Students who sit this year's postponed Leaving Certificate exams will not have to wait until next August to be guaranteed a college place if they receive an improved offer of a college place.

Announcing details of this year's postponed exams, the State Examinations Commission said students who sit the exams in November and receive a higher CAO offer than they already have would be offered a deferred college place for the 2021/22 academic year when the results are issued in February.

The SEC has also confirmed that any first year college student who becomes entitled to a higher CAO offer as a result of sitting the November exams will not lose out financially on fee charges or grants by switching to their new course the following year.

This year's exams will be held over four weeks in November and December, with one exam taking place every weekday evening and two exam sessions at weekends, on both Saturdays and Sundays.

Registration opens on Monday morning. There are no fees and students have until 5pm on Friday to enter.

The holding of the exams remains subject to public health advice.

The examinations are scheduled to start at 5.30pm each weekday evening, and at 9.30am and 2pm at weekend days.

The SEC says full timetables for the examinations will be published on the State Examinations Commission website on Monday morning.

Registration is open to all candidates who had entered for the Leaving Certificate/LCA examinations prior to their postponement. Students may enter for as many or as few of the exams for which they had previously registered.

The SEC says it is intended that candidates will sit their examinations in their former schools, as they would have had the exams proceeded in June. 

The format, content and structure of individual exam papers will be similar to those of previous years.

The exams will consist only of written papers. The SEC says it would not be "feasible or practical" to conduct examinations in oral or practical components, or to try to complete unfinished coursework.

However it says that in the case of five Leaving Certificate subjects, the SEC will mark coursework which was completed prior to the school closures. It says these marks will be included in the grading of those subjects.  The subjects are; Home Economics, the LCVP Portfolio, Design and Communication Graphics, the PE Physical Activity Project, and Engineering practical coursework.

In all other subjects, candidates will be awarded grades solely on the written papers.

An earlier arrangement, announced in March, that full marks would be awarded to students in place of oral language and music performance tests, was cancelled when the summer exams were postponed on May 8th and the system of Calculated Grades was introduced.

Planned Junior Cycle written exams for adult learners and early school leavers will also take place in November, beginning on November 16th.

The State Examinations Commissions says that it will communicate details of the exams to schools, and that additional information for Leaving Cert candidates will be available at www.examinations.ie when registration opens on Monday.

It says it expects to have results for students by early February.

 The exams are open to students who have already received calculated grades. They will be credited with whichever grade is highest.

Candidates can register for the exam via the Calculated Grades Student Portal, available at www.examinations.ie and at Gov.ie/leaving certificate.

Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) candidates can enter by emailing LCAexams2020@examinations.ie anytime over next week's five day Monday to Friday period.