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Leaving Cert Points System

CAO Toolkit
4 min

Congratulations to all students receiving Leaving Cert results. This marks the start of your journey to success - take the first step at Griffith!

The old system of calculating Leaving Certificate points using A’s and B’s was replaced with a new system in 2017. There are now higher-level grades from H1 to H8 and ordinary grades from O1 to O8. 

You’ll need to get to grips with what this means so you’re calculating the points you’ll need properly.

Why was this introduced?

It’s hoped that the new system will reduce the number of people who got the points needed for their preferred course but missed out on being offered that course because of random selection. 

Another positive change is that previously if you got a grade below 40%, you didn’t get any points for that subject. With the new system, if you achieve between 30-39% on a higher-level paper you’ll be awarded a H7 grade and get 37 points.

This should encourage more students to take higher-level subjects and it reduces the risk of taking higher level examinations.

New common points scale:

Table of 2016 versus 2017 CAO Points

Table of the new 2017 CAO Points Scale for Leaving Cert Students

No change here. There will still be 25 bonus points awarded for Higher Level maths if you get a H6 grade or above.

Then vs Now

Here’s a comparison of how points were calculated in 2016 vs the new system:

Table of 2016 versus 2017 CAO Points

With the new Leaving Cert grades introduced in 2017, there's a change to the minimum requirements needed. In the table below we’ve included a comparison so you can understand this change:

Table of 2016 versus 2017 CAO Matriculation Requirements


You’ll find the details of the minimum requirements needed for each course on the CAO website and on the college’s prospectus or website.

Need help doing the sums?

The CAO have a handy online points calculator which works out the new points and the pre-2017 points: 

Need even more information?

More detailed information about the new leaving cert points system is available from  You can download their leaflets and FAQ documents.

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