Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Latin 2017

Standard 93008


Part A: Commentary

The quality of candidate performance continues to be at a high level, with two candidates gaining an Outstanding award this year. Many candidates were able to show an impressive grasp of linguistic knowledge, as well as producing thoughtful and perceptive stylistic analyses. While it is tempting for candidates to make esoteric points about style in an effort to distinguish themselves, the best answers examined more straightforward elements, but did so in such a way as to show a high level of perception, without over analysing the passages. It is pleasing to see most candidates copying out and scanning a line of poetry if they are making a point about scansion.

Part B: Report on Performance

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • translated both passages using the meanings given in the vocabulary booklet, rather than their own meanings of the words. This enabled them to give a fluent and accurate translation of the most complex phrases, especially in regard to gerundives, pronouns, passive infinitives, present participles
  • handled patterns of Latin word order and could render them confidently into eloquent English that reflected the persuasiveness of the passage
  • wrote sophisticated responses to the literary questions and made relevant, detailed points, with evidence from the Latin provided in support, that demonstrated independent insight, thorough understanding and a clear line of argument.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • wrote translations that conveyed the meaning of both passages accurately and fluently, for example they knew the adverb tacite(Passage One) was derived from the adjective tacitusgiven on the word list
  • translated one passage more confidently than the other
  • observed the requirements of both literary questions, not omitting any part 
  • wrote responses that included points that showed critical thinking, more strongly or effectively for one question than the other, though both were supported by evidence from the Latin.

Other candidates

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • provided inaccurate translations where errors significantly detracted from a clear understanding of the passage 
  • did not refer to the vocabulary booklet so that words were confused  – e.g. dedimusfor didicimus (Passage One), legesfor the verb lego(line 7, Passage One)
  • identified the incorrect subject - e.g. Antony instead of Aegyptia coniunx(Passage Two), or did not identify cases correctly – e.g. viri(Passage Two), and expressed the deponent sequitur(Passage Two) as a passive rather than a deponent
  • used the Latin word order, rather then a more natural English word order in their translations
  • wrote answers to the analysis questions with insufficient clarity to make a point, despite in some cases a lengthy response 
  • endeavoured to make a point without supporting Latin evidence or identification of the literary device 
  • omitted part of the question - e.g. ‘the battle’ required in Question Four.

Standard specific comments

Some candidates wrote alternative translations in parentheses. They are advised to ensure that before submitting their scripts they clearly cross out the alternative that they do not wish to be considered.

Candidates should make use of the vocabulary booklet provided with the examination so that their translations are not compromised by incorrect meanings of words. While candidates are free to choose their own alternative meaning, the meanings in the vocabulary booklet should guide them in making their choices.

Candidates received higher marks for critically and accurately analysing some of the more obvious language devices rather than attempting to sound more sophisticated which often led to cases of over-analysis.

There is no need for candidates to include introductory or concluding sentences in their responses to Questions 2 and 4. Responding directly to the questions is a better use of candidate time.


Subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 184KB)

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