indianasharp
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Last year I decided to teach myself GCSE OCR Latin with no tutor, and although now I will not be sitting that exam due to corona, I'm hoping for above a 7 in my final grade. But now the time has come to finalise A-Level choices, and I know there's no way to teach myself the whole Latin A-Level with no tutor (there is no one ANYWHERE near me). However, I want to continue Latin very badly, and my dream is to study Classics at Oxford, so I'm considering attempting to self teach As-Level Latin. From looking at the spec for As, the amount of work seems similar to GCSE, and far less than the full A-Level.

I wonder whether there is anyone that has taken OCR GCSE and A Level Latin that can tell me if the jump from GCSE to As-Level is too large, and whether I would feasibly be able to teach myself the As in a year or two, alongside 3 other A-Levels and an extra GCSE, probably.
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OctoberRain7
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I don't know anything about studying Latin but I know that you can do Classics at Oxford with an extra year to learn Greek/Latin. I believe you need the full A Level to do the three-year course
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indianasharp
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Yeah, you're right, and I was aiming to do the full A-Level so I could do the three year, but it's just not possible. So I figured that As-Level was better than nothing and would maybe show Oxford that I am passionate
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OctoberRain7
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(Original post by indianasharp)
Yeah, you're right, and I was aiming to do the full A-Level so I could do the three year, but it's just not possible. So I figured that As-Level was better than nothing and would maybe show Oxford that I am passionate
I wouldn't say so, especially as they'll expect people applying to not have studied Latin at all. I know that for my degree (PPE) there wasn't much correlation between people who actually did politics/econ for A Level and those who actually got into Oxford. would be a better idea to do a lot of Classics-related further reading instead.
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indianasharp
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(Original post by OctoberRain7)
I wouldn't say so, especially as they'll expect people applying to not have studied Latin at all. I know that for my degree (PPE) there wasn't much correlation between people who actually did politics/econ for A Level and those who actually got into Oxford. would be a better idea to do a lot of Classics-related further reading instead.
Okay, that makes sense, I just thought it may be quite impressive to say I've self-taught, but the further reading is definitely on my list too! Thank you
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gelikanu
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I did OCR Latin GCSE last year and received a grade 9 and to be honest, alongside with Maths, I was very certain that I'd achieve that (not to sound cocky!). So I was going to sit AS Latin this year (but corona had other plans) and I am predicted an A. Primarily, I'd say that the grammar is probably the biggest jump. There is a lot more focus on the subjunctives as well as gerunds/gerundives which require a lot of focus and attentiveness. The structures of sentences become much more difficult. As for learning Language independently I think that it is okay since it's nothing totally brand new. However, you need to be strict with your learning. Taking time to learn the additional vocab to GCSEs (which isn't an insane amount tbh) is essential. My teacher set weekly tests to ensure that we were regularly learning the vocab so you may like to do that. Also, in this scenario Quizlet will be your best friend. Fortunately, people will have made helpful quizlets for Latin AS so definitely use them.

As for Literature, it is not completely brand new at all, the texts are just longer as well as the analysis questions. Make sure to practise them.

Overall, I think you are capable of doing it! Slacking, however, must be avoided because it is easy to fall into the trap and be lazy with it (trust me). I have hope in you! If you have any questions, feel free to message me!
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Compost
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Have tyou looked at the online options available, e.g. https://www.dl.cambridgescp.com/home-dl
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Gwil
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I have been teaching myself AS Latin! Like you, I have never learnt Latin at school and so have taught myself the subject from scratch. Sadly I won't get a grade because of the cancellation of this year's exams, but I'm still covering the course material. Since the start of this academic year I have managed to cover the Language component and the verse literature. I'm a little behind schedule on prose literature, but I think I will have covered it by the summer. I have enjoyed the course - it gives a rigorous foundation in the grammar and allows you to explore two literary texts in reasonable depth. I actually don't have a Latin GCSE, but I started teaching myself the language about three years ago, on and off, so I think you should find the AS-Level very accessible since you already have a GCSE.

