Studying Agricultural Science Independently

Live online tuition to help 6th Year students, looking to study a subject outside of school, prepare with confidence for the Leaving Certificate Exams.

Please Note: This course commenced in September 2023.

Enrolment is now only available to students sitting the Leaving Certificate in 2025.

Students considering taking the subject for Leaving Certificate 2026, can attend a sample class.


Subject choice is a vital part of student success in the Leaving Certificate. The challenge of the Leaving Certificate is less daunting when students study subjects that they are interested in, or are related to their field of future study or simply subjects that they are good at. Unfortunately, sometimes students are unable to access the subjects they want in their schools. Over the last 40 Years, students have attended weekly grinds at The Institute of Education and with the help of our teachers studied many subjects outside of school, over the last number of years, the number of students taking this “independent” option has increased.

This year we are introducing a specific course for students who are studying a subject outside or independently of their school.  Unlike “grinds”, students attending this class will be assigned homework, class tests will be set, feedback will be provided through a formal Christmas report. Students will be expected to fully participate in class, the teachers will know your name! The weekly class time is 120 minutes, over 29 weeks, this extra class time will allow our teacher dedicate sufficient time to covering the syllabus. The majority of the tuition will be delivered online.

While the focus of the classes will be Leaving Certificate 2024, students preparing for Leaving Certificate 2025 will be permitted to attend the course. Students preparing for Leaving Certificate 2025, may not be required to attend all classes (depending on project components and practical requirements), and a 50% discount will be applied for the 2nd year of the course.

Taking on a subject out side of school is a significant undertaking, it requires hard work and perseverance, but with the exceptional teachers on this course, it is very possible and can be hugely rewarding.

Students studying a subject outside of school with us receive:

  • Access to expert teachers
  • Answers to their questions
  • Exam focused notes
  • Exam strategies & examiner insights
  • Recordings of all live classes to rewatch right up to the end of the 2024 Leaving Certificate exams

Our formula for success:

Expert Teachers + Exam Focused Notes + Live Class Recordings = Better Leaving Cert Results

(The school data policy is available to view here.)

Students studying Agricultural Science independently outside of school with us receive:

  • Access to expert teachers
  • Answers to their questions
  • Exam focused notes
  • Exam strategies & examiner insights

This course will feature:

  1. Class duration 120 minutes/week
  2. Homework assigned and corrections shared
  3. At Least 1 Progress Test (Christmas) with report
  4. A Mock Exam
  5. Support with Projects, where appropriate

Below, you will find more about what will be covered on this Agricultural Science course.

This course will be taught by Eimear Darcy.

The following is some information to enable students to get the very most out of the Agricultural Science Leaving Cert classes in The Institute of Education.

  • Class format
    Classes have an online lecture format and will move quickly and may be different to classes students already have in their full-time school.
  • Time & commitment
    This course requires a lot of work outside the 2 hours of class time per week. Students must be aware of this and must incorporate their Ag Science study into their normal study week. Students will pick up new material faster if they have read through the next topic BEFORE the next class. The teacher will be giving a large amount of revision homework to be completed by the next class. Students will also be required to study for regular topic tests. Any student that cannot give this level of work and time commitment to the subject will not achieve their optimum grade in the final Leaving Certificate exam.
  • Refund of fees
    Students may leave the class and receive a refund of fees any time before the 2nd week of classes. After this time it is assumed students are fully enrolled and committed to the course.
  • Practical lab classes and farm visits
    While experiments and practicals are part of the course, we will be waiting for further updates and confirmation from the Department of Education this month about how they will go ahead.

Course Content

This course provides students with everything they need to maximise their marks in the practical and written aspects of this course, from detailed and comprehensive study notes to dedicated farm trips and laboratory practicals.

  • Grassland
    Grassland Management, Silage and Hay Making, Reseeding.
  • Animal Physiology
    Ruminant, Monogastric Digestion, Animal Nutrition, Reproductive Systems.
  • Dairy Production
    Calf Rearing, Lactation and Breeding Management.
  • Beef Production
    Beef Husbandry, Diseases, Suckler Cows, Management.
  • Sheep Production
    Lambing, Breeding , Diseases, Management.
  • Crops
    Disease, Pest and Weed Control, Soil Preparation, Cover Crops (Kale).
  • Cereal Production
  • Root Crop Production
  • Plant Biology
    Photosynthesis, Transpiration, Plant Classification, Plant Physiology.
  • Genetics
    Genetic Crosses, Definitions and Applied Genetics.
  • Soil Science
    Composition, Structure, Soil Management, Fertilisers, Environment, and Pollution.
  • Experiments
    Specified Practical Activities
  • Scientific Practices
    Scientific Method, Evaluating Evidence.
  • Health and Safety
    Safe Work Practices on a Farm, Machinery, Technology, Sustainability.

