Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Latin 2019

Standard 93008

Part A: Commentary

Most candidates showed that they had a good range of skills and were able to make at least some progress with this demanding paper. The best candidates (even if they did not gain a scholarship award) sustained their very good performance across all four questions. They produced accurate and perceptive translations and supported them with insightful and perceptive commentaries.  Successful candidates had an easy grasp of technical terms. They were able to go beyond identification of literary and linguistic devices to comment on the significance of them and the author’s intention.

The examination is demanding and once again there were candidates who performed very well in three questions, only to run out of time in the final question. When candidates made a point about scansion in the poetry commentary, they wrote the line(s) out and scanned them, which was pleasing to see. Even with time pressure, it is important that the scansion markings are clear. The best candidates once again wrote in coherent, cogent paragraphs without introductions and conclusions. There were a small number of candidates who wrote their translations on alternate lines. While this is often good practice in a classroom situation, in an examination it is not required. A few candidates strangely wrote their commentary responses on alternate lines.

Part B: Report on Performance

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • gave a fluent and insightful translation of the prose passage
  • correctly identified the delayed accusative noun in the second sentence of paragraph 2
  • coped well with the translation of interrogative adjectives in lines 6-7
  • showed sophisticated interpretation of Cicero’s use of language including in-depth analysis of the use of tricolon and its effect
  • in the poetry passage, translated with sensitivity and accuracy
  • gave an accurate translation of both similes and consistently got the noun and adjective agreement correct
  • showed sophistication in the way that they were able to craft a translation using natural English word order, but still making it clear that they had a complete understanding of the Latin
  • in the poetry commentary, showed personal insight by, for example, noting that Euryalus is represented by individual body-parts that are the subject of violence
  • kept all comments focused on the question that was asked.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • Recognised when an adjective was being used in place of a noun (e.g. improborum = evil men, otiosorum = men at rest in Passage 1 and iste (line 5) in the poetry passage)
  • correctly linked nouns and adjectives (e.g solum and Volcentem in lines 15-16 in the poetry)
  • were able to distinguish between verbs in the passive voice and deponent verbs
  • deftly added words in their English translations that had been omitted in Latin (e.g. adding part of the verb to be in translating mea fraus omnis)
  • realised that in passage 1 ostentes (line 11) was subjunctive, not future
  • in their commentary, recognised Cicero’s attitude to Catiline and were able to draw on their prior knowledge to explain elements of sarcasm
  • did not summarise the content of either the verse or the prose in their commentary, rather focusing on analysis and explanation of evidence.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • often struggled to realise which nouns and adjectives agreed
  • mixed up verb tenses (especially the future tenses in passage 1)
  • struggled with an accurate translation of lines 18-19 in the poetry because they did not recognise that Rutuli was genitive and referred to Volcens
  • made very good points about the use of linguistic and literary devices, but those points were not made about either Catiline’s character or Nisus’ reaction
  • did not make good use of the provided vocabulary list
  • experienced difficulties with phrasing and word patterns, translating words out of their correct order in English, leading to translations that were neither unambiguous nor fluent.


Subject page

Previous years' reports

2018 (PDF, 82KB)

2017 (PDF, 43KB)

2016 (PDF, 184KB)

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