Learning Latin A-level... Watch

aaa111
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I've been studying Latin for about four years, but have only just realised, after taking the GCSE, how much I actually want to do it. I really, really want to carry on doing it for A-level but I'm having trouble persuading my school to offer the course, as I'm the only one who wants to do it, and the school would have to get a special teacher in to do it, as none of the teachers are qualified to teach A-level. I'm not really very hopeful that I will be able to do it next year, but I'm going to fight it.

I just wondered whether anyone thinks that it would be possible to teach myself the course? I know it's hard, I've been told about the huge amount of set texts but I really, REALLY want to do it (I've never wanted to do anything more - yes, i'm a loser) and I'd really love to go on and study classics or latin at university. Do you think that it would be possible to get in to the course without the A-level, or with just the AS?

Also, does anyone have any suggestions about what books would be good to help me with my learning? I don't want a book for beginners as my Latin is pretty good, but I'd really love to be able to enter myself for the exam and prove my school wrong!

Sorry for the length of this, thank you for any of your suggestions
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kjc_us
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It would be such a waste for someone so enthusiastic to not carry on with Latin! I don't really think AS Latin is any harder than GCSE, there's just more to learn. If you're motivated enough it is definitely possible to teach yourself Latin AS.

Go onto the OCR website and print yourself off a copy of the AS vocab list and learn it for the exam. When you've learnt it, test yourself on this website: http://www.cambridgescp.com/ws2_tlc/...ras/ocras.html.
Also, get yourself a good grammar book, I would suggest 'Cambridge Latin Grammar' or 'The Latin Language: A Handbook for Students'; both of which I've used for AS successfully. Translating the texts will be challenging, but get yourself copies of the English translations to help and I'm sure your GCSE Latin teachers will help you if you're stuck. I'm not sure where you find him but search on Google for 'Terry Bird' - for a small fee he provides you with copies of the texts in Latin with a running vocabulary - REALLY helpful. Alternatively, let me know which texts you will be doing and if they're the same ones as we've done I'll send you a copy, and my translations to save you some work. As you'll have no teacher, it is essential that you buy a copy of the text with a commentary as you won't be able to do this on your own. I'm pretty sure my teachers use the 'Bristol Classical Press' ones, e.g. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Aeneid-Bk-12...3812574&sr=8-1 which are very good.

Good luck and do get in touch if you have any problems. Latin is a great subject!
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kjc_us
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P.S. You're not a loser, you're ambitious and passionate about what you do and it's great! We need more people like me and you in the world! (Although on second thoughts - there's less competition this way, lol.)
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aaa111
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Thank you very much. I've got the Cambridge Latin Grammar and also the whole set of Cambridge Latin Course books, 1-4, do you think it's necessary to buy the fifth one? If I'm attempting to do it alone, does that mean I get to choose which set texts to study? If so, do you have any suggestions?
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kjc_us
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No I don't think it's necessary. I never covered all of them and I did okay. Although if you're doing it alone it might be worth doing so for translation practice...

Yes you probably will have some choice. I assume you'd be doing OCR? I'd recommend doing one WHOLE text rather than 2 half texts because it cuts down your work load, but if you'd like a bit of variety then do 2 half texts. DO SOME VIRGIL - you absolutely MUST do some Virgil, he's amazing. I've studied Book IV which was excellent but Book XII is THE best book - it's the last one. I also did Cicero's Pro Roscio which was tedious as hell and really not interesting, but I guess it's a matter of taste... it depends which texts the exam board publish, you'll have to look into it, but if you get the chance to do Virgil DO IT DO IT DO IT! (Plus if you do Bk. XII I can send you all my notes... lol).
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Nayberay
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If your school don't offer why don't you just become an External Candidate at another school where they offer it.

That would involve you self teaching/getting a tutor and taking the exam at another school.

I'm considering doing GCSE latin alongside my AS Levels in Sept (year 12) because I think it would be interesting to learn and a friend of mine said that it was enjoyable.

All the best
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Kestrel_Lover_Sophie
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(Original post by kjc_us)
P.S. You're not a loser, you're ambitious and passionate about what you do and it's great! We need more people like me and you in the world! (Although on second thoughts - there's less competition this way, lol.)
:dito: Latin rules :cool:
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Lidka
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I was in the same position as you after I finished my GCSEs, OP. I ended up getting a tutor because my school wouldn't offer it (they built a new sports hall instead!), and it was the subject I enjoyed the most at A-level. Persevere! It certainly is possible to teach yourself, especially as you have a good basic grounding already. I'd taken the GCSE in a year, so found it pretty hard taking it to a higher level, but it was so, so worth it. I found this book really helpful for exam practice, and would really recommend it even if you're just doing Latin for fun.

As for getting onto a Classics course with just an AS, it's certainly possible. Most classics courses these days take students with just GCSE level Latin or even less. Have a look at entry requirements - Cambridge, for example, would be happy to take you even with your current level of Latin. Good luck!
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Aconite
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I took Latin GCSE, AS and A level. I'm a dying breed. It's not a bad subject, but the grammar, the grammar.
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aaa111
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Thank you all so much for your help and support. I'm slightly confused with what texts will be necessary for me to study at AS. The OCR website states that there are 4 groups, group A - non historical prose (cicero), group B - epic (virgil), group C - historians (tacitus) and group D - non epic verse (ovid). Is it necessary for me to study ALL of these set texts? I understand that I get to choose which unit to sit for the first exam (Literature 1), but the Literature 2 paper (where you have to translate two passages and then do an essay question I think...) has all of the different books in it. I'm not too sure whether I have to study all of them or not, and I'm not really too clued up about the whole thing - I don't know much about all of the exams and what they will be like either...