Coursework Information

The project in Agricultural Science is worth 25%. It involves completing the Individual Investigative Study (IIS) and preparing a portfolio of all mandatory experiments completed. The IIS is based on a theme released every year, it involves visiting a farm and carrying out an experiment and collecting data based around the theme of that year. A physical experiment must be carried out, the experiment can be based on a farm or it can be carried out at home based on an idea formed from visiting a farm. A lot of research must also be carried out on your chosen topic to aid with the project write up and to help students form an idea for their coursework.

For this coursework, your experiment will be carried out at home as there is no lab access, this may involve you buying some equipment to help you complete the experiment at home. The project is due in April 2024.

Continuous Assessment

As part of this course, you will have weekly online tests based on the previous week’s topic. There will be some larger weekly tests when we are finished with a complete topic, e.g., soil science. There will also be 2 onsite exams held during the course. The pace of this course is very fast, and you will be required to work on your own initiative.
Directions and guidance will be given on the project but students are expected to carry out the experiment and research in their own time at home. You also must read the next week’s notes before class so you are prepared for the fast paced class.

Leaving Certificate Exam

The Agricultural Science course has been changed and a new course has been implemented with the Leaving Cert in 2021 being the first sitting of the new course. Therefore there are limited exam paper questions based on the new course. In the notes provided, there are questions at the end of each topic and exam questions from the new course, along with sample exam questions. The new exam is made of 2 sections, Section A is short answer questions and Section B is long answer questions. It has been amended since the year 2021 to allow for an increased choice of questions, these adjustments will remain in place for the 2024 Leaving Cert group.

Experiments and Practicals

There are a number of mandatory experiments on the Curriculum. Students will have to attend laboratory days to carry out these experiments. These laboratory days may be held on two different Saturdays over the duration of the course, – dates and details will be confirmed during the course. Students will also have access to videos of these experiments.

**NOTE: The following points should be noted by students looking to study this subject.

  • Homework – both written work and online work will be given regularly.
  • Students will be asked to engage in online classes regularly.
  • The pace of the online theory classes are very fast so it is very important that students use their own initiative to pre-read class material and to revise class material regularly.
  • Students are expected to work under their own initiative for their Individual Investigative Study (IIS) as much as possible. Guidance will be given.
  • The project is an individual project and therefore there can be no group work.
  • Students will have to carry out experiments at home or on a farm to collect results for their project. It is essential that primary data is collected from experiments for the IIS.

Our live online classes are taught by our expert teachers using Microsoft Teams. This technology is reliable, intuitive and familiar to many students. It allows the teachers to dedicate their full attention to teaching and students to focus on learning.

This method of class delivery offers many advantages to students:

Interaction: Each student can interact with their teacher before, during and after class. Similarly, teachers can interact with their students either individually or as a class group

Progression: This two-way communication enables teachers to accurately gauge students’ ongoing progress and understanding

Clarification: Students may message their teachers directly if they prefer to seek further explanation on a particular point without interrupting the class

Over 4,000 students attended online classes with us in the last 12 months. 97% of students who did so said that they were very satisfied with the class delivery and format.

Our commitment to you: whether you choose to attend your classes online or on-site you can be assured that the outcome will be exceptional

Please note:
Login details for online classes will be issued to students by email before the start of the course.

We have provided answers to other Frequently Asked Questions below, but if you have any other questions, please contact

Online Grinds FAQs

Click on each question for the answer>>

Q: If I enrol in an online class, can I also avail of classes at Leeson Street?

A: Yes, you can enrol in other classes at Leeson Street. Click here for details.


Q: How do I access my online classes?

A: Students enrolled on the course will receive an email from us containing their unique login details and links to access their chosen subjects. Login credentials will be sent in advance of course start date. Only those details sent to you will enable you to successfully access classes online.


Q: How are the online hosted?

A: All online classes are hosted live on Microsoft Teams. The links to the weekly classes are accessed via Moodle. Students must sign into both Moodle and MS Teams with the login credentials sent to the student.


Q: Are the online classes pre-recorded?

A: No, each online class is streamed live as per the timetable. Recordings of classes will be available after each live class is completed. These can then be replayed as a revision aid.


Q: Will I have access to recordings of the live classes?

A: Yes, recordings of classes will be available after each live class is completed. These can then be replayed as a revision aid. These will be available up until the end of the State exams 2023.


Q: Are there any specific requirements to attending online classes?

