The junior cycle covers the first three years of secondary school. Children begin their second level education around the age of 12 or 13. The Junior Cycle examination is held at the end of the Junior Cycle in post-primary schools and students normally sit the exam at the age of 15 or 16.
The Senior Cycle caters for students in the 15 to 18 year age group. It inlcludes Transition year, which follows immediately after the Junior Cycle.
Transition Year (TY) or 4th Year is a one-year programme between Junior Cycle and Senior Cycle. It is designed to act as a bridge between the two by facilitating the smooth transaition from the more dependent learning of the Junior Cycle to the more independent self-directed learning required for the Senior Cycle.
5th & 6th Year follows Transition year and aims to provide learners with a broad, balanced education while also offering some specialisation towards a particular career option.
The Leaving Certificate Examination is held at the end of the Senior Cycle, 6th year and its internationally recognised for all degree programmes at Iris, UK, US and European universities. Entry to third level education is closely linked to the results achieved by students at this examination.