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.