Co-ordinator of Classics: Miss R Wildman
Why choose Latin at A Level?
“What can you do if you study Latin?” This is a natural question, and the answer is, “Whatever you want - only better”. There is a difference between education and training. Training teaches you to do a specific task well; education improves your life.
Choosing Latin can prepare you for the world of business, law or medicine by sharpening your ability to read and analyse information, by improving the clarity and persuasiveness of your speech and writing, and by making you an interesting, flexible, cultured person.
Students intending to apply for university should be aware that their applications will be competing with thousands of others. What will make you stand out from the crowd? A successful study of Latin will show you to be an interesting, intelligent student, devoted to learning and unafraid of challenge.
What does the Latin course involve?
Latin offers a valuable and enjoyable experience of a language and civilisation which have had a huge influence on the modern world. A study of Latin will give you the opportunity to acquire and develop a wide range of linguistic and literary skills. More than 90% of words of more than one syllable in the English language are derived from Latin. These are sophisticated words, illuminating concepts in both the Arts and Sciences that are so important in the world of cultured communication. In addition some of the finest literature ever written is in Latin. These are works of enduring quality and influence, such as Virgil’s epic poem the Aeneid, that have thrived for nearly 2,000 years.
How will I study Latin?
Your study will largely be an extension of the work you have done at GCSE but in a smaller group that will enable you to receive far more individual attention, tailored to your needs. The atmosphere is scholarly but informal. You will have already covered the major topics in your language work at GCSE level but these will require further consolidation and expansion as will your vocabulary base. Your set texts will be prepared thoroughly, working closely with your teacher.
How will I be assessed?
Examining Board: OCR
Lower Sixth AS Latin
All work is examined at a standard half-way between GCSE and A Level by means of two one and a half hour module papers of equal weighting.
Unseen Latin prose, consolidating the language learned at GCSE and looking at the grammar in more depth. This module will be tested in the examination by two passages of translation.
Latin Verse and Prose Literature
Prescribed verse such as Ovid’s Metamorphoses and prose texts taken from Tacitus for example, who was a famous Roman historian. These will be tested via comprehension and translation questions. The Literature will all be fully prepared before the examination.
Upper Sixth A2 Latin
This is for students who choose to carry on to achieve a full A Level qualification.
A prescribed verse text and unseen Latin verse, tested via comprehension and translation.
A prescribed prose text and unseen Latin prose, tested via comprehension and translation.
What qualifications do I need to start the Latin course?
It is highly recommended that you have an A or A* grade in Latin at GCSE.
With what other subjects does Latin fit?
Latin will fit comfortably with any combination of subjects, particularly now that students can choose four subjects at AS Level, and will provide breadth and a rewarding contrast in study for the scientist or mathematician. Its more natural home is on the Arts side, particularly with English (because of the great influence Latin literature has had upon it), Modern Languages (because Latin is at the core of so many European languages and helps with the study of others), History and, of course, Classical Civilisation and Classical Greek.
What can I do at University with an A Level in Latin?
A qualification in Latin will count as points towards university entrance. Where a student wishes to study an Arts subject at university (especially Law, English, History, Modern Languages, Philosophy or Religious Studies), the study of Latin at A Level will provide valuable support. For those who wish to pursue a course in Medicine or any other science-based subject, Latin will enhance and facilitate linguistic understanding of terminology. Those who develop an enthusiasm for Latin are able to pursue a full Classics degree at University.
How will an A Level in Latin help me in my future life and career?
In terms of vocational employment Latin is like most other subjects on the Arts side. There are only a few jobs for which it is essential, but it serves as a most reliable indicator of a student’s critical faculties, linguistic ability and logical approach. Latin remains very highly regarded in these areas, both by Universities and by many prospective employers whose jobs often do not require specific subject-related knowledge. Latin is important because of what it conveys about the abilities and qualities of the student who has pursued the course.
Classicists are highly employable! This is a fact borne out by the statistics on graduate employment and not just a view held by enthusiastic teachers of classics. Recruiters are often looking not for developed specialist knowledge but for what they term “personal transferable skills”. For classicists this means that they can market their versatility. Employers can trust that they will be able to think logically and write and communicate clearly and precisely. Language study requires rigorous attention to detail, much needed in many jobs, and the study of literature and history develops highly sought-after analytical and critical skills.