Sorry to be a pain!
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aaa111
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Is it possible to just study one text for the whole course? So I can just study both parts of the Aeneid XII for the whole AS? What ones do you all recommend that I do?
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kjc_us
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(Original post by Aconite)
I took Latin GCSE, AS and A level. I'm a dying breed. It's not a bad subject, but the grammar, the grammar.
Everyone always moans about Latin grammar - seriously, it's so much easier to understand than everyone makes out.

OP, be not afraid of the grammar: it was my favourite bit!
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kjc_us
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(Original post by aaa111)
Is it possible to just study one text for the whole course? So I can just study both parts of the Aeneid XII for the whole AS? What ones do you all recommend that I do?
Yes this is possible. And doing just one whole text rather than two half texts makes the work load a bit more bearable.

The Literature 1 paper is where you get 2 commentary questions. I did 2 half texts so I got one for Cicero and one for Virgil. But there was one girl who was doing Latin off the timetable so she got more choice over what she wanted to do, so she did the WHOLE of Aeneid XII (although she was so lazy she never actually finished translating it so she's headed for a big fat U), and got 2 commentary questions still but one was on the first half and the other was on the second half.

The Literature 2 paper is where you get given 2 small translations which should be a piece of cake because you've learnt it all. I had to translate a bit from Cicero and a bit from Virgil. If you're doing a whole text you just translate one bit from each half of the text.
Now earlier I said that doing one whole text makes the workload more bearable. This is because in the Literature 2 paper there is also an essay. If you only do one text you have to do that essay. If you do 2 half texts then you get a choice, i.e. for me I could either do the Cicero essay or the Virgil essay. Most people went in with an open mind, but I hated Cicero and made the decision that I would do the Virgil essay no matter what, so I only prepared for Virgil. For the essay you have to have a good enough knowledge of the other half of the text you haven't studied to be able to make references to it in the essay. You only have to know the other half in English but if you do one whole text then you study it all in Latin anyway and you'll end up with a really good knowledge of the text so the essay will be easy. It'll probably be easier as well because you'll get used to the author's style of writing etc. and so things like spotting stylistic points, techniques, etc. will be easy.

I'd definitely recommend the Aeneid XII as a whole text. It's absolutely fabulous and if I could have done all of that text rather than doing bloody Cicero (:mad:) I soooo would have!

Rock on Latin. :cool:
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Q.E.D
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As everyone else has said, it is not only possible, but also a brilliant A level. Persevere with it, the grammar is really not that bad, and if you make sure you learn it as you go, you'll be fine. With regard to teaching yourself, I'm sure you won't have any trouble, and if you do, post here, and I'm sure we'd all be happy to help (if we can)...

As for the lit, I really enjoyed the Cicero, but it really depends on what you like; one full text is definitely less work, but I liked having the variety, got me a lot more interested in the course as a whole, and also I understood the context of everything that little bit better...

Books; well for grammar I would recommend getting the Oxford Latin Grammar by James Morwood to start, that has all the syntax and accidence you need for AS, and it is very user friendly. If you decide you do want to continue to A2 and uni, then Kennedy is also a great grammar, not as user friendly, but far more detailed.
Use the OCR DVL for AS, but keep a list of unknown vocab from translations, as A2 has no DVL.
For the literature, I suggest you get a students' copy of the original text; bristol classical press or cambridge latin and greek classics were the ones we used, then an english translation, but there are loads floating around on the net...
Oh and get yourself a small ainsworth/ other decent dictionary, just so you aren't wasting time hunting down vocab in your set texts the whole time

Good luck...it is great that you want to teach yourself...Latin is AWESOME (but not as cool as greek)
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aaa111
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(Original post by Q.E.D)
Latin is AWESOME (but not as cool as greek)
Don't worry, that's going to be the next thing
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Q.E.D
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Yay!!
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epitome
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Dude, you rock!

There is no reason why you shouldn't be able to do the majority of the work yourself, though you will find it much easier with the co-operation of an exam centre (typically, a school), and some kind of teacher or tutor. If you got on with your old Latin teacher, get back in touch with them (if you don't know how to, ask in your school's office or the secretary or equivalent). They will very likely be dead chuffed that you're so enthusiastic, and will probably offer you some help.

Failing that, try to find a tutor, if only for a few hours here and there. If you choose to do things like coursework, you will need someone to help with just the basic things (like exam board deadlines). You'll also need to be entered for the exams. There's the matter, too, of the details -- which sections of what you have to study, and what options are available. This is best explained by someone who actually *knows*.

So, follow your enthusiasm (and, as Lidka says, if you're enthusiastic & able enough, even Oxbridge will take a virtual beginner at both Latin & Greek for Classics, so you've nothing to worry about there) -- it'll et you a long way!

Very best of luck.
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StarfishGirl
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I would love to learn Latin, but have never had the opportunity to do so, and so I've decided to self-study. Can anyone suggest a good book to begin with? (I am a complete beginner - even picture books may be helpful hehe) Thanks!
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Ed.
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Join the Classics society :yep: We can help you in there.
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Angelil
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I've got no really good advice tbh - it's already all been said :yes:
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