Leaving Certificate students are being urged to take time considering their options following the publication of results this morning.

The Minister for Education, Mary Hanafin, asked students who performed well in science and mathematics to think carefully about choosing third-level courses in these areas.

The minister also called on third-level colleges to accept pupils of Leaving Certificate foundation level mathematics into their institutions.

Ms Hanafin said pupils are doing ordinary level mathematics to get into third-level when perhaps they should be doing foundation level mathematics.

High failure rates in both science and mathematics have been recorded. More than 4,000 students have failed this year's ordinary level mathematics paper.

National Parents Council spokesperson Rose Tully said it is important that students realise they have many choices and take time to consider their options, whatever results they get.

The council has opened a helpline which is available to the 54,000 students receiving results today at 1800 265 165.

Offers of third level places will be made to students through the Central Applications Office on 21 August.

CAO points tables will be available on the CAO website, RTÉ Aertel and RTÉ.ie on Monday from 6am.

Pupil gets nine A1s

A breakdown of this year's figures shows both results and trends broadly matching those of previous years.

5,500 students achieved at least one A1. One student has been awarded A1s in nine subjects.

There was controversy over questions in one of this year's higher level mathematics papers but, apart from a slight dip in the number of A1s awarded, higher level results show no marked change on previous years.