A Level Latin

A Level Latin

Enter the fascinating and complex ancient world, building confidence and fluency in vocabulary and word forms as you develop your language skills. Through Cicero’s political attack on Mark Anthony, you will step into the chaos that followed Caesar’s civil war. Extracts from Virgil’s Aeneid will reveal insights into what it meant to be a ‘hero’ in ancient society and open up themes of war, justice and the gods.

Why St Mary's

You will benefit from a supportive learning environment, working with Latin teachers who are passionate about this broad, engaging subject which combines history, literature and language into one qualification.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

  • Cambridge Classical Association lectures
  • The Cambridge Greek Play and other theatre trips
  • Cambridge University Classics A Level study days
  • Classics trip to Italy or Greece
  • Museum visits to view classical collections
  • Leading a Classics Club for younger students
  • Teacher surgeries to support your progress

Enabling your transition from GCSE

Our small class sizes ensure you have access to all the teaching support you need, tailored to suit your preferred learning styles. Regular teacher surgeries offer additional individual help and support, as required.

Throughout your course, you will have access to exceptional resources to support progress including JSTOR and MASSOLIT for scholarly articles on ancient literature and culture.

Course overview

A Level content

  • Unit 1 Unseen translation: You will improve language skills by learning new grammar and constructions, and will study in particular the works of a prose author, Livy, and a poet, Ovid. You will translate a passage from each author and will also scan two lines of poetry, showing understanding of poetic metre.
  • Unit 2 Prose composition or comprehension: You will continue to develop language skills – in this paper you have the choice of answering comprehension and translation questions on the language of a passage of prose or translating a short passage of English into Latin.
  • Unit 3 Prose literature: You will study either a larger extract of one prose set text or shorter extracts from two authors, including some study of the literature in translation. For 2020 students will study the Cicero speech mentioned above, exploring the context of the literature as well as its style and content, and will answer questions on aspects of the text.
  • Unit 4 Verse literature: You will again have the option of studying one or two authors – for 2020 students will study the Virgil chapter mentioned above. You will study the context of the literature and gain an understanding and appreciation of Virgil’s style, presentation of characters and the content and plot - answering questions on the text, including a brief translation.

Assessment

A Level assessment

  • Paper 1: Unseen translation – You will translate a passage from two authors (Livy and Ovid) and scan two lines of poetry, showing understanding of poetic metre. 33% of total mark
  • Paper 2: Prose composition or comprehension – In this paper you have a choice of answering comprehension and translation questions on the language of a passage of prose or translating a short passage of English into Latin. 17% of total mark
  • Paper 3: Prose literature – You will answer questions on Cicero’s prose demonstrating your understanding of the style, presentation of characters, argument and wider context of this piece. You will also translate passages into English. 25% of total mark
  • Paper 4: Verse literature – You will answer questions on Virgil’s Aeneid, demonstrating your understanding of the style, presentation of characters, argument and wider context of this piece. You will also translate passages into English. 25% of total mark

Visit our Sixth Form

At a glance
  • Syllabus: OCR (H443)
  • 4 written exams
  • Small class sizes
  • Classics trip to Italy or Greece
You will enjoy this course if you...
  • Are keen on languages
  • Like analysing information
  • Have an interest in history
  • Are curious about society
  • Have a problem-solving approach
  • Like debate and communicating ideas

What our teachers say...

“We love the range of Latin. It enables you to study language, literature and history in one single course.”

“Do the gods light this fire in our hearts or does each man's mad desire become his god?” Virgil, The Aeneid

Latin at GCSE and A Level explores literature, language and history, to offer unique insight into human nature and the mistakes and successes of history.

Knowledge of this ancient society, which shaped so much of today’s world is key to informing how we create a better future.

GCSE Latin provides a solid foundation for progressing to A Level studies. Studying Latin encourages you to look at the big picture, to think analytically and to confidently communicate your own ideas and opinions – all skills that are great preparation for higher education. It is also interesting to note that GCHQ and MI5 seek to recruit Classicists because they develop an aptitude for code-breaking!

The University of Cambridge ranks Classicists as one of the most employable Arts graduates due to the wide range of transferable skills they possess. A Latin qualification opens up a wide range of inspiring career paths including law, journalism, politics, academia and the civil service.

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