Information about A-Level Latin? Watch

xpalmtreex
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I'm choosing my A-levels next week, and I'm suddenly having second thoughts about taking Latin. I'm currently doing the GCSE and while I like the language aspects (translating etc) and I don't mind learning vocab, I'm not really enjoying the literature part, i.e. memorising Sagae Thessalae and the Aeneid in English and then answering long-winded questions about characters etc.

I wanted to take Latin A-level mostly because I'm also going to take French and Spanish, and so far Latin has really helped with vocab in those other languages! And there would be a small class size (like, 2-4), which is always good. But now that I'm not enjoying the GCSE as much I'm not sure if I would be able to cope with/stay motivated for the A-level. I guess I could always drop it at AS, and I don't really have anything else I would rather take...but I'm still not sure

How similar is A-level Latin to the GCSE? Is there lots of translation, or is it mostly comprehension-style and memorising in English? If you've done it/are doing it, would you recommend taking it for A-level?

Thank you~!
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Darth_Newdar
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(Original post by xpalmtreex)
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Hello there, I may not be the ideal person to answer your questions, as although I am currently doing Latin A2, I didn't do Latin at GCSE - I did an Open University course before A-Level. So I can't compare AS to GCSE; in addition, I'm applying for Classics this year, so I am slightly biased toward Latin However, here are my thoughts.

For Latin AS, you sit two papers at the end of the year. The first paper is Latin Language, where you're given two pieces of unseen Latin prose to translate. The first is simpler, and is worth 70%, whilst the second is harder (usually Cicero), and is worth 30%. The second paper is the Literature paper. You have to study both Latin verse and prose during the year - Ovid's Amores (3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.14) and part of Cicero's In Verrem. Each part is worth 50% of the Literature paper. In the exam, you're given an extract from the set text, and asked four types of questions: (1) translate part of it (2) comprehension questions (3) 'style' questions, i.e. 'how does the author achieve his effects' (4) one essay question, worth 10 marks. This is then repeated for the second set text.

Now, in terms of whether you'll enjoy it, it's hard for me to assess. I personally really enjoyed it. The Cicero, in particular, is quite fun - it's a litigation against the absolutely terrible Verres (according to Cicero!), who apparently cannot resist stealing statues and generally being a bit of a comic villain. The Latin is pretty hard, but the text is definitely enjoyable. I enjoyed the Ovid somewhat less. Bits of it are very interesting, but 3.14 in particular is just not a very good poem, in my opinion. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it. However, because neither texts are narratives (like the Aeneid), you won't have too many tedious character questions.

For the language paper, you just have to make sure you're on top of the AS grammar and vocabulary. I found the grammar quite a jump from my OU course, but I think coming from GCSE it's not too much of a problem. The vocab is without doubt a challenge (850 words), but is doable - just make sure you start learning them during the year, and don't leave it till May!

I would recommend that you have a look on the OCR website at a few of the past papers, to see if you think you'd be okay with the Literature component. Personally, I'd say go for it, particularly as it goes well with your other language A-Levels, but of course at the end of the day the most important thing is that you enjoy it.

If you have any other questions, let me know. Hope this helps!
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xpalmtreex
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(Original post by Darth_Newdar)
Hello there, I may not be the ideal person to answer your questions, as although I am currently doing Latin A2, I didn't do Latin at GCSE - I did an Open University course before A-Level. So I can't compare AS to GCSE; in addition, I'm applying for Classics this year, so I am slightly biased toward Latin However, here are my thoughts.

For Latin AS, you sit two papers at the end of the year. The first paper is Latin Language, where you're given two pieces of unseen Latin prose to translate. The first is simpler, and is worth 70%, whilst the second is harder (usually Cicero), and is worth 30%. The second paper is the Literature paper. You have to study both Latin verse and prose during the year - Ovid's Amores (3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.14) and part of Cicero's In Verrem. Each part is worth 50% of the Literature paper. In the exam, you're given an extract from the set text, and asked four types of questions: (1) translate part of it (2) comprehension questions (3) 'style' questions, i.e. 'how does the author achieve his effects' (4) one essay question, worth 10 marks. This is then repeated for the second set text.

Now, in terms of whether you'll enjoy it, it's hard for me to assess. I personally really enjoyed it. The Cicero, in particular, is quite fun - it's a litigation against the absolutely terrible Verres (according to Cicero!), who apparently cannot resist stealing statues and generally being a bit of a comic villain. The Latin is pretty hard, but the text is definitely enjoyable. I enjoyed the Ovid somewhat less. Bits of it are very interesting, but 3.14 in particular is just not a very good poem, in my opinion. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it. However, because neither texts are narratives (like the Aeneid), you won't have too many tedious character questions.

For the language paper, you just have to make sure you're on top of the AS grammar and vocabulary. I found the grammar quite a jump from my OU course, but I think coming from GCSE it's not too much of a problem. The vocab is without doubt a challenge (850 words), but is doable - just make sure you start learning them during the year, and don't leave it till May!

I would recommend that you have a look on the OCR website at a few of the past papers, to see if you think you'd be okay with the Literature component. Personally, I'd say go for it, particularly as it goes well with your other language A-Levels, but of course at the end of the day the most important thing is that you enjoy it.

If you have any other questions, let me know. Hope this helps!
Thank you very much for the info, it was really helpful! I'll have a look at the OCR website, but I'm tempted just to go for it anyway since I don't really have anything else I would rather choose. And the texts studied at A-level do look more interesting than the ones I'm doing now for GCSE. Thanks!
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LuxVeritatis
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If you are disliking the memorising Latin literature at GCSE you may want to have a think about AS and A2 - GCSE is about 150 lines, AS is about 225 lines, and A2 is about 300 lines to memorise, and the essays get gradually more demanding! Though the texts really are wonderful.
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xpalmtreex
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(Original post by LuxVeritatis)
If you are disliking the memorising Latin literature at GCSE you may want to have a think about AS and A2 - GCSE is about 150 lines, AS is about 225 lines, and A2 is about 300 lines to memorise, and the essays get gradually more demanding! Though the texts really are wonderful.
Yeah, although the texts are quite a bit longer at A-level they are apparently really good! I'll just have to see how it goes next year I guess. Thank you!
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dtin
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(Original post by xpalmtreex)
I'm choosing my A-levels next week, and I'm suddenly having second thoughts about taking Latin. I'm currently doing the GCSE and while I like the language aspects (translating etc) and I don't mind learning vocab, I'm not really enjoying the literature part, i.e. memorising Sagae Thessalae and the Aeneid in English and then answering long-winded questions about characters etc.

I wanted to take Latin A-level mostly because I'm also going to take French and Spanish, and so far Latin has really helped with vocab in those other languages! And there would be a small class size (like, 2-4), which is always good. But now that I'm not enjoying the GCSE as much I'm not sure if I would be able to cope with/stay motivated for the A-level. I guess I could always drop it at AS, and I don't really have anything else I would rather take...but I'm still not sure

How similar is A-level Latin to the GCSE? Is there lots of translation, or is it mostly comprehension-style and memorising in English? If you've done it/are doing it, would you recommend taking it for A-level?

Thank you~!
I think i'm the person to ask because I do Spanish, Latin and French A-Levels and I did the GCSE in Latin so feel free to ask me anything you want to know about the AS or A2
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Midlander
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I did it and the AEA 5 years ago and loved it, though I went on to do chemistry at uni. A very good subject in its own right and to support other subjects.


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