All Junior Cert exams were completed by 20 June, but the announced date for the results is 23 November-some five months later. The announcement of the release date was on 18 October, which was a whole two weeks after the speculated date for the actual release of the results.

The State Exams Commission (SEC) has stated that a shortage of examiners is the main factor for this delay, but what is the impact on students and on their attitudes towards the education system as a result?

Alannah Mahon is a current transition year student at Muckross Park College waiting for her results.

“I understand that the people correcting them have had a stressful year too, there haven’t been enough people to correct them, and COVID messed everything up. As the government said that everything was back to normal to the point where we could have exams, they should have made sure that everything would run as smoothly as possible,” she says.

It has been an especially difficult time for the students who chose to skip their transition year and proceed with their senior cycle education. Many are waiting on the results to determine whether they will go on to do higher or ordinary level in their core subjects, and what subjects they should continue for their Leaving Cert.

Another student waiting for her results is fifth year Frankie Dvorakova, who is currently attending The Institute of Education

“In hope? of skipping a year, I put in twice as much effort as everyone around me into the Junior Cert and I want to see a result of that effort,” she says.

“It would’ve also been useful to see my results earlier so I can let them influence my Leaving Cert subject choices, but I had to trust my gut. We did the Junior Cert in June. Results are coming out in November. At this point, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I have long forgotten about the whole thing and no longer care as much.”

Personal experience

As I myself am one of the students who completed their Junior Cert exams, I feel that the results no longer hold the same value they had before. If there is one thing I have learned from my peers and myself during this experience, it is that the longer we are forced to wait, the less we care. Our patience is diminishing and this delay has caused a lot of anxiety and frustration to bubble up.

I believe these frustrations to be justifiable, solely because of the pressure placed upon us and the continued emphasis of the importance of these exams. Hours of sleep were lost to studying, countless social outings were cancelled, and many people were struggling with mental health in these times. It is unfair that these experiences be so quickly dismissed.

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