Portal, points and perspective – navigating the results day


The wait is nearly over for more than 60,000 Leaving Cert students, with results due to be released online at 10 a.m.

Candidates can view their scores by logging into the Candidate Self-Service Portal (CSSP) on exams.ie.

Over the next few days, students will also be able to access the portal to view their grades in more detail, to apply to view the scripts online, or to appeal their grades.

“As always, it’s a great day for the students, but it’s going to be a little different this year,” said Donnchadh O’Mahony, a school guidance counselor who runs the @leavingcertguidance page on Instagram.

“Traditionally, students could visit schools in mid-August to pick up their results, but with the return of schools, they will use the portal. I know some students are disappointed to miss this tradition of coming back one last day, one last meeting. But this year it’s online and it will be the culmination of their school journey through high school.”

Donnchadh O’Mahony says the big day for students will be a little different this year

As students and their families experience a range of emotions this morning, O’Mahony has these five key tips for navigating the day ahead.

1. Be ready for the portal

The CSSP opens at 10 a.m. You need to know your exam number and password. If you have forgotten your password, you should reset it – ideally before 10am when there will be heavy traffic on the site. Likewise, if you have not registered for a password, for whatever reason, the registration process is still open.

2. Know what you’re looking at

When you get your results, you’ll see grades, not points. The Central Applications Office (CAO) converts grades into points. You’ll want to know what each rating is worth in terms of points in view of the OAC’s first-round bids on September 8.

3. Don’t get overwhelmed

Results day can be overwhelming for many students. If you feel like you’re going to be overwhelmed, bring someone you trust with you. Someone who can reassure you. Someone who understands this and has been there. Even if you feel like you can handle it, I still think it’s good to have a parent, guardian, or older sibling nearby to support you.

4. Keep things in perspective

There will be stories in the media about students receiving over 500 points. However, according to CAO Leaving Certificate point statistics, these students are in the minority.

In 2019, the final year of the traditional Leaving Cert, anything above 320 points puts you in the top 50% of students nationwide. So try to focus on what you’ve done, rather than what top performers have done. Ask yourself if your grades will get you where you want to go?

Remember that it is rare for a person’s educational journey to be a straight line. I often compare it to rock climbing. Sometimes you may have to go sideways or back down to get back up. Often you’ll find that the most interesting people applying for the biggest jobs haven’t followed the straight line.

5. Use the materials available to you

You can contact your school and see if your guidance counselor is available for you. The National Parents’ Council Post Primary (NPCPP) helpline – 1800 265 165 – will also be available to answer questions. It will be open from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. every day until September 14 inclusive.

There are professional guidance counselors just a phone call away who can help you with any issues.

Today is actually just the start of a stressful week for students, as they won’t find a place at university until September 8. So I encourage people to try and enjoy the accomplishment of getting their Leaving Cert results and then by next Thursday they can start considering the next steps.


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