A Level Latin (Reformed 2016)

What sort of student does it suit and what will you get out of the course?

Latin is a fascinating, challenging combination of the strictly logical and the poetic and creative. It is a very different language from English, and mastery requires precision, thorough understanding of its principles, and a very careful eye for detail. But the literature we will study is full of colourful tales from myth and history written by talented and witty authors, and students will not only read them but form and discuss their own opinions.

Although AS/A Level Latin is difficult, no previous knowledge of the language is necessary, and any combination of subjects can pair very well with Latin. Students of Classical Civilisation, History, English Language, Literature, or modern languages will all find aspects of the Latin syllabus both familiar and refreshingly different. Latin is also an excellent option for science students looking to broaden their subject portfolio – Latin has been called ‘the Mathematics of the Humanities,’ due to both its precise structure and its influence on so much of Western culture.

Due to its difficulty and the skills it requires and helps to develop, Latin is highly valued by both universities and employers in any field.

AS Level

MPW approach to AS Level study

AS Latin is a demanding course requiring students to develop a strong understanding of Latin grammar, syntax, accidence and vocabulary in a short time, alongside study of the prose and verse set texts, and students must therefore be aware that they will need to work extremely hard. Vocabulary and understanding of the language will be tested regularly to reinforce learning and identify areas which would benefit from additional practice. Regular practice of both translation and essay-writing will develop the skills necessary to approach these questions confidently in the exams.

AS Specification Number OCR H043

Component 01 – Language
1 hour 30 mins written paper, 80 marks – 50% of total AS

In this component, students will demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of Latin by translating one passage of unseen prose into English, and by answering a series of translation, grammar and comprehension questions.

Component 02 – Literature
2 hour written paper, 80 marks – 50% of total AS

This component will test a student’s understanding and analysis of Latin poetry and prose literature. The exam will include translation of passages of the set text into English, answering comprehension questions, and answering essay questions commenting on the style, meaning, content and context of the set text passages.

The prescribed prose text will be sections of the famous orator Cicero’s speech Pro Milone, in defence of the accused murderer Milo. The prescribed verse text will be sections of book 8 of Virgil’s Aeneid, the patriotic epic retelling the mythic foundation of Rome.

 

Reading list

AuthorTitle
Cicero Pro Milone: A Selection
Virgil Aeneid VIII: A Selection

A Level

MPW approach to A Level study

A Level Latin tests and develops the same skills as the AS course, but requires a more comprehensive knowledge of grammar, syntax and accidence, and a larger vocabulary. A wider range of prescribed literature will be studied, and more in-depth knowledge of the context in which these texts were written will be required. As with the AS course, learning and understanding will continually be tested and reinforced, and students should expect to be challenged throughout.

A Level Specification - OCR H443

Component 01 – Unseen Translation
1 hour 45 mins written paper, 100 marks – 33% of total A Level

In this component, students will demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of Latin by translating one passage of unseen prose and one passage of unseen verse into English.

The unseen prose passage will be from the Roman historian Livy’s account of Rome’s early history. The unseen verse passage will be from Ovid, one of Rome’s quirkiest and most creative poets.

Component 02 – Prose Composition or Comprehension
1 hour 15 mins written paper, 50 marks – 17% of total A Level

In this component, students will demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of Latin by answering a series of translation, grammar and comprehension questions based on a passage of unseen Latin.

Component 03 – Prose Literature
2 hour written paper, 75 marks – 25% of total A Level

This component tests a student’s understanding and analysis of Latin prose literature. The exam will include translation of passages of the prescribed text into English, answering comprehension questions, and answering essay questions commenting on the style, meaning, content and context of the set text passages.

The prescribed prose texts will be several sections of the famous orator Cicero’s speech Pro Milone, in defence of the accused murderer Milo.

Component 04 – Verse Literature
2 hour written paper, 75 marks – 25% of total A Level

This component tests a student’s understanding and analysis of Latin poetry. The exam will include translation of passages of the prescribed text into English, answering comprehension questions, and answering essay questions commenting on the style, meaning, content and context of the prescribed passages.

The prescribed verse texts will be sections of book 8 of Virgil’s Aeneid, the patriotic epic retelling the mythic foundation of Rome; and sections of Ovid’s Heroides, imaginative letters from the heroines of Greek myth to the men who wronged them.

 

Reading list

AuthorTitle
Cicero Pro Milone: A Selection
Virgil Aeneid VIII: A Selection
Ovid Heroides: A Selection