Key findings from past examiners reports for GCSE Latin
Examiners release reports talking about how well students got on in that year’s
exams and highlighting common mistakes that were made. Given these examiners are the
ones who make the exams, we should probably pay attention to what they have to say!
We trawled through these examiners’ reports, as well as past exams, to put together a list of
the top 5 areas that students often stumble on in GCSE Latin. Sorting these out is sure to give you a great head start on revision and help you feel much more confident.
1. Attention to detail
Candidates who performed best in the Latin GCSE exhibited an impressive attention to detail, both in the translation, and in their understanding of the set text. Reviewing past papers will best ensure a developed understanding of previous question structure, and ensure you are well versed in key terms to understand and interpret.
2. Omission impossible
Candidates who did not perform as well in their Latin GCSE were found to have omitted key details and words in their translations. This can be avoided by periodic translation practice, and by reviewing translations at the end of the paper, scheduling in time to accommodate this.
3. Style Matters
When responding to the set text, it is crucial to consider the literary devices employed by the author in order to score well. When considering the style of the author, ensure you are well versed in the different literary devices, and are able to discuss them fluently in your answers.
4. Interesting Developments
It is also noted in the examiner reports that candidates who perform best are those who are able to develop their points. This is achieved in two distinct ways – the first, through ensuring that translations use the most appropriate definitions, the second, through ensuring that literary devices are understood and reflected upon.
5. Structured debate
Ensure that you structure your answers in accordance with the mark scheme. This will ensure that you are able offer answers that are coherent and logically structured, in a manner that is rewarded in the mark scheme.
How hard is it to get a 9 in GCSE Latin?
According to Ofqual, just over forty per cent of those who sat a Latin GCSE in 2022 received a 9. This is down from over half the year before, though a marked increase from the third who received a 9 in 2019. In the past five years, those who have scored the top grade range between just over thirty per cent, to just over fifty.
How to plan revision for GCSE Latin
One of the best ways to prepare for the Latin GCSE, is to adopt the mentality of little, often. It is far better to work a little each day, and to employ that recent learning in your future work.
The below offers some methods to employ for your GCSE Latin revision:
1. Word perfect
Set yourself a certain number of words to learn per day, and take a similar approach for the set texts, learning ten to fifteen lines properly each day. By breaking your work into parts, it will be possible to cover more ground in a more comprehensive manner. Don’t forget to review the words you learnt at the start closer to the exam too.
2. Test yourself
Ensure that you are engaging in active revision, and scheduling regular mock tests to review content required for the exam. If you don’t in class, be sure to conduct regular vocabulary reviews which will ensure that you can revise the more words you find more challenging and commit them to memory before you sit the exam.
3. Practice makes perfect
When revising for your Latin GCSE, ensure you are incorporating your learnings from mock tests and past papers into your work. This could be anything from using the correct declension, to honing in on your set texts. Remember, perfect practice makes perfect.
4. Phone a friend
One of the best ways to ensure you have understood a set text or a grammar rule is to explain it to someone else. Find a friend, a parent or a pet, and run them through it. If there are gaps in your explanation, review it again until you feel confident.
GCSE Latin last minute revision tips
To best prepare for the Latin GCSE, it is wise to ensure you have completed a range of past papers, and have had sufficient time to review them and incorporate your learnings. Prior to the exam, remember to review your vocabulary lists, and your set texts.
In the exam, be careful to read each question properly, and to assign your time to ensure you are able to best respond to the questions posed. Check your answers properly at the end of your paper to ensure that you have the correct conjugations and interpretations.
GCSE Latin Past Papers
Your Latin GCSE revision should, of course, be supported by past papers. Ensure that you check your answers in accordance with the mark scheme, and integrate your learnings from these into your responses. It is also useful to ask your teacher’s advice for relevant resources and exercises to improve your work.
Where can I find GCSE Latin past papers?
Here are links to the past papers for the three different exam boards for GCSE Latin:.
It goes without saying that it is vital to use the correct board’s past papers when revising.
FAQs on GCSE Latin
Why study GCSE Latin?
There are lots benefits of studying Latin at GCSE:
- There are a range of careers and disciplines that are based in the language. Latin is used as much in Archaeology as it is in Zoology, and many of the disciplines in between.
- It will further aid your other GCSE subjects. With many derivative languages also offered at the same level, evidence suggests that studying Latin will provide you with a firmer grasp of the grammar in these too.
- GCSE Latin will support your study of the sciences, both developing your understanding of terminology, in addition to supporting your analytical skills. Be it Biology, or Chemistry, there are skills from Latin that can and will translate to both.
- Latin supports an understanding of English, especially the classics. The range of references and allusions to the classical world can best be supported by studying Latin. Latin is also able to help understand a range of complex vocabulary which has derived from the language with greater ease. Of course, the more you read, the more developed your understanding will become.
- The analytical skills you gain through revision of grammar, and sentence structure in Latin can also develop the skills required in Maths.
- For History, Latin’s relevance is perhaps more clear, especially in studies of the classical world. For more modern history, Latin can be used to further consider the way in which History repeats itself, while in Government and Politics, GCSE Latin can offer a more nuanced perspective, and provide some sense of historical context for modern decisions and governance.
- Art and Art History are supported by a study of Latin too, with many instances of symbolism directly lifted from the classical world. Again, skills of analysis are a cross subject requirement between the disciplines.
- If you choose to study Classical Greek or Classical Civilizations, Latin provides further immersion in this world. The value of the subject is as much linguistic as it is cultural, and its importance should be considered with this in mind. Simply put, studying Latin at any level will change the way you think.
Is Latin a useful GCSE?
It is estimated that over sixty per cent of words in the English dictionary come from Latin. The evolution of the language to form the base of the five Romance languages is a clear indicator of its contemporary value, however, there is more to Latin than this. The skills one learns while studying Latin are innumerable, reaching far beyond an interest in the ancient world. From developing a greater knowledge of the English language, to more readily understanding legal and medical terms, studying Latin will provide you with a firm foundation to build upon.
Latin has a clear bearing on our understanding of classical and contemporary culture, and to study it is not just to study the language itself, but to gain an understanding of the history of art, music, science and theatre. The study of Latin will expand your world, far beyond the Roman Empire.
How do I learn GCSE Latin set text?
The set text is a key part of the Latin GCSE, and the more developed your understanding of the work in front of you, the higher your likelihood of success. There are a number of different schools of thought regarding how best to learn the GCSE set text, and it is of course key to find the method that works best for you. There are, however, general pieces of advice that ought to be heeded.
A knowledge of Latin vocabulary is key, and it is vital to be able to pick out key words or phrases to support your answers. It is important too to have a handle on the text’s overall meaning. Understanding words individually can be supported by online tools like Perseus, or the use of a dictionary.
It is also helpful to place your set text next to an English translation to compare the two. While a verbatim translation is not essential, it is wise not to steer too far from the original.
GCSE and IGCSE Latin Tutors
With tutors based in London and available online to families around the world, Keystone is one of the UK’s leading private tutoring organisations. Find out more about our GCSE Latin Tutors and IGCSE Latin Tutors.