate examination. The course is numerically based but theory and procedures must be learned also. While the student needs to be comfortable with numbers he does not need to be at a Higher maths level.

Agricultural Science

Agricultural science is a Leaving Cert only subject that is optional and can be studied at Higher and Ordinary level.

The subject involves the study of the science and technology that form the basis of the principles and practices in modern agriculture.

Ireland has always had a thriving agricultural sector and for that reason, agricultural science is a popular subject, especially amongst those who are planning to study veterinary science or medicine at Third Level.

Applied Mathematics

Applied maths is the study of the practical applications of mathematics to the real world and physical problems. It is typically associated with engineering and physics, but also finds use in economics, finance, business, environmental studies, and even chemistry and medicine. If a student is strong in maths and physics, we would advise that he should be capable of getting good grades in applied maths, thus enabling him to optimise his points in the Leaving Cert. There is overlap between some parts of the Leaving Cert physics course and the applied maths course, such as linear motion, Newton’s laws, and circular motion. Thus it will also help students to have a deeper understanding of these topics in physics.

As there is a high maths content in the course, it will also give students a better understanding of some parts of the Higher Level maths course – especially trigonometry, calculus (differentiation and integration) and vectors.

If students are considering studying any kind of engineering in 3rd level, applied maths is very important – all engineering students have to study applied maths in the first year at university and students will have a head start if they have taken applied maths at Leaving Cert.

If students enjoy analysing problems and applying relevant theoretical principles to real world problems and using mathematics as a tool to obtain solutions then applied mathematics may be a great choice!

Art

The art course for Leaving Cert is about developing the student’s ability in a range of artistic fields and disciplines. The syllabus permits a huge number of media, from the fine arts such as sculpture, drawing, and painting, to puppet-making, embroidery, calligraphy, metalwork, and pottery.

Students are expected to spend the duration of the course practicing and developing their skills in several of these areas.
Students who have shown an aptitude for art, such as by getting high grades in Junior Cert art are often those who choose art for their Leaving Cert as well as those considering a career in a creative discipline such as architecture, marketing, film and entertainment, web design, fashion, game design, or advertising.

Students who are weak in other areas, such as languages or mathematics, may find it easier to achieve Leaving Cert points in art.

Art is chosen often by students who enjoy expressing themselves through art and like to sketch and doodle and those who are prepared to work hard at developing their artistic talent.

The Leaving Cert Art course is divided into:

  • History & Appreciation of Art Written work 37.5%
  • Design 25%
  • Imaginative Composition/Still Life 25%
  • Life Drawing 12.5%

The art history section of the paper covers a period of 4000 years looking at architecture, painting and design.

Biology

Biology is the study of human life and living organisms, e.g. cloning, bioethics, DNA fingerprinting, stem cell research.

The syllabus is broadly divided 70/30 between Biological knowledge, understanding and skills; and the technological, political, social and economic aspects of biology.

Students who enjoyed science for Junior Cert or previous study might wish to consider studying biology at Senior Cycle. The course is a continuation of what was studied at Junior Cycle but in more detail.

Biology is an optional subject that may be studied at Higher or Ordinary level.

Business

Business deals with current realities of a fast-changing business environment. The course requires constant attention to the business sections of newspapers. It asks students to look at how organisations are formed, financed, and run. The course also explores the services that support businesses such as insurance, banking, transport, as well as public service bodies.

Topics include:

  • People in Business, Enterprise, Business Environment
  • Starting Your Own Business
  • Structure, Finance, Management Marketing

Business will suit a student who is interested in current affairs and listens to the news, reads the papers and stays alert to what is happening in the general business world. While there is a fair share of learning of key concepts, the ability to apply these concepts in everyday life will be the key to achieving a good grade.

While the business concepts are easy to understand, it is important that the student shows that he can apply the concept to everyday business life. This subject suits someone who has an organised mind and likes to answer questions in bullet points, rather than in long essay format. This subject would be useful to anyone thinking of starting their own business in the future.

Chemistry

Chemistry deals with the study of substances that make up our environment and the changes these substances undergo. The chemistry course includes 28 mandatory practical experiments which must be completed in the lab, as well as a written paper including questions on the experiments and examining the theory and applications of chemistry.

Students who enjoyed Junior Cert Science or previous study of science and have done well in maths may well be good candidates for Leaving Cert chemistry. The study of chemistry requires attention to detail and the ability to describe the procedures of experiments and a good understanding of vocabulary.

