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April 23, 2020

Now that you have been awarded a laptop exemption to type out your Junior or Leaving cert – what do you do next?

Searsol after school touch typing classes
Searsol after school touch typing classes

Now that you have been awarded a laptop exemption to type out your Junior or Leaving Cert – what next?

Having to sit through State exams answering questions with pen and paper for hours at a time is all very well for those for whom writing poses no problems, but what about students who struggle to form letters and words?

Thankfully the Irish State Examinations Commission registers the fact that many students today have difficulty with writing. In recognition of this and the fact that typing is now the accepted professional version of writing, exemptions are now readily available for those seeking to type rather than write their exam responses.

If you or your child has already been awarded an exemption to use a laptop/word processor for your Junior/Leaving Cert due to a handwriting impairment, here at Searsol we extend our congratulations.

For those still in the process of applying for the exemption, please note that the Department of Education will be looking for proof that your child can, or is in the process of learning how to type. At the end of the day, the exemption will be granted on the basis that your child’s typing skills are better than their handwriting skills.

Searsol touch-typing courses

In order to ensure your child masters correct touch-typing skills, Searsol runs a series of after-school touch-typing classes for children and young adults that are designed to help each individual learn correct touch-typing practice at their own pace.

Searsol provides touch typing courses nationwide. Our classes are delivered in a classroom setting. We use our own touch typing tutor Typewiz which consists of a series of lessons to help students advance from beginner to proficient touch typist. Tutors work individually and collectively with students to help them progress through the course in order to gain proficiency. They are monitored by trained tutors who check that they are doing the correct finger placement.

Students can revise over previously completed exercises at home using their own login details.

Please feel free to get in touch with your nearest Searsol provider – course details are available here on our website.

Typewiz is also available to access from the home. You can sign up to Typewiz by going to

Exemption guidelines

According to the guidelines for State exams, as set out by the State Examinations Commission, the use of mechanical aid, such as a word processor, is appropriate where it can be established that a candidate’s ability to produce a legible script is compromised.

There are two separate categories under which a student may be deemed eligible for this exemption from handwriting, as follows:

  1. Illegible handwriting – which renders a script unintelligible due to the frequency of spelling/grammar/punctuation errors.
  2. Slow writing – where the rate of writing is so slow that it renders a student unable to complete exams.

In order to apply for an exemption from writing, students must submit a completed Junior Certificate/Leaving Certificate reasonable accommodations application form, outlining the particular difficulty, and this must be signed by the school principal.

The Commission accepts the school’s confirmation on the application as sufficient evidence to permit an exemption.

Once you have been awarded your exemption to use a word processor, you will also be exempt from having your exam answer assessed in regard to spelling, punctuation, or grammar. This applies specifically to exams in any language subject (Irish, English, French, Spanish, etc). However, students granted the use of a word processor must ensure spell-check and autocorrect are turned off.

Further info on Reasonable Accommodations for Junior and Leaving Certificate Examinations can be found on

What typing speed do you need for state exams?

There is no official guidance from the department of education on the exact typing speed your child should be at. Searsol recommends that your child have a typing speed of 25 word per minute or greater. This would be our silver grade on typing classes.

State Examinations Commission

The State Examinations Commission now approves exemptions for Junior Cert students can also be carried through at Leaving Certificate.

The Commission also agreed that exemptions can be granted in cases where dyslexia has not been formally diagnosed. Welcoming this progress, the Dyslexia Association of Ireland issued a statement, as follows:

The accommodations are intended to limit the impact of the candidate’s disability on their exam performance, while not giving the candidate an unfair advantage.

The options students with dyslexia can apply for if they meet the criteria are:
• Access to a Reader
• Use of a Recording Device or Word Processor/Laptop
• Access to a Scribe
• Waiver from the assessment of spelling, grammar, and punctuation in the language subjects

Accommodations at Third Level

Many third-level colleges and examination bodies make provision for dyslexic students taking written exams.  These provisions can include being given extra time, being allowed to use a word processor/computer, having the specific difficulty is taken into account when marking the exam paper, etc.

Students should consult with the Disability Officer in their college, their Tutor, or Course Director, to find out precisely what provisions may be available.

Please contact your nearest Searsol after school typing centre for details on our touch-typing classes to ensure your child has the chance to perform at their best in State exams. Your child can also access from the comfort of your home. Go to for more details.


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