A Level Latin

 

What is it about at sixth-form level?

By studying Latin at A level, you will explore the language, literature and culture of the Roman world of the first century BCE and the first century CE, which were interesting times of great change. You will take a critical look at Latin poetry and prose and the society which produced it. Themes of ideology, immigration, power, imperialism, citizenship, status and identity are considered within this context. From studying these issues with a focus on a particular people of a different time, you will gain a perspective from which to evaluate other cultures, ancient and modern, including your own. You will be developing a sensitive and analytical approach to language generally, which will help in the understanding and application of English and other languages.

Lower sixth

In the first year, you will read two set texts in their original, un-adapted form. One is part of a speech from ‘one of the most intriguing and lurid ancient murder trials - set in the northern Italian provincial town of Larinum - by the young forensic lawyer Cicero, destined to become Rome’s most celebrated political orator’. The other set text is a selection of poems by Catullus, a writer ‘baring his feelings on the page in lines of unforgettable force. He is rude and crude when he wants to be, but also elegant and wistful, sometimes in the same poem. Above all, he recreates what it was to be a young poet in the heady world of the Roman republic’. You will also start building on the vocabulary, grammar and syntax you acquired at GCSE so that you have the linguistic skills to address increasingly difficult unseen translations and comprehensions, both prose and verse. You will learn how Latin poetry works and how to show your understanding of this in scansion.

Upper sixth

In the second year, you will make a detailed study of the second parts of the prescribed texts which you started in the first year. You will read further chapters of Cicero’s Pro Cluentio speech in Latin and some in English translation. You will study four more poems of Catullus in Latin and some in English translation. You will practise analysis and evaluation of the set texts at a deeper level and lean to write essays about them. You will read a fascinating range of texts by Livy, Ovid and other writers, which, as well as increasing your linguistic skills for more complex unseen translation and comprehension, will help you to gain a deeper understanding of the life and culture of the ancient world.

Why study it and what skills does it develop

The study of Latin has long been a respected part of an education and it develops a wide range of skills. In order to master the complex grammar, you will have to develop a logical mind. Alongside learning linguistics, you will be exploring historical, philosophical and literary ideas and making connections between them and the modern world. Close analysis of texts will develop a careful eye for detail and an appreciation of literary form. Classicists have long been admired for the measured and beautiful powers of oral and written expression such study yields. These universally-respected attributes means that Latin works well with any combination of academic subjects.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

A grade 7 or higher in GCSE Latin is desirable with a 6 as a minimum as the jump from GCSE to A level is considerable. You will also need an interest in literature, history and politics.

How is the course assessed?

A level

For the A level, there are four exams. Paper 1 (Unseen Translation) will test students’ ability to translate seen prose and verse. Paper 2 (Prose Composition or Comprehension) will test their ability to understand more advanced prose unseen passages or their ability to translate into Latin. Paper 3 (Prose Literature) will test students’ knowledge and understanding of Cicero Pro Cluentio. The Paper 4 (Verse Literature) will test their knowledge and understand Catullus. Paper 1 is worth 33% of the A level and lasts 1 hour 45 minutes. Paper 2 is worth 17% and lasts 1 hour 15 minutes. Papers 3 and 4 are worth 25% each and last 2 hours each.

Reading

To be confirmed at the start of the course

Catullus: A Selection of Poems Paperback – (16 Apr 2020)

By John Godwin (Editor)
ISBN-10: 1350060224 and ISBN-13: 978-1350060227

Cicero: Pro Cluentio: A Selection Paperback – (16 Apr 2020)

By Matthew Barr (Editor)
ISBN-10: 1350060348 and ISBN-13: 978-1350060340

Cicero: Murder Trials: ‘In Defence of Sextus Roscius of America’, ‘In Defence of Aulus Cluentius Habitus’, etc (Penguin Classics) (1975)

By Michael Grant (Editor)
ISBN-10: 014044288X and ISBN-13: 978-0140442885

Exam Board and Specification Codes

A level: OCR H443

 

Samuel

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
Exeter University (International Relations)

I have really enjoyed my time MPW and would recommend this college to anyone. I learnt how to work more efficiently and revise more effectively thanks to the tutorials and weekly Timed Assignments, which also allowed me to prepare myself mentally for the exams from the first day. My history teacher was phenomenal. He managed to get me to reengage with the subject, as well as giving me all the support and help I asked for and more, giving me the knowledge and exams technique needed to achieve an A*."

Mark

Grades achieved at MPW
AAB

Progressed to
Southampton University (Business Innovation)

The small class sizes proved invaluable for a number of reasons, some of which I did not anticipate. Aside from the obvious individual attention, the size of the class allowed for a lot of students’ questions to turn into a fruitful academic discussion. I have found the atmosphere at the college far more friendly and supportive than I expected. The support I had from my Personal Tutor was very helpful during the application process for university. I could tell that he really did care about my future and wanted to do everything he could in order to help me secure my place at my chosen university. Overall, I am pleased to say that my high expectations of MPW were fully met.

Matthew

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Warwick University (Chemistry)

“I have definitely made the right decision to come to MPW - my grades have gone from averaging Es to straight As. Teaching at MPW is much more personal and I felt like talking to teachers. They are very good and give you lots of support if you do not understand something. My Personal Tutor took me through the UCAS process step by step. We went through my Personal Statement many times to make sure it was completely perfect. I am very excited about my firm choice.”

Gabriel

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Nottingham University (Philosophy)

As a dyslexic student who initially got CCEE for my AS, I was convinced that I could not achieve any higher. My time at MPW proved me wrong. Initially I was reluctant to move from my local school in York to a college so far away from home, my parents, and friends. At the end of my first year I was overjoyed to find that many hours of hard work and renewed revision techniques had resulted in me achieving three A's in my subjects. I wanted to continue at A2 as I knew it would greatly improve my university prospects and encourage me to work even harder. After two fantastic years at MPW I can emphatically say that going to MPW was the best decision I ever made. 

Andrew

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of York (Law) 

“Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful.”

Anastasia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Economics) 

“Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one.”

Akmaral

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

“International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college.”

Julia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AABB

Progressed to
King's College London (International Relations)

 “The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do.”