A: We would advise that all students enrolling in our online grinds have the following:
• Access to a reliable wifi service.
• Access to a PC, Laptop, Tablet, or similar device.
• We would not recommend using a mobile phone.
• Headphones/earphones.


Q: If I'm attending the online classes will I have access to the notes?

A: Yes, students enrolled in online classes will receive a monthly delivery of notes for each chosen subject. Please allow five working days for delivery from the time of booking.


Q: Are the class notes available online?

A: No, a hard copy will be posted out to each student for the subjects they enrol in, on a monthly basis.


Q: How long is each weekly class?

A: Each class lasts 120 minutes.


Q: How much is the fee per class?

A: The total fee for this course is €1,750.


Q: Can I cancel my classes and get a refund?

A: Yes, though please note: Classes are taught for 29 weeks. A refund (or partial refund) can be given for requests made on or before Week 17, 28th January 2023. A request for a refund can be made by contacting our office on 01 6613511 or


Q: How many weeks of tuition are there in the weekly course?

A: There are 29 weeks of tuition between September and May. Students will have one class per subject booked per week  (29 classes).


Q: Are there any breaks or holidays during the year for students attending weekly classes?

A: Yes, the classes schedule generally follows the normal school calendar with breaks at mid-terms, Christmas & Easter.  Please refer to the timetable for more details


Q: Is attendance at weekly classes and part-time courses monitored?

A: Yes, attendance is monitored for each class attended. The Institute however accepts no responsibility for students who fail to attend class.


Q: What style are the classes conducted in? Can students ask questions?

A: Our classes run in a more lecture style than most students might be used to in school, but they are also interactive, and teachers will use a variety of methods to ensure that students can learn and understand and feel comfortable asking questions and contributing to the class.


Q: For weekly classes, does the beginning of a new term mean the start of a new course?

A: No, in the weekly classes each subject commences in September and runs through to the end of the academic year in May. Students can catch up on what they have missed by reviewing the previous class recordings and notes.


Q: If I want to join weekly classes during the year, can I find out what is yet to be covered on the course and what I have missed?

A: Each teacher has their own individual teaching plan for the year and will be able to advise on this.


Q: My son/daughter cannot attend the weekly classes. Can we buy the notes?

A: No, teaching is a central part of all our courses and classes.  The notes are to facilitate recall and revision of what was covered in class by the teacher.

For the Academic Year 2023/24 this Agricultural Science Course will take place every Wednesday at 17:30 as per the Weekly Schedule below.

NOTE: All classes are 120 minutes in duration.

*Students may join at any stage throughout the year, subject to availability.

Weekly Schedule

WeekWeek CommencingNote
14th Sept 2023First Week
211th Sept 2023
318th Sept 2023
425th Sept 2023
52nd Oct 2023
69th Oct 2023
716th Oct 2023
823rd Oct 2023
No Classes30th Oct 2023Mid-Term
96th Nov 2023
1013th Nov 2023
1120th Nov 2023
1227th Nov 2023
134th Dec 2023
1411th Dec 2023
No Classes18th Dec 2023Christmas
No Classes25th Dec 2023Christmas
No Classes1st Jan 2024Christmas
158th Jan 2024
1615th Jan 2024
1722nd Jan 2024
1829th Jan 2024
195th Feb 2024St. Brigid's Bank Holiday*
No Classes12th Feb 2024Mid-Term
2019th Feb 2024
2126th Feb 2024
224th March 2024
2311th March 2024
2418th March 2024
No Classes25th March 2024Easter
No Classes1st April 2024Easter
258th April 2024
2615th April 2024
2722nd April 2024
2829th April 2024
296th May 2024**May Bank Holiday. No classes Mon 6th May. Classes as normal Tuesday 7th to Saturday 11th May.

*Classes will be taught on Bank Holiday Monday 5th Feb ’24
**No classes on Bank Holiday Monday 6th May’24. Classes will be taught instead on Monday 27th May.

The fee for enrolling in this course is: €1,280.

All students joining our weekly classes now will receive access to recordings of all the classes for which they have enrolled.  In addition, they will have access to recordings of the classes that have already taken place since the start of the course. This is an invaluable aid when it comes to revision. Class recordings are available to the end of State Exams 2024.

Please note:

  • Card payments accepted.
  • 10% reduction for the second and subsequent members of the same family, attending the same courses. Please contact our office to avail of this discount.
  • Fees are non-transferable.
  • Installment payment option available (Not available online – Please phone to avail of this payment plan – 01 661 3511)
    • Installment 1 due when order is placed. Installment 1 pays for weeks 8 to 17.
    • Installment 2 due before Monday 29th Jan 2024 (Start week 18).