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Q for those familiar with AP Latin about the coming update...

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Hello all,


The College Board is updating the AP Latin exam for the 2012-2013 school year. Here is a link to the changes they are making:




I would love to have some folks familiar with the AP Latin exam comment on the changes to the content. By looking at what is changing, do folks feel that this new exam will be more difficult/less difficult? Since the new exam will requires readings of Caesar in addition to Vergil, would it take longer to prepare for this exam? The new content also mentions relating Latin texts to Roman historical, cultural, and literary contexts. Is this tested on the current exam?


I'm concerned because my son is finishing Henle 2 now, and I'm contemplating what to do next year. I've got a feeling that he might be able to tackle AP Latin in the coming school year, but my gut says that it would be better for him to take one more year to build reading fluency before tackling AP. If we wait, that would make him a guinea pig for the new exam. Would this be a good or bad thing, I don't know.


What say you, hive?



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I've been following the proposed changes and looked at the link you posted. Both my kids took the old AP Latin exams. Vergil was 1856 lines of text on the old test. We enjoyed Vergil a lot as an author, but it was a long year to get through it all. I think my son in particular would have liked to mix it up with half a year of a prose author, too. My daughter is a huge mythology and ancient history geek, though, and she thoroughly enjoyed immersing herself in the Aeneid.:D


The new exam will be set up more like the old AP Latin Literature: half a year each of two different authors. The Vergil reading has been scaled back to 830 lines, and part of Caesar's Gallic Wars is added in (52 chapters - don't let that scare you; it's easy to read a chapter a day of Caesar).


I don't think that it will take longer to read the new syllabus; if anything, I'm guessing my kids would have found it would take less time. Caesar is much easier than Vergil! In fact, if your son is working through Henle 2 this year, he'd be working on adapted Caesar, which would be a good introduction. How does he find that?


The old exam always had a "relating Latin texts to their literary contexts" type of question. the student was required to read all of the Aeneid in English, in addition to the Latin portions. This was done to ensure that they saw the overarching literary themes, character development, etc, in the whole work. One of the essay questions would address this (no Latin involved).


In the new syllabus, the student still has assigned readings in English, but they don't cover the whole books any more. I think it's to keep a consistent workload, but there is something lost when you just read portions. The new syllabus also mentions historical and cultural context. I believe that's new & I'm not sure how they'll test that. The support materials for AP Latin have always been fantastic, though, and I'll bet that will still be the case.


Overall, my guess is that the new version will be a bit easier. It might also be more fun for kids who don't want to study a single author ALL year long! Even in my daughter's college Latin classes, they cover two authors per quarter. She enjoys that, especially when one of them is not a favorite (like Catullus:tongue_smilie:)!


Another thing to keep in mind in evaluating whether a student is ready for AP Latin: In addition to sight readings with various authors (the multiple choice section), the essay section requires them to write analytical (not narrative) essays based on Latin passages from the assigned readings. Can he write a quick essay with a thesis and textual support? The essays are written in English, but the passage is in Latin and the textual support offered must be in Latin, too. They can't simply remember "what happened" but must instead point out the correct Latin lines that justify their arguments.


My daughter was ready for this in tenth grade after completing Henle 2. My son, who is actually a bit better at translation and vocabulary/grammar, spent another year transitioning before attempting the AP Latin in eleventh grade. I was hesitant to put him in the AP course right away because of his weaker writing skills.


hope that helps!

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Hi Brenda


I've had both my dds take a Latin III course after completing Henle 2. It was a year to really solidify the grammar, increase vocabulary and learn some Roman history. They were well prepared to take AP Latin (Vergil) the following year.


My eldest went on to Latin V (Catullus/Ovid plus Cicero) which would have led to the AP Latin Literature exam, she's now a classics and English major at McGill in Montreal. Unlike Kathy's dd, she really enjoys Catullus.


My youngest will probably not continue after this year's AP.


By the way, both of them were heartily sick of Ceasar by the end of Henle 2 and prone to quoting the old saying 'Ceasar killed the Gauls and now he's killing me!' Your son may feel differently.




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Kathy & Moira --


Thanks for your feedback on the AP Latin exam and student readiness.


Kathy -- my son can write a decent essay, but he's not very fast, so I think that's why my gut says I should wait a year before he does AP Latin. He is finding the Caesar passages in Henle 2 difficult, but he can make them out most of the time. We both get the feeling that more time with the material would help us to get a better feel for Caesar's writing style. Yesterday, my son was frustrated because Caesar uses so many long, long sentences in his writing. I guess there was no such thing as a run-on sentence in Latin!


Once I get the older one settled back at college this weekend, I'm going to put more time into figuring out what materials to use next year and the year after.


Moira -- my son loves the Caesar writings. I think it's a boy thing. He enjoys reading about battle strategies and the like. I will admit that I'm a little tired of it, though.


After he finishes Henle 2 in a couple of weeks and takes the NLE, I think we might spend the rest of the year reading through Lingua Latina -- to help with reading fluency and also to give a break (for me at least) from the endless battles.


Thanks again for your insight. I don't know what I would do without this WTM group.



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