GCSE Latin




Syllabus Title




Syllabus Code



Latin Syllabus

Defined Vocabulary

Defined GCSE Vocabulary

Foundation Tier Vocabulary

Foundation Tier Vocabulary


Latin From Common Entrance to GCSE by Mike Seigel

Set Text

Virgil, Aeneid II, 268-317, 624-654, 671-716, 721-751, 768-795

Questions on Set Text

A knowledge of much of the rest of the Aeneid will be required for the Coursework.

Recommended Further Reading

Notes on Virgil


Details of Assessment






Paper 1: Language 1

Higher Tier

1 hour 15 minutes


Paper 2: Verse Literature

Higher Tier

1 hour 15 minutes


Paper 3: Language 2

Higher Tier

45 minutes

20 %



3,000 words



All these papers are set in the Summer at the end of Year 11.


Papers 1 & 3 (50% of the GCSE) are based on the candidate’s ability to translate and comprehend unseen passages of Latin.


The Grammar and Syntax required are as follows:



Higher and Foundation Tiers

Candidates should have a working knowledge of:

- The endings taken by regular nouns and adjectives of the various declensions, and the formation of the comparatives and superlatives of regular adjectives and adverbs.

- The conjugations of regular verbs, except for present and perfect subjunctive, future passive infinitive, and supine.

- The declension of the pronouns in the Defined Vocabulary List.

- The endings taken by the irregular nouns and verbs which appear in the Defined Vocabulary List.

- The endings taken by the irregular adjectives and adverbs which appear in the Defined Vocabulary List, including the irregularly formed comparatives and superlatives which are listed separately in the Defined Vocabulary List.

Foundation Tier:

Knowledge of the 1 st and 2 nd persons of passive forms of the verb and of gerunds and gerundives is not tested. No knowledge is required of deponent verbs.



Higher and Foundation Tiers

Candidates should be familiar with common case usage including:

- Expressions of time.

- Ablative of comparison.

- The use of genitive, dative or ablative where these cases are taken by verbs or adjectives in the Defined Vocabulary List.

- The cases taken by prepositions that are in the Defined Vocabulary List.

They should also understand these constructions:

- Direct Commands (and Prohibitions with noli / nolite.

- Direct Question.

- Simple Indicative Conditional Sentences.

- Relative Clauses.

- Indirect Statement.

- Indirect Command.

- Indirect Question.

- Purpose Clauses (introduced by ut / ne / qui *).

- Verbs of Fearing *.

- Result Clauses.

- Temporal Clauses, including standard uses of cum, dum and priusquam.

- Uses of participles, including the Ablative Absolute construction.

- Uses of the gerundive to express obligation (with esse) and purpose (with ad) *.

* These will not be tested on the Foundation Tier.


Paper 2, Verse Literature, requires a thorough knowledge of the Set Text (selections from Virgil, Aeneid II). Candidates are required not only to translate passages from the text, but also to have an understanding of the poetry, and its historical context.

 Candidates may also take Foundation Tier.


Materials Required


Language Work

The Vocabulary required for the Language Papers is clearly defined by OCR. 550 words are required for Paper 1, and a further 125 for Paper 3. The vocabulary is available in pdf format on page 46 of the OCR syllabus. 

The Grammar required for the GCSE is covered by Mike Seigel’s Latin from Common Entrance to GCSE.

 Copies of Past Papers will be given to pupils by the school.


Set Text

Virgil, Aeneid II is required: the text in Latin and a translation. Text-books can be borrowed from the school, and a translation has been undertaken in class. For further help, see PERSEUS.



It is absolutely essential that you become familiar with the Latin language. This is not merely a matter of learning Vocabulary and Grammar, but being in contact with the Language. Consider how much practice you have in English, and then look at your time with Latin. You should try to read something simple every day – even if it is only one or two basic sentences. This attunes you to looking at the endings on words, and seeing their significance. Without this exposure, the system remains alien, and it is difficult to make real progress.



The 675 words which are required must be learned gradually over the year preceding the exam. It is best to spend some time every day learning 10 or 20 words, and then revising those words the following day. Be certain of the type of word: is it a Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Adverb or Verb etc.?



The knowledge of the Grammar requires constant repetition, and thereby increasing familiarity. It is also important to see the basic patterns involved in the Declensions and Conjugations, so that you begin to recognise forms which you may not have seen before.


Verse Literature

Continual reading of the text in English (as well as study in Latin) is essential. You must become familiar with the text so that you know its structure, and the characters involved. Make a summary of the text, with notes on central figures. It is also essential to ask yourself questions about the text: How does Virgil portray Aeneas as he leaves Troy? Why does he do this?

Revision of the translation is best done in small amounts:

1.       Take 10 lines, read the Latin through, then read the English.

2.       Work to relate the English and the Latin: identify key words, and make sure you know them.

3.       Reread the English.

4.       Reread the Latin, making sure that you understand it.

5.       Repeat this until these lines are known beyond any doubt.

Once you have learned the first 10 lines, move on to the next 10, but you must revise each group of ten the day after you have learned them.



The piece must be 3,000 words long, and will be marked on the following basis: 

Factual Content


Use of Primary Material


Organisation of Material


Understanding and Evaluation


Quality of Written Communication





Coursework Topic

 How does book II of the Aeneid advance Virgil’s aims in the composition of his epic?

 Further guidance will be given on the Coursework next year. The first step is to undertake the reading required over the summer.


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