Latin and Greek A Level
Latin & Greek
A Level Exam Board: OCR
To ensure success, candidates for Classics A Levels should have a 7 in GCSE Latin or Greek but do not need to have previously done any English to Latin or Greek translation.
Combinations with other A Level subjects:
Because the study of Classical languages develops skills in the close analysis of data and the systematic application of grammatical rules, and the study of literature promotes artistic sensitivity, Latin or Greek are often combined with languages such as English, French, German or Spanish, with humanities such as History, and with sciences such as Mathematics or Economics.
Greek and Latin go naturally together, but each of them also combines well with other subjects. They should not be seen as possible choices only for brilliant linguists. High grades are attainable by any candidate who has done well at GCSE, is interested and is prepared to work. Our approach to Classics is exacting and scholarly and we aim to be the intellectual hub of the school; the outcome is consistently outstanding exam results and a high ratio of Oxbridge success.
Both Greek and Latin are highly respected subjects in the eyes of universities and employers. There is wide scope for pursuing them in higher education, either on their own or with other subjects. They are of particular benefit for linguists and students of English Literature, but also provide a good background for more vocational degree courses such as Law. Both Latin and Greek have always been prized as offering the chance to acquire a range of transferable skills, and Classics graduates are valued for their flexibility as well as for their intellectual rigour. Students who study Classical subjects at A Level enjoy success in a huge variety of careers from Journalism to Politics, from Publishing to Business.
The study of the history, languages and culture of the ancient world makes a superb foundation for the world of work, and pupils whose interests lie in the ancient world will find A Level Latin or Greek an academically stimulating and rewarding experience. Caterham Classicists who go on to take a Classics-related course at university (and a good number invariably do) can do this in the knowledge that graduates of this discipline are, according to a recent survey, regarded as the most employable, because they will have demonstrated adaptability and flexibility, qualities that are increasingly coveted by employers.
Structure of course:
The programme over the Sixth Form and the format of the A Level examination are similar in both languages. In the Lower Sixth we read widely in Greek and Latin literature. This concentration enables students to attain a fluency and speed in reading original texts which is hard to imagine at the start of the course, and these texts represent some of the greatest literature ever produced; it is an incomparable experience to read them in the language in which they were written. In the process, pupils acquire much historical knowledge of periods both interesting in themselves and hugely influential in forming our own world and outlook. Students also reinforce their understanding of grammar by seeing how its rules are applied (and broken) by ancient authors.
Our reading in the Lower Sixth is focused around two set texts, one verse and one prose, ranging from forensic oratory to epic poetry. In the Upper Sixth, we study two more set texts, in slightly fuller detail, including a more in-depth analysis of classical history. The A Level examination, taken at the end of the Upper Sixth, therefore tests knowledge of four different texts, together with additional literature in translation, read and discussed in class to provide context in each area. In addition to this, two papers in Unseen Translation and Prose Composition or Translation test a student’s knowledge of vocabulary and linguistic structure through questions based around previously unseen passages of Latin or Greek. During the whole course, pupils will thus have tackled four contrasting set texts in prose and verse, drawn from epic, history, drama, philosophy and lyric poetry, which taken together provide a wide and representative experience of ancient literature. In terms of enrichment, the department also provides a year-round Oxbridge programme and offers regular Oxbridge Open Days, theatre trips and study tours abroad for dedicated Caterham Classicists.