There are two professional Latin organizations: American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League. Both organizations are committed to encouraging an interest as well as celebrating and advancing the teaching and learning of the Greek, Latin, and Roman language, literature and culture. These two organizations offer different Latin competitions annually for students to participate in. In total, there are six competitions hosted by these two organizations. The complete list of competitions is below:
What will be covered in the article?
National Latin Exam
1. What is the National Latin Exam?
The National Latin Exam is a prestigious and short standardized test to assess students’ understanding of the Latin language. Students have 40 multiple choice questions to answer within 45 minutes. Students with any level of expertise can participate in any of the seven levels: Introduction to Latin Exam, Beginning Latin Exam (or Latin I), Intermediate Latin Exam (Latin II), Intermediate Latin Reading Comprehension Exam (Latin III), Advanced Latin Prose Exam (Latin III/IV Prose), Advanced Latin Poetry (Latin III/IV Poetry), and Advanced Latin Reading Comprehension Exam (Latin V/VI+).
There are seven exam levels, which can be confusing for students who are not sure which exam is appropriate for them to take. Fortunately, the National Latin Exam has released a guide to help students better navigate through the exam levels.
2. What are the test dates?
- Postmark deadline for registrations for paper exams: Monday, January 23, 2023
- Postmark deadline for registrations for online exams: Friday, February 17, 2023
The exams will be administered by the principal, instructional coordinator, guidance director, the Latin teacher, or any other designee. If you are homeschooled, there are certain guidelines your homeschool teachers have to follow.
One interesting thing to note about the National Latin Exam is that students can take the exam on the same level as many as they want to improve their scores. However, students can only receive a gold medal once for each level.
3. How do you prepare for the National Latin Exam?
Several resources will help Latin students practice and prepare for the exam:
- National Latin Exam Previous Exams and Answer Key: National Latin Exam has released previous exams from 2012 to 2020 to help students practice. Depending on the level, you can choose the appropriate practice test and experience taking the test without the time pressure. This can be a great study guide to identify patterns and similarities in the same exam every year.
- Practice Quiz: In addition to the prior exams, National Latin Exam also has a website with practice quizzes. These practice quizzes allow you to test your knowledge and strengthen your understanding in a fun and interactive way.
- Memoria Press Guides to the National Latin Exam: In addition to the study guide by the National Latin Exam, Memoria Press also has a guide for three levels: Introduction, Beginning (Level I), and Intermediate (Level II).
National Junior Classical League (NJCL)
1. National Junior Classical League Convention
The National Junior Classical League is a youth organization of secondary school students, sponsored by the American Classical League. The NJCL hosts a convention every year, allowing students to participate in various activities: Academic, Certamen, Creative Arts, Graphic Arts, and Olympia. In this article, we will only focus on the Academic Contests and the Certamen. The dates of individual contests can be found here.
Academic Contests include: Academic Heptathlon, Academic Decathlon, Ancient Geography, Classical Art, Grammar, Greek Derivatives, Greek Life and Literature, Hellenic History, Latin Derivatives, Latin Literature, Mottoes, Abbreviations and Quotations, Mythology, Reading Comprehension, Roman History, Roman Life, Vocabulary
Certamen is a quiz-bowl style game of fast recall of facts about classical civilizations and their peoples, languages, and cultures. There are two types of Certamen contests for NJCL students at the Convention, Open Certamen and Competitive Certamen.
For 2022, the NJCL Convention will be held at the University of Louisiana Lafayette from July 25-30, 2022. In 2021, due to COVID-19, the convention was held completely online.
2. NJCL Online Exams
In addition to the annual convention, NJCL also sponsors four online exams: The National Classical Etymology Exam (NCEE), the National Roman Civilization Exam (NRCE), the National Latin Vocabulary Exam (NLVE), and the National Hellenic Civilization Exam (NHCE). Details on how to register and the date of examination can be found here
- National Classical Etymology is created to assess students’ ability to handle both Latin and Greek derivatives and their usage in the English language. The test was administered from Mon. Nov. 1-Fri. Dec. 10
- National Roman Civilization is designed to test a student’s knowledge of ancient Roman society. The test was administered from Mon. Nov. 1-Fri. Dec. 10
- The National Latin Vocabulary Exam is designed to test a student’s knowledge of Latin vocabulary and is based solely on specific lists of Latin vocabulary relevant to a particular student’s level of Latin. The test is administered from Mon. Jan. 31- Fri. March 4
- The National Hellenic Civilization Exam is a new exam in 2022 designed to test a student’s knowledge of ancient Greek society. Note that in 2022, all easy and medium questions will come directly from the study guide as 2022 is the first administration of this exam. The test is administered from March 1 – March 18, 2022.
Excellence Through Classics
Excellence Through Classics (ETC) is a standing committee of the American Classical League, dedicated to promoting and supporting elementary, middle school, and introductory classics programs. The committee has been hosting three competitions related to Latin and classics programs.
1. Exploratory Latin Exam (ELE)
Exploratory Latin Exam is the contest tailored to students in grades 3 to 6 who are not taking the National Latin Exam, and just started their Latin learning journey. The theme for 2022-2023 is Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
How is the exam structured?
- For Grades 3-4, students will answer 30 vocabulary questions and optionally 20 remaining questions
- For Grades 5-6, students will answer 30 vocabulary questions and 10 questions on the yearly theme. Students may choose to answer 10 additional questions entirely in Latin. If students can answer all 50 questions correctly, they will be qualified for a perfect score medallion.
What are the exam dates?
- Registration: September 1 through March 2
- Exam administration is open: January 1 – April 1
- Exam results mailed – mid to late May
How should I prepare for the exam?
For the Scribo competition, students submit original literary pieces in the following four categories: short stories, poems, comics, and fill-in-the-blank stories for younger students under the theme in 2022: Geography of the Greco-Roman world. You have to follow certain templates if you are submitting to poetry/prose, comics, and fill-in-the-story.
All entries will be judged using the following categories: grammatical and syntactical accuracy, choice of vocabulary, adventurousness, quality of work, and audience appeal. The pieces and names of winners will be published in PRIMA, the Excellence Through Classics Committee publication.
- Registration: September 15-March 15
- Submissions Due: March 15-April 15
3. National Mythology Exam
The National Mythology Exams consist of the Pegasus Mythology Exam for students in grades 3 to 8, and the Medusa Mythology Exam for students in grades 9 to 12. The National Mythology Exams are given annually to over 9,000 students in approximately 400 schools nationally and internationally. The competition is unique because instead of testing on the Latin vocabulary, students are tested on their understanding of classical mythology. The deadline for registration is January 15, 2023
How can I prepare for the exam?
Students can prepare for the exam by completing the required reading of the Pegasus Mythology Exam or the Medusa Mythology Exam. Besides the required reading, students can also refer to the classical spellings used on the test and resources available for purchase.
Latin competitions are an excellent way to test, practice, and develop your knowledge about the Latin language as well as about the culture and history of ancient civilizations. These competitions are suitable for students of all levels, so even if you are just a beginner in Latin, you can still enter the competitions and gain great prizes!
For students interested in improving their Latin and preparing for the competitions, Aralia has a perfect class for you!
National Latin Exam Prep
Description: The National Latin Exam Prep helps students prepare for three levels of the exam: Intro to Latin Exam and Beginning Latin, Intermediate Latin Exam and Intermediate Reading Comprehension, and Advanced Prose Exam and Advanced Poetry. Courses will be arranged according to the NLE Official Course Reference and will vary based on student needs. Students will receive one-to-one or group lessons.
Class schedule: 10 hours for Beginner, 15 hours for Intermediate, 15 hours for Advanced