A revised syllabus was introduced in 2004. History is now examined by means of a terminal written examination (80%) and a report on a research study (20%).
The terminal examination will include compulsory documents-based elements. The report on a research study will be submitted in advance of the terminal written exam. This Research Study can be about any aspect of history, in any period. The teacher will help and oversee this work but the choice of subject matter is that of the student.
As this replaces the “special essay” which was examined in the old Leaving Certificate paper, less time is required for the exam, which has been reduced from a marathon of 3 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 50 minutes. Ordinary level students follow an identical course, with a different emphasis in the way questions are asked on exam papers.
The study of history at Leaving Certificate fulfils many of the general aims and principles of the Leaving Certificate programmes.
- It emphasises the importance of individual thought.
- It fosters a spirit of inquiry and critical thinking.
- It helps to prepare students both for further education and for adult and working life.
- It helps to prepare students for their role as active and participative citizens.