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The CAO Points System

In April 2017, the points system changed. In 2021 students sitting the Leaving Certificate have the choice to sit the written exam in June 2021 or get an accredited grade from the State Examination Commission (SEC) or both. Students registered their preference through the Candidate Self Service Portal (CSSP). The Portal closed on 30 April 2021.

If a student opts for both the written exam and an accredited grade in a subject, the best grade is recorded in the Leaving Certificate results.

Students will get Leaving Certificate 2021 results within the required timeframe for Central Applications Office (CAO) and Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The current CAO points system is as follows:


Maths Bonus Points

25 bonus points will be awarded for Higher Level Mathematics for H6 grades and above. For example, if an applicant receives a H6 grade an additional 25 points will be added to the 46 points already awarded for a H6 grade i.e. Higher Level Mathematics now carries a points score of 71 for this applicant. Click here to view a more detailed description of the Bonus Points Scheme for Higher Level Leaving Certificate Mathematics, with some examples.

Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme

LCVP GradeCurrent PointsRevised LCVP Points

Accompanying conditions for CAO:

  1. The six best results, in recognised subjects, in one Leaving Certificate Examination will be counted for points computation.
  2. One sitting only of the Leaving Certificate Examination will be counted for points purposes.
  3. In the case of certain subjects, e.g. Home Economics General (this subject was discontinued in 2003), Foundation Level Mathematics or Foundation Level Irish, some HEIs may not award the points shown above. If in any doubt, check with the Admissions Office of the appropriate HEIs.
  4. Remember, you must first meet the minimum entry requirements in order to be considered for entry to a course. The bonus points are included in the overall points calculation only when Mathematics is one of the applicant's best six subjects following the addition of the bonus.

To view the points system comparison to pre-2017 click here.