Leaving Cert Chinese


It became a curricular subject in 2020. The first students sat the exam in June 2022.

The specification and other official documents about the New Leaving Certificate (LC) Mandarin Chinese are published and will be updated on the Curriculum Online website.

Sample exam papers and audio files about Leaving Cert Chinese are published on The State Examinations Commission website.

Information and topics for the oral exam are also published on The State Examinations Commission website.

Yes. The new Leaving Cert Chinese exam counts towards language entry requirements to third level institutions.

Ask the school principal, year head, guidance counsellor or other relevant people in the school.

This depends on many factors:

  1. The number of interested students (minimum 8 students in one class). 
  2. A willingness to organise Chinese classes and the cooperation of the school Principal, Deputy Principal, TY Coordinator, Coordinator or another relevant person.
  3. The school sending an expression of interest for Chinese language hours to Post Primary Languages Ireland (PPLI).
  4. The availability of a qualified teacher in this area.

We encourage schools to discuss their interest with PPLI as they will assess the school or case and offer support and advice accordingly.

The best way to find out about Chinese classes is to ask the post-primary schools in the area. There are more likely to be classes available in areas where there is a critical mass of students.

This could be an option, but it would require schools to come to an agreement. It could also depend on the timetable and the distance between the schools.

There are four options:

  • Short course in Junior Cycle for 100 hours
  • Full course in Junior Cycle for 200 hours (there’s no Junior Cycle exam but it goes on the student’s profile of achievement)
  • Transition Year module
  • Leaving Cert subject

Yes, but to be fully prepared for the exam we advise you to take the classes.

Go to the Exam Secretary in school to start the registration process and confirm your subject choice.

Saturday Leaving Cert Chinese classes may be available in your area from September. Students must join the class at the beginning of their 5th year and the class is for ab initio (complete beginner) learners. More details can be found here

Yes. There is one exam for everyone.

The exam is offered at two levels: ordinary and higher level. Students can choose to take the level they prefer.

It depends:

  • If attending classes in public schools or with PPLI, the course will need to begin in the 5th Year to complete an overall 180 hours.
  • In the case of self-study, there is no requirement on study hours and exam registration is open to any student.

Yes, in cases where there is close collaboration between schools and where support has been agreed by PPLI.

No. The use of a mix of diverse materials is encouraged to achieve the learning outcome marked in the specification. There is a self-assessment grid at the end of the specification, which could be useful for students’ self-evaluation of progress and outcomes.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has published a guideline on how to develop a portfolio here

It is necessary to check the requirements of the university or consult directly with the university about their language and subject requirements.