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 Exam, Beginning Latin Exam (previously called Latin I), Intermediate Latin Exam (previously called Latin II), Intermediate Latin Reading Comprehension Exam (replacing Latin III), Advanced Latin Prose Exam (previously called Latin III/IV Prose), Advanced Latin Poetry (previously called Latin III/IV Poetry), and Advanced Latin Reading Comprehension Exam (previously called Latin V/VI+). These exams are not based on any specific textbook series.

On the Introduction to Latin, Beginning Latin, Intermediate Latin, Advanced Latin Prose, and Advanced Latin 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 Intermediate Latin Reading Comprehension and Advanced Latin Reading Comprehension exams contain two Latin passages (one prose and one poetry) as the basis for questions on grammar, comprehension, historical background, classical literature, and literary devices.

Take a look at the NLE Syllabus

Nota Bene: Teachers now have greater flexibility to offer exams at the level appropriate to the abilities of their students. Teachers should read the syllabus and find the exam which most closely resembles what has been taught by the teacher so far that year in the classroom.

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.

Dates and Deadlines for the 2023 NLE

  • Postmark deadline for registrations for paper exams: Monday, January 23, 2023.
    • No registrations for paper exams will be accepted after this date. Schools may still register for online exams until February 17.
    • The principal, headmaster, test administrator, or designee should receive the paper exams via UPS in 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 paper exams have not been received by March 1, please call Clement Testing Service at 800-459-9847.
      • If it has been determined that exams have been delivered and misplaced or lost, replacements will be charged at full value.
  • Postmark deadline for registrations for online exams: Friday, February 17, 2023.
    • No registrations for online exams will be accepted after this date.
    Examination Window: Monday, February 27-Friday, March 17, 2023.
  • 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.

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 students taking the paper exam are finished, the testing administrator should count completed answer sheets, and check test materials for any missing answer sheets.
  • Answer sheets for paper exams 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 for paper exams 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 17, 2023.
  • Exams are not to be seen by the Latin Teacher prior to the day the exams are to be given.

Registering for Exams

  • All registrations for the 2023 National Latin Exam Exam will be completed online only.
    • Any registrations received on old registration forms will be returned to the teacher.
  • Only ONE Latin teacher from a given school creates an online account and fills out registration form completely.
  • Teachers may register for exams in one of two formats: paper/pencil or online. There is no difference in cost.
    • N.B. Due to the rising costs of shipping exams, schools outside North America must order the online format of the exams.
  • An invoice will be emailed to the registering teacher upon submission of the online form.
    • Once the teacher has submitted the online registration form, the school will be considered registered, but registration will not be complete until payment has been received.
    • Teachers may pay immediately by credit card or may submit the invoice to their business office for payment by check or money order.
  • The NLE will send to the Latin teacher an email verifying receipt of registration form and payment. We will no longer be sending out a postcard by mail.
  • For questions about your order or about the online version of the exam, please contact Lingco at

Cost of Exams

N.B. The cost structure for the National Latin Exam has been simplified. Please note the changes.

  • Exams cost $6.00 each for schools in the United States and Canada.
    • A handling fee of $15.00 will be added to orders of 1-10 exams.
    • A handling fee of $25.00 will be added to orders of 11 or more exams.
  • Exams cost $8.00 each for schools outside the United States and Canada.
    • Schools outside the United States and Canada must register for and take the exams online.
    • Payment must be made in US funds only, drawn off a US bank.
    • A handling fee of $35.00 will be added to all orders outside the United States and Canada.
  • Purchase orders are NOT accepted in lieu of check or money order.


Awards on all of the exams are based upon the annual, national average for each separate exam.

  • Perfect paper: a special, colored certificate printed with the name of the winner
  • 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.

N.B. Replacements for certificates and medals will be charged at full value.

Special Book Awards

The National Latin Exam recognizes students who have earned remarkable achievements on exams with special book awards. These have changed slightly over the years, but we are excited to now offer the following:

Students earning their 4th or subsequent gold medal on different exams* will be sent a Loeb edition, which may vary based on the year. We thank Harvard University Press for their sponsorship of this award for the 2022 exams!

Students earning their 3rd perfect score on different exams* will receive the Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. Students earning their 4th perfect score on different exams* will receive the Oxford Classical Dictionary. On the extraordinary occasion of a student earning their 5th or subsequent perfect score, an appropriate prize will be awarded.

*Students may take the Advanced Reading Comprehension Exam multiple times, as that is our highest-level exam. Any other exam may only be taken once for a student to be eligible for a book award, even though teachers or schools may elect to have their students take an exam for the 2nd time (if that better suits the progression of their program). PLEASE NOTE: no student may take more than one exam per year - thank you for understanding and respecting this policy.

A student must take at least one exam on the Advanced Level (Advanced Prose, Advanced Poetry, or Advanced Reading Comprehension) to be eligible for a special book award.