Forget about learning a language just for the grammar and vocabulary tests -though there will still be plenty of that! This is what makes studying Latin at A-Level so rewarding. You will be going well beyond GCSE, developing your language skills and ability to read different genres and styles of writing. You will read from a variety of authors: the orator Cicero, the historian Tacitus, and the poets Virgil and Ovid.
These authors provide a wide range of genres for literary analysis, and wide-ranging essays (on Tacitus and Ovid for which there is additional reading of the text in English). Additionally for the unseen translations, there will be reading from the authors Livy and Ovid (more!). The course aims to bring in further prose authors to prepare for the Comprehension paper.
The new specification consists of four units for A-Level.
The new specification has been designed to offer students the opportunity to explore Roman writers and appreciate not only their style of writing but also the context in which these works were produced. Some parts of the set texts will be read in English translation.
These are the set texts for examination in 2025 and 2026.
We follow the OCR specification. See their website for further details and sample exam papers for Latin.
You can really only consider Latin if you have already got grade 7 or higher at GCSE or equivalent. If you did Latin at GCSE and enjoyed it, then you can be sure you will enjoy working for the A-Level, as the format is much the same, though at a higher academic level. It is a subject which is well-respected by universities; studying them also provides the satisfaction of taking a language which few students learn.
This is a subject for you if you are good at remembering vocabulary and want to understand the thoughts and intentions of the writers of the classical world.
A qualification in Latin is rated highly by universities and can be useful to students proposing to follow a variety of different courses from Medicine, Law, Modern Languages, English as well as more traditional Classics. Recent students in this subject have gone on to read Classics, Oriental Languages, English, International Business with French, Modern Languages as well as Classical Civilisation with Philosophy at universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Reading and Warwick.
These languages do not limit you to any particular course but can be used as a stepping stone to courses in modern languages, linguistics, information technology and computing. Learners of classical languages are particularly adaptable!