How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate

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How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate
Garret Baker in How To Cheat In The Leaving Certificate.JPG
Garret Baker in How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate
Directed by Graham Jones
Produced by
  • Ciara Flanagan
  • Graham Jones
Written by
  • Aislinn O'Loughlin
  • Graham Jones
  • Tadhg O'Higgins
Release date
  • 17 April 1998 (1998-04-17) (Ireland)
  • 4 October 1997 (1997-10-04) (U.S.)
Running time
80 Minutes
Country Ireland

How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate is a 1998 independent Irish film directed by Graham Jones, in which six teenagers devise a plan to cheat in their Leaving Certificate final school examinations. The film was shot in black and white on Super 16mm. After being hailed by critics it was blown up to 35mm for theatrical distribution. Many well known Irish faces made cameo appearances and some commentators regard the 2004 American film, The Perfect Score, as a remake.[1][2][3]


Upon being caught cheating in his Leaving Certificate exam and being banned from sitting the exam for another three years, a young man commits suicide. A close friend of his subsequently plots to cheat in his own Leaving Certificate in order to get revenge against the system. With the help of a rag-tag group of friends this young man organizes a complex scheme to steal copies of the test papers from the Department of Education and, upon winning, show the world he has beaten the system.


A few weeks before the film went on general release in Ireland, the Junior Minister for Education, Willie O'Dea, condemned the film, leading to widespread coverage in newspapers, television, and radio.[4] In part, anxiety was due to the timing of the film's release, which occurred a few months before the annual summer exams. Other projects by Graham Jones such as Fudge 44 and Traveller Wedding have also caused controversy.


I Hear You Breathing In from Eleanor McEvoy's debut album, Eleanor McEvoy and Parachute by Something Happens are some of the tracks featured in the film.


  1. ^ "Review: 'How to Cheat in the Leaving Certificate'". Variety Magazine. 11 August 1997. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  2. ^ "Cinema: How to cheat in the Leaving Certificate". An Phoblacht. 9 April 1998. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Lights, Camera, Action!". The Irish Times. 21 April 1998. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  4. ^ Video on YouTube

External links[edit]