As you may or may not know, I'm Irish (allergic to leprechauns too) so obviously I go to school here too. As I have the day off today (Junior Cert results! I'll explain!) and have just finished like 5 hours of study, I thought I'd be irritated enough to talk about the Irish education system!
I'm not going to explain about primary school, as many of the readers of this blog are most likely to be in secondary school There's six years in secondary school, First Year, Second Year, Third Year, Transition Year (TY), Fifth Year and Sixth Year.
You start First Year when you're 12/13. In Third Year you do a state examination called the Junior Certificate. Everyone in the country in Third Year does the exact same exam. You study ten subjects, I personally studied Irish, English, Maths, History, Geography, Business Studies, Home Economics, German and CSPE. I received my Junior Results in September 2012 and studied all my subjects at Higher Level.
There's two levels to study your exams at, Honours/Higher and Ordinary/Pass. Honours is the highest level. There's also Transition Year, which is an optional year. Some choose to skip TY, I, on the other hand did TY last year. It's a non-academic year and really allowed me to mature and decide on my future career path. I entered several literary competitions and won some awards, I travelled all over the country, even to the UK to London! London was a simply surreal experience which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also started up my personal blog during TY!
This year however I'm in Fifth Year, the first year of the Leaving Cert cycle. The Leaving Cert(ificate) is composed of seven or more subjects you're examined in. Your grades add up as ''points''. Your grades and points decide what courses you can apply for and what colleges you can go to. The highest amount of points you can get is 625, 6 A1's at 100 points each and 25 bonus points for doing honours maths.
Fifth Year is the year where you do the majority of the work, I'm also studying all my subjects at honours level. Irish, English, Maths, Business, History, German and Agricultural Science. It's A LOT of work, maths in particular as I was never very good at the subject, especially now the syllabus has changed to Project Maths (Google it and leave me to cry over its flaws) Agricultural Science is the study of farms, animals and crops. I find it quite interesting and enjoy it. I adore business and history this year too.
Irish is very interesting this year. In class, my teacher barely speaks English, only Irish. As you may know, the majority of the population are not fluent in Irish. Tá mé abalta ag caint my cupla focal (I'm able to speak my few words) however I'm not fluent.
So I'll have exams at Christmas and at the end of this year. Next year I'll be starting Sixth Year *gulps and has a panic attack* and the following June I'll be sitting my Leaving Cert *panic attack and hyperventilates* and then college. It's scary how quickly time flies. I can still remember starting primary school and 9/11 happened that week. R.I.P to everyone who died in the attacks, (I'm writing this on Wednesday if you're wondering!)
So that's about all from me about the Irish education system!
Stay Strong, Happy and Fearless