National Latin Exam

National Latin Exam

The National Latin Exam is a worldwide test given to Latin students. Sponsored by the U.S.-based American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League, the exam was given to about 150,000 or so students in the U.S., Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, United Kingdom and Zimbabwe in 2010.[1] The test covers general knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary, mythology, customs, derivatives, and translation abilities.

The National Latin Exam's current base is in the Tyler House at the University of Mary Washington.



The National Latin Exam consists of forty multiple choice questions. The Exam always includes three main categories: Language, Culture and Civilization, and Latin in Use. In most levels of the exam, approximately the first twenty questions are about Latin grammar and vocabulary, the next ten are about culture and history, and the final ten are based on reading comprehension questions related to a given Latin passage. The exam is scored based on the number of questions answered correctly, with no penalty for guessing.

There are seven different exams that a student can take: Introduction to Latin, Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, Latin III-IV Prose, Latin III-IV Poetry, Latin V-VI. [1] While a student can take a level above the amount of years he or she has completed in Latin, the student may not take any level below his or her completion. The student is not required to take an actual Latin class to take an exam; however, the student must have an official sponsor and must take the exam with a proctor that is not the Latin teacher.

Introduction to Latin is designed for students who have only received very limited education in Latin. This test covers only the first two declensions, simple sentences and basic Roman mythology.

Latin IV Prose and IV Poetry differ in that the prose version covers more prose, such as writings by Cicero. The Poetry version covers the work of poets such as Virgil and Ovid, as well as poetic devices like anaphora, dactylic hexameter and simile.


Students who receive high scores on the National Latin Exam can receive various awards [1]:

  • Students who achieve a perfect score on the NLE receive a hand-lettered certificate. Students who have achieved three or more years of perfect papers receive a Carter Drake Book Award along with the certificate. [2]
  • Gold medals and summa cum laude certificates are awarded to top-scoring students. Depending on the level of the exam taken, approximately thirty-five or more questions must be answered correctly, minimum, to get a gold medal. In 2005, for example, a student taking the Introduction to Latin Exam needed to answer thirty-six questions to get a gold medal. [3]
  • Silver medals and maxima cum laude certificates are awarded to second-place scorers.
  • Magna cum laude certificates are given to third-place scorers.
  • Cum laude certificates are awarded to fourth-place scorers.

In addition, high school seniors who receive a gold medal on the Latin III or higher level exam and agree to take at least one Latin or Ancient Greek course during each of their first two semesters of college are eligible to apply for a $1000 scholarship. Twenty-one high school seniors receive these scholarships each year. [2]


  1. ^ a b c [1] - accessed March 7, 2010
  2. ^ a b National Latin Exam Award Information
  3. ^ ACL/NJCL National Latin Exam Results 2005 - National Latin Exam, accessed April 4, 2006

External links

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