This week is a tense time for many students over the country. The countdown for the Leaving Cert results has been on since June, and the time has almost come. The results are out this Wednesday, August 14, and this year's batch of impending brown envelopes will be slightly different to previous years.
The CAO announced earlier this year that a new grading system for the Leaving Cert will be implemented this year, and I don't think I'd be too far off the mark in saying that the new system still has some people confused. Different grades and different points will only make what is already a tense and emotional day even more so, so take the time now to get your head around the changes.
What has changed?
The number of grades.
The previous 14 grades that we all knew - A1, A2 all the way to D1 - have been reduced to 8.
They have also been changed. Instead A1, B1, C1 etc., the grades are now H1, H2 all the way to H8.
As you can see from the above image, the grades are indeed very different.
Why has it changed?
The CAO wanted their system to reflect the wide range of abilities and intellects of Irish students. The smaller range of grades allow them to reward bigger groups of people, on a bigger scale.
This new system was also implemented to minimise the need for random selection.
What's important to remember is that it won't affect how you applied to CAO - which hopefully you should have realised by now - and how colleges intake students. Course offers are made on the basis of points, like always.
How will it affect you?
As previously mentioned, the only change will really be in the calculation of your points.
It will also only affect this year's students. Previous LC students grades will remain the same, but they will receive the new corresponding points.
The previous grades are now put together to create the new grades; so don't spend your time trying to figure out the old equivalent of the new grades. There isn't a clear one.
There are multiple tools on the CAO website to help you deal with your results, including a points calculator and converter.
For more information on the new grading system, you can have a look here.