GCSE Latin

Exam Board: OCR

Why should I choose this subject

The OCR GCSE in Latin is aimed at giving pupils the opportunity to achieve a respected qualification in a difficult subject which carries a great deal of kudos. The GCSE forms a very good stepping stone to A level. The GCSE is highly respected by universities as a challenging benchmark qualification.
Studying Latin shows others you are intellectual and that you are able to function at a high academic level. Pupils will automatically stand out from the crowd, since relatively few pupils across the country study the subject. It is an ideal subject to take alongside a modern language or mathematics: subjects which have a good deal of cross-over with elements of Latin.
Like with a modern language, universities look kindly on applicants who have studied Latin: they consider it a distinct advantage over other candidates in the application process.

What does the subject consist of?

In Latin you will develop linguistic and analytical skills in the following disciplines:

  • Language: unseen prose translation into English and comprehension;
  • Prose Literature: seen translation, comprehension and analysis of texts selected from the works of Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Apuleius, Cicero, Caesar, Sallust and Pliny the Elder;
  • Verse Literature: seen translation, comprehension and analysis of texts taken from a book of Virgil’s Aeneid.

How is the subject assessed?

The final examination (taken at the end of the Fifth Form) consists of three papers:

  • Paper One (Language - 1 hour and 30 minutes - 50% of overall marks);
  • Paper Three (Prose Literature B - 1 hour - 25% of overall marks);
  • Paper Five (Verse Literature B - 1 hour - 25% of overall marks).

Whom does the subject suit?

Latin GCSE is a course for the language connoisseur. It is challenging and not for the faint-hearted. However, for those who have been bitten by the Latin bug, it is incredibly rewarding. The course is intensive: pupils will learn to be strict with their grammar and picky with their translations. One of the greatest rewards is being able to read some of the wonders of classical literature in the original, so pupils develop an understanding of how the author intended the text to be seen and heard. Pupils will also have to have a keen eye for detail and be willing to learn from their mistakes. They should be highly motivated and ready to work hard to meet the challenge of the course.

What else should pupils consider before choosing this subject?

Pupils should consider if they can afford not to know Latin well: the opportunity may not present itself again!