I agree with the point though that it's not necessary for Classics at Oxford, in order to get in for the three year course, you would need the full A-Level, but for the four year course you don't need any Latin at all. I chose to do the AS Level because I'm not planning to do Classics at degree level but absolutely love it, so wanted to have an opportunity to fit it in, but it may make less sense in your case - unless you want to focus on Greek at uni instead, for example. Have you considered finding an online tutor who could help you with the full A-Level course, if you are really keen to apply for Oxford's 3-year Classics course? Otherwise it might be best to wait until you get to uni to continue with Latin, and instead focus on lots and lots of reading.
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artful_lounger
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I would note that you don't need to have studied either language (to GCSE or A-level) to study Classics at either Oxford or Cambridge. At Cambridge you can take the 4 year course, where you spend a preliminary year studying Latin intensively before moving into the regular 3 year course. At Oxford the course is always 4 years (there is NO three year classics course at Oxford - only CAAH and the other joint schools are potentially 3 years), but for course II (for those without A-level Greek and/or Latin) you will study just one language intensively for Classics Mods (the first two years of the course, or rather the first five terms of the first two years) and then have the option of taking up the second language in the Final Honour School (the last two years/seven terms of the course). I believe for course II at Oxford they usually expect you to do a summer school in the summer before starting in the language you'll be studying intensively; I'm not sure if this is the case at Cambridge.

Oxford also has Classical Archaeology & Ancient History, which doesn't require the languages either at A-level or even to be studied in the course itself (although you can study either language in the course, from scratch or post GCSE/A-level as appropriate). That course also obviously may be of more interest if you are less keen on the literature or philosophy (both of which are compulsory in Classics Mods at Oxford). There are also various other joint schools which you can normally study without having the languages beforehand (although Classics & Modern Languages I think you would need the modern language to A-level or equivalent if you are taking your classical language from scratch in the degree).

No matter what, even without any qualifications in either classical language you can do Classics at Oxford or Cambridge of course having some experience of the language(s) will be useful before starting (particularly if you are to be studying one intensively) so you can certainly make an attempt to self study one (or both). I would probably recommend you self study it in an extracurricular fashion rather than with the aim to sit the exam, as that way you can, when necessary, focus on your core 3 A-level subjects when needed to make sure you get the grades necessary to be considered in the first place (and if you get an offer, to achieve it!).
Last edited by artful_lounger; 9 months ago
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indianasharp
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(Original post by gelikanu)
I did OCR Latin GCSE last year and received a grade 9 and to be honest, alongside with Maths, I was very certain that I'd achieve that (not to sound cocky!). So I was going to sit AS Latin this year (but corona had other plans) and I am predicted an A. Primarily, I'd say that the grammar is probably the biggest jump. There is a lot more focus on the subjunctives as well as gerunds/gerundives which require a lot of focus and attentiveness. The structures of sentences become much more difficult. As for learning Language independently I think that it is okay since it's nothing totally brand new. However, you need to be strict with your learning. Taking time to learn the additional vocab to GCSEs (which isn't an insane amount tbh) is essential. My teacher set weekly tests to ensure that we were regularly learning the vocab so you may like to do that. Also, in this scenario Quizlet will be your best friend. Fortunately, people will have made helpful quizlets for Latin AS so definitely use them.

As for Literature, it is not completely brand new at all, the texts are just longer as well as the analysis questions. Make sure to practise them.

Overall, I think you are capable of doing it! Slacking, however, must be avoided because it is easy to fall into the trap and be lazy with it (trust me). I have hope in you! If you have any questions, feel free to message me!
Thank you so much for your lovely and insightful response - you make me feel as though it is achievable! I'm pleased to learn that the jump from GCSE to AS is not too vast to feasibly self-teach, so thank you for your advice. I'll definitely come to you with any questions I may have
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indianasharp
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(Original post by Gwil)
I have been teaching myself AS Latin! Like you, I have never learnt Latin at school and so have taught myself the subject from scratch. Sadly I won't get a grade because of the cancellation of this year's exams, but I'm still covering the course material. Since the start of this academic year I have managed to cover the Language component and the verse literature. I'm a little behind schedule on prose literature, but I think I will have covered it by the summer. I have enjoyed the course - it gives a rigorous foundation in the grammar and allows you to explore two literary texts in reasonable depth. I actually don't have a Latin GCSE, but I started teaching myself the language about three years ago, on and off, so I think you should find the AS-Level very accessible since you already have a GCSE.

