Study Advice

Extra Subjects: Answers To 5 Common Questions

By Gabrielle Juschiute - 3 minute read

Every year, many Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate students take on extra subjects for their exams. If you’re interested in doing an extra subject, here are answers to some of the most common questions you might have.

How can I find an extra subject class?

Here are three ways you can find extra subject classes:

Sometimes schools that offer extra subjects allow for external students from other schools to attend those classes. In my case, I did Art as an extra subject in a Christian Brothers School, even though I attended a Presentation Secondary School. To avail of this, ask your guidance councilor if they know of any extra subject classes nearby your school. They might be able to organise something for you!

Similarly, private schools and further education colleges sometimes offer Leaving Cert extra subject classes. However, these are rarely free. To look up what classes are available, check out the websites of the educational institutions nearby you.

Post Primary Languages Ireland (PPLI) run classes in lesser-taught languages to support students around Ireland to prepare for the Leaving Certificate exams. These classes are funded by the Department of Education and are free of charge for students.

If none of the above appeal to you, then simply searching your general location plus the subject you want to study in google might yield some appealing results.

Can I do an extra subject by myself?

It’s not recommended. Given the time commitment required and the lack of teacher guidance available, you’d be better off focusing on your school time subjects than trying to teach yourself an entire course.

However, an exception to this is if your native language is not English. If you are already fluent in another language, then it may be worth your while to check if it’s examinable for the Leaving Certificate. In this case, although you may already be fluent, you still need to study for your language exam by going through past exam papers and having somebody look over your answers.

What extra languages can I do for the Leaving Certificate?

As of 2022, here are all the examinable languages for the Leaving Certificate: Ancient Greek, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Mandarin Chinese, Modern Greek, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Slovenian, Spanish and Swedish.

Is it too late to pick up an extra subject?

It depends.

By limiting your time in a subject you are also limiting your chances of doing well in it, especially if there's a project involved. Additionally, you’ll have less time to study your other subjects as you'll be busy catching up on your extra one.

In contrast, with the right guidance, some subject curriculums can be completed in as little as one year. If you’re missing a language or a science requirement for a university course you want to do, then picking up a short curriculum subject just to pass it might be a beneficial use of your time.

In any case, the best thing to do would be to talk to the teacher or the coordinator of the extra subject class you want to attend. The earlier you do this, the better.

I’ve decided to do an extra subject. What now?

If you decide to study an extra subject by yourself or through an after-school class, then you need to notify your school about this as soon as possible. This is important as schools do not get sent exam papers in every examinable subject. Hence, you need to let your principal, year head, or your guidance counsellor know about this so that they can make the necessary arrangements for your exam.

Also, you should read our blog post all about how to succeed in an extra subject. It’s full of advice and resources that might be beneficial for you!


Although we may not always have the answers, if you have any further questions or concerns don’t hesitate to get in contact with us! Our email address is and we’ll always try our best to help you out.

Good luck with the study!

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