Students considering a career in any scientific discipline, such as chemistry, biology, environmental science, medicine, pharmacology, or material science. Chemistry is an optional subject that may be taken at Higher or Ordinary level.

Computer Science

Computer science is the study of computers and computer programming. The Leaving Certificate computer science course introduces students to problem-solving using programming and computational knowledge. Through applied exercises students will develop practical skills while working in teams to create functioning computer applications. Students will learn Python , a new language not covered at Junior Cert. Students are not required to have studied computer coding before joining computer science classes for Leaving Cert.

Computing technologies now influence every part of society, and are key to our lives. The knowledge and skills learned will be valuable to the student regardless of whether they pursue a career in technology.

Three core strands:

  • Practices and Principles: students will become knowledgeable in the principles and practices that underpin computer science.
  • Core Concepts: students learn the major concepts of computer science, such as abstraction, data, computer systems and algorithms. Students apply these concepts in the practical exercises that make up the third strand.
  • Computer Science in Practice: students engage in teamwork to carry out four practical tasks during the course’s two-year duration. The tasks cover four broad topic areas that are core to computer science.
  • Interactive information systems
  • Analytics
  • Modelling and simulation
  • Embedded systems

The course suits students who enjoy puzzling out and solving problems, logical thinking and creating functional objects or programmes. Students who did well in mathematics and science should find themselves suited to computer science. The programme will build on the problem solving, analytical thinking and numeracy skills developed in Primary School and Junior Cert Mathematics.

Due to the broad nature of the curriculum it is still possible for students who haven’t excelled in maths or science to engage positively with the computer science course.

Economics

Economics deals with the real world business obstacles such as demand and supply, production and consumption, money and banking as well as economic policies, problems and conflicts. With inflation and international trade and payments constantly making headlines, economics requires its students to keep track of real world situations.

Economics has a mathematical slant (calculus, algebra, differentiation etc) as well as graphic and theoretical work. It explains the workings of companies and how they measure their success and progress. At a macro level it examines international trade, the role of governments and the EU in controlling the economy, competition, and markets.

Economics is a good subject for the analytical student. It is recommended that students should be interested in current and economic affairs. Typically, students can show a distinct preference for questions about microeconomics, such as household budgets, rather than macroeconomics, which deals with broader issues, like inflation and growth.

To perform well in the macroeconomic questions at Higher Level, students need a good knowledge of contemporary economic issues in the Irish economy and an ability to apply the relevant economic theories to particular issues.

English

A compulsory subject for all students, the English course for Senior Cycle involves both the study of language and literature. The course encourages students to develop their literacy and oral language skills with the objective of becoming fluent and thoughtful users of the language. English can be studied at Higher or Ordinary level.

French

French is one of the modern languages taught at Clongowes. It is normal for students to study one modern language at Senior Cycle. As well as the study of the language itself and the development of effective communication skills, the course also includes awareness of French culture and politics. French may be studied at Higher or Ordinary level with an examination including oral, aural and written components. Students wishing to study French for Senior Cycle must have a minimum 4 years of prior study.

Geography

Geography is an optional subject for the Leaving Certificate and may be taken at Higher or Ordinary level. The subject involves the study of the interaction between man and his environment.
The geography syllabus is examined by a field study report (20% of the final examination marks) and the Leaving Cert written examination (80% of the marks).
Geography is often taken by students considering further study in areas such as geography, economics, environmental science, or politics.

German

German is one of the modern languages taught at Clongowes. It is normal for students to study one modern language at Senior Cycle. The study of German for the Leaving Certificate aims to bring students closer to fluency in the language as well as broadening their knowledge of German literature, culture and history. German may be studied at Higher or Ordinary level with an examination including oral, aural and written components. Students wishing to study German for Senior Cycle must have a minimum 4 years of prior study.

History

The study of history at Senior Cycle encompasses the examination of the world of politics, economics, religion and philosophy (1889 – 1993). History is an optional subject for the Leaving Certificate and is often studied by those who enjoy and appreciate history, and would like to improve their knowledge. History students should be willing to commit a lot of time to their study of this quite demanding subject. The subject is best suited to students who have strong English language skills as the subject involves a lot of essay writing. Through the study of history, students will improve their research, independent study and critical thinking skills. History may be taken at Higher or Ordinary level.

Irish

Irish is a compulsory subject for all students, unless deemed exempt by the Department of Education. For Senior Cycle, students are building on the language developed during the Junior Cycle course. During the final year of the Senior Cycle, students take an oral exam worth 40% of their final grade. Irish can be studied at Higher or Ordinary level.

