Skip to content ↓

Latin (HL and SL)

historia vitae magistra.  Cicero

History, the teacher of life. Cicero 

 Latin in the Sixth Form is very similar to studying at GCSE with translation, literature and source work so students who enjoyed GCSE will find even more enjoyment in the Diploma and there will be no scary surprises! Studying Latin is about so much more than translating though. Exploring the Classical World and the very origins of western society encompasses thinking and discussion from many perspectives and subject disciplines including History, English, Philosophy, Politics, and Law.  

An education in Latin is never a bad thing with lawyers, doctors, scientists, writers and politicians all making use of the related linguistic skills in their day-to-day work. Also as English speakers we can exploit our knowledge of Latin to further our own expertise in communication, problem solving and complex thought. 

Course content

Higher and Standard Level students study together in the same class. Half the lessons are given over to language revision, consolidation and extension. Students are given regular vocabulary and grammar tests as well as working both collaboratively and independently on a variety of prose and poetry translation passages. Dictionary skills are taught to ensure effective use in the final examination. Literature lessons involve working through the texts, translating collaboratively and analysing the style and meaning of the poems. Higher Level students have some separate lessons to work on their additional literature.   

Standard Level   Higher Level  
Students study the same units as the Higher Level students but both examinations are shorter. The complexity of the language examination is very similar to Higher Level. The literature examination requires study of fewer passages.    Students study the same units as the Standard Level students but both examinations are longer. The complexity of the translation examination is very similar to Standard Level. The literature examination requires study of additional passages and students write a short essay on the genre they have studied.   



  Standard Level Higher Level
Internal assessment Research dossier (20%)   Research dossier (20%)  
Final examination

Language (35%)

Literature (45%)  

Language (35%)

Literature (45%)  


Biannual visit to Pompeii, Oxbridge reading/translation/essay competitions, university talks and theatre visits.    

Further study

Latin students have aspirations to study a variety of subjects at university including English, History, Philosophy, Law, Film, Art, Sciences and Languages; as well as Classics. All find having studied Latin they stand out from the crowd and can use either the skills, content or both directly in their studies. Every year we have a handful of students applying to a variety of universities for classical related degrees. Several apply to Oxbridge, and TGS’s Latin students have a high success rate.   

 Latin is one of my favourite Highers as you get more of a chance to actively engage with a wide range of literature and discuss opinions and interpretations in a relaxed and friendly environment. I also enjoy the freedom that the IA provides, allowing me to research topics that I am personally interested in that can relate to other subjects and even what you might want to pursue after completing the IB. I would really recommend taking Latin IB!