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General Information

The National Latin Exam, sponsored by the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League, is a 40-question, multiple-choice test with a time limit of 45 minutes, offered to students on seven levels: Introduction to Latin, Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, Latin III/IV Prose, Latin III/IV Poetry, and Latin V/VI+. These exams are not based on any specific textbook series.

On the Introduction to Latin, Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, Latin III/IV Prose, and Latin III/IV Poetry exams, there are questions on grammar, comprehension, mythology, derivatives, literature, Roman life, history, geography, oral Latin, and Latin in use in the modern world. The Latin V/VI+ exam contains two Latin passages (one prose and one poetry) as the basis for questions on grammar, comprehension, historical background, classical literature, and literary devices.

Students are expected to take the exam named for the level of Latin in which they are enrolled. The Introduction to Latin exam is designed for first-year Latin students who are enrolled in a two-year Latin I program and who cover approximately half the Latin I syllabus. The Latin V/VI+ exam is designed for Latin students in the fifth-year of study and higher, including advanced level classes in college. Students are allowed to take only ONE exam annually, and, with the exception of the V/VI+ exam, they should not take the same level exam for more than one year.

The philosophy of the National Latin Exam is predicated on providing every Latin student the opportunity to experience a sense of personal accomplishment and success in his or her study of the Latin language and culture. This opportunity exists for all students since, in the National Latin Exam, they are not competing with their fellow students on a comparative basis, but are evaluated solely on their own performance on the exam. The basic purposes of the NLE are to promote the study of Latin and to encourage the individual student.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has voted to place the National Latin Exam on the Advisory List of National Contests and Activities. This is distributed to all secondary schools in the United States each September.

2019 Test Administration Dates

      • Early Administration Week #1: February 25-March 1, 2019
      • Early Administration Week #2: March 4-8, 2019
      • Regular Administration Week: March 11-15, 2019

Administration of Exams

  • The principal, instructional coordinator, guidance director, the Latin teacher, or any other designee may administer the exams.
  • The time limit for taking the exams is 45 minutes. If the demographic information has been completed before the day of the exam, the time limit is 40 minutes.
  • ALL STUDENTS OF THE SAME LEVEL must take the exam during the same time period. The test administrator should try to seat students of the same level apart from one another. No make-up exams are allowed after the fact.
  • Teacher should call the NLE Office (888-378-7721) before the day the exam is to be given to inquire about students with special needs or for issues regarding scheduling.
  • When exam is over, Administrator should count completed answer sheets, and check test materials for any missing answer sheets.
  • Answer sheets must be returned and postmarked the same day the exam is given, or the last day of administration if different levels are given on different days.
  • No answer sheets mailed separately from the school’s package will be accepted without prior permission.
  • The last day exam may be taken and answer sheets returned is MARCH 15.
  • Exams are not to be seen by the Latin Teacher prior to the day the exams are to be given.
     

Registering for Exams

  • ONE Latin teacher from a given school fills out registration form completely.
  • Keep a copy of the registration form for your records.
  • Mail the registration form to the NLE office or submit online.
  • Enclose ONE check or money order payable to the National Latin Exam, credit card information, or pay online.
  • Send the registration form and payment to:

​National Latin Exam
University of Mary Washington
1301 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

  • The NLE will send to the Latin teacher a postcard verifying receipt of registration form and payment.
  • The exams will be sent to the PRINCIPAL, HEADMASTER, or TEST ADMINISTRATOR OTHER THAN THE LATIN TEACHR in February. If the exams are not received by the principal or examiner by March 1, write or call the number on the postcard acknowledgment.
     

Cost of Exams

  • Schools in the United States pay $5.00 USD per exam; $10.00 for ordering only one exam.
  • Schools outside the United States pay $7.00 per exam; $10.00 for ordering only one exam; US funds only, drawn off of a US bank.
  • For both US and foreign orders, there is a $10.00 shipping and handling charge per registration. There is also a $5.00 charge for paying by credit card.
  • Purchase orders are NOT accepted in lieu of check or money order.
  • NLE charges schools requesting extra "Instruction Sheets for the Examiners". Read more here.
     

Timeline and Deadlines for the 2019 Exam

  • Postmark deadline for registrations : January 22, 2019
  • Any postmark after January 22, 2019 is considered LATE
  • Last postmark deadline: February 1, 2019. Late registrations must include the LATE FEE: an additional $20.00 for orders of 4 or fewer exams; an additional $50.00 for orders of 5 or more exams.
  • Exams sent via UPS to principal, headmaster, test administrator, or designee: February. Open and count the exams and answer sheets immediately! If the numbers of exams and answer sheets is incorrect, please call Clement Testing Service at 800-459-9847.
  • If exams are not received by March 1, please call Clement Testing Service at 800-459-9847.
  • A packet including awards, certificate of school participation, printout of student scores, national norms, and answer key for all exams will be mailed to the Latin teacher involved by April 20.
     

Previous Exams and Answer Keys

Copies of previous National Latin Exams and answer keys can be viewed online with Adobe Acrobat Reader, version 9 or later, and downloaded and printed for practice.

NLE Test Questions Available in MS Access Database Files

Ginny Greenland and Meredith Sitz, Latin teachers from Bolles School in Florida, have entered each National Latin Exam test question and answer set from 1978 to 2010 into ACCESS, a Microsoft data-based program. Ginny provides the following instructions to work with the files:

"Each level of tests has a file in which there is a Table containing all the questions, the 4 answer choices, the correct answer, and 3 sorting categories. The sorting categories use numeric codes explained in the files named Codes for each level to separate the questions into grammar, cultural, mytholoicial subdivisions. Each of these subdivisions has its own Query, named for its subject content or the year of the NLE."

Files:

 

Teachers can use this program in a number of ways:

  • Print old tests

  • Print selected questions on one topic for class review or homework

  • project the questions (in the Table or Query format) on the screen on the classroom for in-class review

N.B. MS Access is required to work with these files.

"At Bolles, we use these files with our CPS Clicker system by einstruction.  We project one question at a time, allow the students to click in their answer, then show the answer to the class. We review all of the answer choices and use the questions to review, test, and challenge the students in their preparations for the March exam. We have set the Queries to the margins, font sizes, and row heights that best suit our Clicker projection uses.  For printing purposes, these 3 things must be adjusted. The font is set at 20, row height at 60 for the Queries.  The Tables are set at smaller font and row height.  The black outlines of the Tables or Queries can be removed or modified."

Awards

Awards are based upon the annual, national average for each separate exam. 

  • Introduction to Latin: Ribbons and Certificates of Achievement
  • Latin I-VI Exams:
    • Perfect paper: hand-lettered certificate
    • Gold medal and a summa cum laude certificate awarded to top scorers
    • Silver medal and maxima cum laude certificate to second-place winners
    • Magna cum laude certificate to third-place winners
    • Cum laude certificate to fourth-place winners
  • The names of winners of Perfect Papers and Gold Medals will be published in Torch U.S., the publication of the National Junior Classical League.

Special Awards

  • Maureen O’Donnell Oxford Classical Dictionary Award
    This award is given to students who win four gold medals in recognition of their outstanding achievement. The students who have won five gold medals will be sent special book awards.
 
  • Carter Stubbs Drake Goad Book Award
    The students who have three years of perfect papers, the students who have four years of perfect papers, and the student who has five years of perfect papers are being sent special book awards in addition to the special certificate. The perfect papers must be for ascending levels of the exam, exclusive of the Introduction to Latin exam.