Latin

The course focuses on translation and comprehension of Latin texts. Poetry, historical records are studied in detail as well as Roman history, architecture and culture.
Students who study Latin at Leaving Cert often have an interest in ancient Roman history and culture, and its influences on modern society.

The course suits students who would like to gain a deeper understanding of English and other European languages. The subject is often chosen by students who enjoyed and got good grades at the Junior Certificate (or equivalent) Latin exam.

Maths

Maths is a core subject so it is studied by all students. The current curriculum for Leaving Cert Maths encompasses several strands that have been chosen for their application into ‘real world’ and everyday scenarios. The course is delivered at Higher or Ordinary level and the Leaving Cert exam consists of two papers at each level.

Music

Leaving Certificate music involves a series of interrelated musical activities within each of the three core areas of musical experience – performing, composing and listening.

In performing, students choose from a variety of individual and/or group performing activities. In composing, students develop an understanding of musical structure and form, while the listening component provides for rich aural experiences through exposure to music of different periods, styles and genres. Students can achieve up to 50 per cent of the total marks in the musical activity that best suits their talent before they even sit the written paper.

In music students can develop their talent and knowledge in this area and continue their studies in a wide range of colleges. Students who choose music for Leaving Cert are often those that have shown an aptitude for music, such as by getting high grades in Junior Cert music and who are keen to develop and practice their skills. Those considering a career in a creative discipline such as singing, playing in a band, music production and performance technology and management can be drawn to study music. In addition, those interested in the rock and pop areas of music can develop their talents in a number of PLC courses in rock and jazz music, including music management.

Physical Education

The physical education course features theoretical and practical sections, both interlinked. The course is suitable for students who have a strong interest in sports, physical fitness or physical activities such as dancing.

It develops the student’s performance levels, as well as introducing the student to insights into physical activity from the social and life sciences. Students choose from a wide variety of physical activities and will work to improve their performance in these activities.

With the knowledge gained in the theory section enabling students to improve their performance in the practical assessment.

In the theory section students learn about the factors that impact on physical performance, the relationship between sport and society and examine the benefits of participation in sport.
Topics studied include:

  • Learning how to maintain fitness
  • Nutrition
  • Developing skills
  • The ethics of sport
  • The promotion of active lifestyle

In the Physical section, students will be assessed on their skill level in three activities. There is a wide range of physical activities that can be selected e.g. swimming, football, rugby, sailing, dance, running or weight training. Students work on improving their preparation, participation and performance in their chosen activity.

Physics

Physics is the study of the laws and forces governing natural phenomena including heat, light, electricity, and magnetism. Leaving Cert topics include: light, sounds, mechanics, electricity, atomic physics, nuclear physics. Course includes 28 mandatory experiments.

Strong grades in Junior Certificate Higher Level maths and science (or in previous studies) are recommended to study physics at Leaving Cert level. There is one terminal exam for physics.

The study of physics may suit students who are interested in the following careers and would be advised to study physics: Electrician, Optician, Doctor, Dentist, Engineer, Computer Technician and Programmer. Physics is an optional subject that can be studied at Higher or Ordinary level.

Religion

Religious education in the Leaving Certificate programme calls for the exploration of issues such as meaning and value, the nature of morality, the development of diversity and belief, the principles of a just society, and the implications of scientific progress. It has a particular role to play in the curriculum in the promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding.

Religious education suits the student with an enquiring mind; a student who is interested in history, current affairs, travel and culture and debating the meaning of life. The subject is a study of religious beliefs not the examination of one’s individual faith and may be taken at Higher or Ordinary level.

Religious Education

Religious education in the Leaving Certificate programme calls for the exploration of issues such as meaning and value, the nature of morality, the development of diversity and belief, the principles of a just society, and the implications of scientific progress. It has a particular role to play in the curriculum in the promotion of tolerance and mutual understanding.

Religious Education suits the student with an enquiring mind. A student who is interested in history, current affairs, travel and culture and debating the meaning of life. It is a study of religious beliefs not the examination of one’s individual faith.

Exam Structure:

  • 20% for Project Work to be submitted in March /April of LC year
  • 80% for 4 questions on the written paper.

Spanish

Spanish is offered ‘off timetable’ at Clongowes meaning that classes are delivered in the evenings and at an extra cost. The study of Spanish for the Leaving Certificate can be at Higher or Ordinary level and the final exam includes oral, aural and written components. A widely spoken language globally, the syllabus aims to bring students closer to fluency and gives an appreciation of Spanish culture and history.

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