High School Cycle
The Junior Cycle includes first, second and third years and leads to the Junior Certificate Examination (external state examination). Students start the first year of secondary school at the age of 12 having completed two years of pre-primary and six years of primary school.
Transition year forms a break between the Junior Cycle and the Senior Cycle. The course varies from school to school but is usually less academic than other school years. It is an excellent year for international students to begin High School studies, as it provides valuable opportunities to develop English language ability and life skills and allow for personal development without the pressure of preparing for a state exam.
Fifth and sixth year form the senior cycle. At the end of the two years, students take the Leaving Certificate Examination, which is the examination necessary for high school graduation and university entrance in Ireland. Students normally sit for this examination at the age of seventeen or eighteen. The Leaving Certificate is also recognised and highly regarded by academic institutions in the UK, Europe and the