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Does GCSE Latin really help with other subjects?

Keep in mind I’m in y8. So we were given the option between Classics and Latin for the next year, and after a lot of research I chose Classics due to it being more enjoyable and more for me. Some background: Classics is about reading classical literature and writing essays, but is not a GCSE offered at my school, so I will only be able to do it for around nine months until I have to choose my GCSEs. Latin is a GCSE, and I’ve been doing it for nearly two years now, but I just haven’t enjoyed it and don’t really like it that much, compared to my love of classics/english. This is why I chose classics but now I am second guessing because I did some more research and apparently, latin is really good for other subjects such as learning science terms, with English (although I think classics could do the same, unless there’s anything I don’t know), Spanish , maths and other logical subjects and so on. I want to do the best possible in my GCSEs and would like to go to top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. For this reason, I’m thinking that Latin might be helpful but is that really true? I don’t like Latin very much as I’ve already said, and am willing to work hard on all my compulsory subjects (the sciences, maths, english), but will I be disadvantaged against others who are taking Latin? I haven’t chosen my GCSEs but I’m taking Spanish and Computer Science and have to choose two more. Is Latin really that helpful? Any other advice on anything would be really helpful and please say if you need more context, I’m not sure if I’ve covered everything.
Original post by FlyingSquirrel10
Is Latin really that helpful?

No. Hardly anyone does it in the first place. If you choose the subjects you like and focus on getting the best grades in those subjects, then you'll have a good grade profile for universities when the time comes.
Reply 2
Original post by FlyingSquirrel10
Keep in mind I’m in y8. So we were given the option between Classics and Latin for the next year, and after a lot of research I chose Classics due to it being more enjoyable and more for me. Some background: Classics is about reading classical literature and writing essays, but is not a GCSE offered at my school, so I will only be able to do it for around nine months until I have to choose my GCSEs. Latin is a GCSE, and I’ve been doing it for nearly two years now, but I just haven’t enjoyed it and don’t really like it that much, compared to my love of classics/english. This is why I chose classics but now I am second guessing because I did some more research and apparently, latin is really good for other subjects such as learning science terms, with English (although I think classics could do the same, unless there’s anything I don’t know), Spanish , maths and other logical subjects and so on. I want to do the best possible in my GCSEs and would like to go to top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. For this reason, I’m thinking that Latin might be helpful but is that really true? I don’t like Latin very much as I’ve already said, and am willing to work hard on all my compulsory subjects (the sciences, maths, english), but will I be disadvantaged against others who are taking Latin? I haven’t chosen my GCSEs but I’m taking Spanish and Computer Science and have to choose two more. Is Latin really that helpful? Any other advice on anything would be really helpful and please say if you need more context, I’m not sure if I’ve covered everything.

Heya!
It's great that you've thoroughly researched and considered your options. While Latin can be beneficial for various subjects and may provide certain advantages, it's important to prioritise your interests and enjoyment when making academic decisions :h: Remember that top universities like Oxford and Cambridge value a well-rounded academic profile, so excelling in subjects you genuinely enjoy and are passionate about, such as Classics and English, can still greatly contribute to your overall application. Focus on developing strong skills in your chosen subjects, maintain a well-balanced approach to your studies, and consider seeking guidance from teachers or mentors to make informed decisions about your GCSE subjects.

I hope this helps!
Milena
UCL PFE
Study Mind
Reply 3
Original post by FlyingSquirrel10
Keep in mind I’m in y8. So we were given the option between Classics and Latin for the next year, and after a lot of research I chose Classics due to it being more enjoyable and more for me. Some background: Classics is about reading classical literature and writing essays, but is not a GCSE offered at my school, so I will only be able to do it for around nine months until I have to choose my GCSEs. Latin is a GCSE, and I’ve been doing it for nearly two years now, but I just haven’t enjoyed it and don’t really like it that much, compared to my love of classics/english. This is why I chose classics but now I am second guessing because I did some more research and apparently, latin is really good for other subjects such as learning science terms, with English (although I think classics could do the same, unless there’s anything I don’t know), Spanish , maths and other logical subjects and so on. I want to do the best possible in my GCSEs and would like to go to top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. For this reason, I’m thinking that Latin might be helpful but is that really true? I don’t like Latin very much as I’ve already said, and am willing to work hard on all my compulsory subjects (the sciences, maths, english), but will I be disadvantaged against others who are taking Latin? I haven’t chosen my GCSEs but I’m taking Spanish and Computer Science and have to choose two more. Is Latin really that helpful? Any other advice on anything would be really helpful and please say if you need more context, I’m not sure if I’ve covered everything.

i wouldn’t say it’s worth doing latin. this is coming from an a-level latin student who has always adored latin and is applying to do it at uni - as much as i personally love the subject, i wouldn’t say it’s as much of a help for other subjects as people say it is. it’s one of these cross-curricular clichés that fly about, such as ‘maths and music are very compatible’, etc. there may be some tenuous links between latin and other subjects in terms of the psychological processes they entail, but basically you won’t find it any help with other gcse subjects. especially the whole ‘learning scientific terms’ thing, people recommend latin gcse to med students all too often saying that it will help them with medical terminology. in reality, there is practically no effect. and forget about it helping with maths, again this stems from the cliché idea of latin being very ‘logical’. the only thing i’d say it might help with is english, but i think classics is even more helpful in that regard, since there’s more essay writing. i could see it somewhat helping with spanish, but essentially, if your really don’t like latin, then it’s not worth doing it for that one small link.