I agree with the point though that it's not necessary for Classics at Oxford, in order to get in for the three year course, you would need the full A-Level, but for the four year course you don't need any Latin at all. I chose to do the AS Level because I'm not planning to do Classics at degree level but absolutely love it, so wanted to have an opportunity to fit it in, but it may make less sense in your case - unless you want to focus on Greek at uni instead, for example. Have you considered finding an online tutor who could help you with the full A-Level course, if you are really keen to apply for Oxford's 3-year Classics course? Otherwise it might be best to wait until you get to uni to continue with Latin, and instead focus on lots and lots of reading.
Thank you for your detailed advice, and for letting me know that it's do-able, I understand that the AS is not necessary for degree level, and may even seem a bit pointless as it won't reduce the length of the degree, but I thought it may serve as a physical symbol of my passion for classics and set me apart. I have been reading lots and will of course continue to do so, but I wonder how this could be demonstrated in my actual application? Thank you so much for your response!
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indianasharp
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
I would note that you don't need to have studied either language (to GCSE or A-level) to study Classics at either Oxford or Cambridge. At Cambridge you can take the 4 year course, where you spend a preliminary year studying Latin intensively before moving into the regular 3 year course. At Oxford the course is always 4 years (there is NO three year classics course at Oxford - only CAAH and the other joint schools are potentially 3 years), but for course II (for those without A-level Greek and/or Latin) you will study just one language intensively for Classics Mods (the first two years of the course, or rather the first five terms of the first two years) and then have the option of taking up the second language in the Final Honour School (the last two years/seven terms of the course). I believe for course II at Oxford they usually expect you to do a summer school in the summer before starting in the language you'll be studying intensively; I'm not sure if this is the case at Cambridge.

Oxford also has Classical Archaeology & Ancient History, which doesn't require the languages either at A-level or even to be studied in the course itself (although you can study either language in the course, from scratch or post GCSE/A-level as appropriate). That course also obviously may be of more interest if you are less keen on the literature or philosophy (both of which are compulsory in Classics Mods at Oxford). There are also various other joint schools which you can normally study without having the languages beforehand (although Classics & Modern Languages I think you would need the modern language to A-level or equivalent if you are taking your classical language from scratch in the degree).

No matter what, even without any qualifications in either classical language you can do Classics at Oxford or Cambridge of course having some experience of the language(s) will be useful before starting (particularly if you are to be studying one intensively) so you can certainly make an attempt to self study one (or both). I would probably recommend you self study it in an extracurricular fashion rather than with the aim to sit the exam, as that way you can, when necessary, focus on your core 3 A-level subjects when needed to make sure you get the grades necessary to be considered in the first place (and if you get an offer, to achieve it!).
Thank you so much for this very helpful reply, I wasn't aware that there was an Oxford Summer School for the languages, which may sway my position a bit on whether I should attempt the AS. The other courses that are variations of Classics do sound interesting, and perhaps I would consider Classics and Modern Languages as I'm beginning A-Level Spanish next year and really enjoy it. I completely understand your point in saying that I can apply with no prior Latin or Greek qualifications, but I wonder how, without sitting the exam, I could actually prove I had learnt the content? But I understand the importance of actually ensuring I get the grades in my 3 main A-Levels, maybe I should not get too ahead of myself!
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by indianasharp)
Thank you so much for this very helpful reply, I wasn't aware that there was an Oxford Summer School for the languages, which may sway my position a bit on whether I should attempt the AS. The other courses that are variations of Classics do sound interesting, and perhaps I would consider Classics and Modern Languages as I'm beginning A-Level Spanish next year and really enjoy it. I completely understand your point in saying that I can apply with no prior Latin or Greek qualifications, but I wonder how, without sitting the exam, I could actually prove I had learnt the content? But I understand the importance of actually ensuring I get the grades in my 3 main A-Levels, maybe I should not get too ahead of myself!
It's not that they run a summer school, it's that they require applicants to undertake one (I believe the standard option is one of the JACT summer schools).

The point of Classics II at Oxford is you don't need to have learnt the content before, other than through the summer school potentially. They do not expect you to have any qualfiications in the classical languages beforehand. The learning of it as an extracurricular activity is not to prove to someone else that you have done it, but for you own benefit for when you start the course - and just your own interest in the subject! Not everything has to be done for external validation
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jinxedkitty
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why do I feel like you and I are the same person hahah! I have the same dilemma!
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ROTL94
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Of course you an lad, you can teach yourself anything with enough time and the right resources
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Classics_Teacher
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It is possible, though as others have pointed out, it can sometimes be difficult to stay on schedule, particularly alongside doing other subjects at school which tend to take priority.
It is well worth considering looking at online tuition if you are not able to find a face-to-face tutor near you. There are plenty of sites to choose from, but Tutorful, First Tutors and Tutorfair are the more well-known ones.
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