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Classics (Latin) at The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe

Course description

The full traditional Classics course consists of Latin and Ancient History. However, either of them can be taken with other subjects, and this is nowadays commonly done.

There is a curious false impression that study of the Classics will limit career choice. The specimen list given below of careers actually followed by Classics graduates should reassure. Its wide variety should not be surprising when it is considered that a study of Classics is an introduction to two vigorous and fascinating civilisations at critical points in their development.

Course content

There are two main branches to the work: First, the study of the literature, in prose and poetry, written by authors of central importance such as Cicero, Ovid, Tacitus, Livy, Sallust, Catullus and Virgil. Activities range from straightforward translation, through discussion and explanation of the subjectmatter, to literary criticism. Specific prescribed texts (one prose, one verse, totaling 225 lines at AS and 300 lines at A2) are set for study in depth at both AS and A2 Level. These are examined by both context and essay questions.

Second, knowledge of the language is strengthened throughout the course beginning with a comprehensive grammar revision course tailored to the needs of the set. All pupils will tackle “unseen” translation of increasing difficulty, and this skill is examined at both AS and A2. The skill of translating from English into Latin is introduced at A2 Level, leading, for those that want it, to the possibility of offering a prose composition (English into Latin) in the examination. The alternative is a comprehension/translation test which includes some questions on grammar.

Entry requirements

Grade B in English Literature and Grade B in History or Latin or Classical Civilisation


The new AS specification offers a straightforward transition from GCSE work, and should be accessible to anyone with a Grade B or better. However the prime requisite is enthusiasm for the subject and no student keen to study it will be turned away. (Note that Latin at this level does not contain any Roman Life element. Those with a particular interest in this aspect should consider Ancient History.)

1. Unseen translation of 2 passages in prose (1½ hours).
2. Prose and verse set texts (tested by context questions and a short essay) (1½ hours).

3. Verse (tested by context and essay question on the verse set text, and a verse unseen translation) (2 hours).
4. Prose (tested by context and essay question on the prose set text, and a prose unseen translation/comprehension OR a prose composition) (2 hours).

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe directly.

Last updated date: 09 June 2015
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