hope this helps, and sorry it was unnecessarily long :smile:
(edited 10 months ago)
Original post by whyhello
i wouldn’t say it’s worth doing latin. this is coming from an a-level latin student who has always adored latin and is applying to do it at uni - as much as i personally love the subject, i wouldn’t say it’s as much of a help for other subjects as people say it is. it’s one of these cross-curricular clichés that fly about, such as ‘maths and music are very compatible’, etc. there may be some tenuous links between latin and other subjects in terms of the psychological processes they entail, but basically you won’t find it any help with other gcse subjects. especially the whole ‘learning scientific terms’ thing, people recommend latin gcse to med students all too often saying that it will help them with medical terminology. in reality, there is practically no effect. and forget about it helping with maths, again this stems from the cliché idea of latin being very ‘logical’. the only thing i’d say it might help with is english, but i think classics is even more helpful in that regard, since there’s more essay writing. i could see it somewhat helping with spanish, but essentially, if your really don’t like latin, then it’s not worth doing it for that one small link.

hope this helps, and sorry it was unnecessarily long :smile:


This helped so so so much, especially since it came from an A Level student. Thank you so so much for debunking all my worries, I think i’m going to go with classics. Good luck with your A Levels!
(edited 10 months ago)
Original post by FlyingSquirrel10
Keep in mind I’m in y8. So we were given the option between Classics and Latin for the next year, and after a lot of research I chose Classics due to it being more enjoyable and more for me. Some background: Classics is about reading classical literature and writing essays, but is not a GCSE offered at my school, so I will only be able to do it for around nine months until I have to choose my GCSEs. Latin is a GCSE, and I’ve been doing it for nearly two years now, but I just haven’t enjoyed it and don’t really like it that much, compared to my love of classics/english. This is why I chose classics but now I am second guessing because I did some more research and apparently, latin is really good for other subjects such as learning science terms, with English (although I think classics could do the same, unless there’s anything I don’t know), Spanish , maths and other logical subjects and so on. I want to do the best possible in my GCSEs and would like to go to top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. For this reason, I’m thinking that Latin might be helpful but is that really true? I don’t like Latin very much as I’ve already said, and am willing to work hard on all my compulsory subjects (the sciences, maths, english), but will I be disadvantaged against others who are taking Latin? I haven’t chosen my GCSEs but I’m taking Spanish and Computer Science and have to choose two more. Is Latin really that helpful? Any other advice on anything would be really helpful and please say if you need more context, I’m not sure if I’ve covered everything.

in year 11 rn doing latin and liked it enough to chose it up until now. it possibly is the most boring subject and does NOT help whatsoever. it is so much to learn and unless you have an amazing latin teacher (i dont) then dont chose it. it is also a literal dead language so... and also there are 0 resources when coming to revising. it is my biggest regret ever made and am probs going to fail but i couldnt careless bc i hate it that much. SO DO NOT CHOSE IT
Original post by FlyingSquirrel10
Keep in mind I’m in y8. So we were given the option between Classics and Latin for the next year, and after a lot of research I chose Classics due to it being more enjoyable and more for me. Some background: Classics is about reading classical literature and writing essays, but is not a GCSE offered at my school, so I will only be able to do it for around nine months until I have to choose my GCSEs. Latin is a GCSE, and I’ve been doing it for nearly two years now, but I just haven’t enjoyed it and don’t really like it that much, compared to my love of classics/english. This is why I chose classics but now I am second guessing because I did some more research and apparently, latin is really good for other subjects such as learning science terms, with English (although I think classics could do the same, unless there’s anything I don’t know), Spanish , maths and other logical subjects and so on. I want to do the best possible in my GCSEs and would like to go to top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge. For this reason, I’m thinking that Latin might be helpful but is that really true? I don’t like Latin very much as I’ve already said, and am willing to work hard on all my compulsory subjects (the sciences, maths, english), but will I be disadvantaged against others who are taking Latin? I haven’t chosen my GCSEs but I’m taking Spanish and Computer Science and have to choose two more. Is Latin really that helpful? Any other advice on anything would be really helpful and please say if you need more context, I’m not sure if I’ve covered everything.

Latin is (very) useful for doing ancient language based courses (mainly classics or other Indo-European languages but somewhat useful for any ancient language to have some background in how to learn an ancient language), and somewhat more marginally for doing modern Romance languages as I understand it, and even more marginally literature courses (specifically the literary elements but this can be picked up by reading literature in translation if need be, also Greek literature is probably more formative for European literary paradigms anyway, rather than Latin).

It's not specifically beneficial for any other purpose and unis have no particular preference for it for any degree other than classics these days - it's not the 70s anymore. The usefulness for the non-classics courses is through broadly useful background knowledge, which unis won't presuppose (it just might make things easier for you), so you can get on fine even in those without it (certainly at least at undergraduate level).

In any event as this thread is 7 months old I'm assuming you made your decision already, but for posterity there is the above information.

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