National Latin Examination

The National Latin Examination is a worldwide test given to Latin students. Sponsored by the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League, the exam was given to more than 148,000 students in the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Niger, Poland, Switzerland, and Zimbabwe in 2005. The test covers general knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary, mythology, customs, derivatives, and translation abilities.

There are seven different exams that a student can take: Introduction to Latin, Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, Latin IV Prose, Latin IV Poetry and Latin V. 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.

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



The National Latin Examination 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.

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 needed to answer thirty six questions to get a gold medal.