This page will give you the Key Points to remember when tackling Question 1 of the CE Paper: these tips apply to all three Levels. 

Qu.1 is a so-called 'Comprehension' question. The format is the same for Levels 1, 2 & 3.

Quick Jump LinksClick on the links below to reach particular sections of this page:

Before you start

Starting on Qu 1

Top Tips for Qu 1

Example Passage with Questions

Answers

Using the Top Tips

Tricks of the Trade

 

 

BEFORE YOU START, HOWEVER...

The first thing you should do is READ THE TITLES OF ALL THREE LANGUAGE QUESTIONS of your Level. It is customary to use one story (or episodes from a single main story) for the Latin passages used throughout each Level. You can find a great deal of useful information in the titles, and above all, it can be a huge advantage if you find you are already familiar with the story being used.

 

            CONSIDER THIS EXAMPLE: 

QU. 1 Title:  "A young hero sets out to punish his wicked uncle."    

    This has enough detail maybe to ring a bell in your mind, but at this stage you shouldn't jump to any rash conclusions...

QU. 2 Title:  "On the road to Iolcus, the hero wins the favour of the goddess Juno."                     

    Now you have some extra clues that may help you to decide which story it is, and have also been given the names of a place and a person.

ALWAYS WRITE NAMES USING THE SPELLING AS YOU SEE IT IN THE TITLES.

      ...O.K. - it's probably all right to change a Latin spelling to one which has a common English equivalent (no-one will mind, e.g., if you change 'Creta' to 'Crete'), but only do this if you are sure you have the correct name with the correct alternative spelling.

      Incidently, this particular title should prevent you from confusing the name of the goddess with some unknown verb in the 1st pers. singular...I've known that happen!

QU. 3 Title: "Caught off his guard, Jason is tricked by Pelias into taking on a dangerous quest."                    

    If you hadn't already guessed, you now know for sure that you are dealing with an early part of the story of Jason & the Golden Fleece. You can approach the answers to Qu. 1 (and of course Qu. 2) with this knowledge in mind: for example, if you know the story, it would be a bad idea to answer one of the parts of Qu. 1 by guessing that "punish" in the first title means "kill" straight away. There are many adventures in the story to go before Jason gets round to that!

You have also now been given the name of Jason's uncle; this could also save some time battling with the details of Qu. 1.

 

ONE POINT TO BEAR IN MIND: do not 'take for granted' that the exact version of the story that you know is the one they will use. There are many variations to Mythology tales, in particular; never assume you know what is going to happen, without properly checking the actual Latin first as well.

 

 

NOW YOU ARE READY TO START ON QU. 1 itself.

FIRSTLY - do not be fooled by the 'comprehension' label! This question is as much a test of your translating ability as is Question 2.

In fact, I would advise you to look upon Question 1 as largely a VOCAB TEST. If you can identify and translate the key words that the individual questions are directing you to look for, you will score very highly on this part of the paper.

Make sure then that you know as many as possible of the vocab words for your Level - now may be the time to go back to the Vocab pages on this site and test yourself!

Question 1: TOP TIPS

1. READ ALL THE QUESTIONS IN ENGLISH BEFORE STARTING TO ANSWER ANY.

      You can often find out a lot about the story from what it says in the questions.

2. TAKE CARE TO ANSWER WITH CLOSE REFERENCE TO THE LATIN WORDS THEY SPECIFY FOR EACH QUESTION

     The answer to the question MUST be found within these words - you don't need to look elsewhere, or indeed add extra information of your own.

3. TAKE NOTICE OF THE NUMBER OF MARKS GIVEN FOR EACH QUESTION.

     It is no good writing a one-word answer if the question is worth 2 marks or more! You should generally aim to translate at least as many vocab words as there are marks available.

     

 

 

To demonstrate the use of these tips in more detail, here is an example passage followed by some questions: 

 

A young hero sets out to punish his wicked uncle.

 1.        Olim in Graecia erant duo filii. pater filiorum rex erat, sed mox mortuus est. itaque, unus ex filiis, Aeson nomine, patriam nunc  regebat. sed frater malus, Pelias nomine, quod patriam regere magnopere cupiebat, Aesonem necare constituit.                 

 5.       Aeson quoque filium et duas filias habebat. Pelias, ubi oppidum oppugnavit, Aesonem cepit et filias necavit; sed filius auxilio servi boni in agros cucurrit. ibi tutus manebat et diu exspectabat. multos post annos ad patriam festinavit quod patrem videre et avunculum punire cupiebat.

 

 

    (N.B. This passage is mostly pitched at Level 1, with a couple of fairly easy level 2 words thrown in. The style of the questions is common to all 3 levels. I have used the old format for the questions below, rather than re-writing each relevant sentence along with each question.) 

Questions

a)  In lines 1-2, what had happened to the king, the father of the two sons?    (1 mark)

b)  In line 3, how is the brother named Pelias described?   (1 mark)

c)  In lines 3-4, what did this brother want to do?  (2 marks)

d)  Write down in Latin, and translate into English the word in line 3 that shows this was a strong desire.  (1 mark) 

e)  In lines 5-6, what two things did Pelias do after attacking the town?  (2+2 marks)

f)  In lines 6-7, how was the son able to run away into the fields?  (3 marks)

g)  From line 7, how do we know that Aeson's son didn't hurry back to his homeland soon?  (2 marks)

h)  In lines 8-9, what else did the son want to do apart from punishing his uncle? (1 mark)

 


 

Now try to answer these questions yourself. When you have decided what you want to say, highlight with your cursor the lines of the relevant letters below to reveal whether you are right! You can then read about how making use of the TOP TIPS would have led you to these answers.

 

Answersa)  He had died/was dead.

b)  Wicked, bad, evil.

c)  (He wanted to) rule the homeland.

d)  Magnopere - very much, greatly.

e)  He captured Aeson and killed his daughters.

f)  With the help of a good slave. (You must say exactly this to score all 3 marks!)

g)  (It says) he waited for a long time.

h)  (He wanted) to see his father.

 Did you score 15 out of 15?

 

 

USING THE TOP TIPS

    1.  READ THE QUESTIONS FIRST:

   Few people would disagree with this! It will probably take you no more than a minute, and can once again give you extra clues about the general outline of the story and the characters' names (spelling!).

 

    2.  ANSWER WITH CLOSE REFERENCE TO THE WORDS THEY PRINT FOR EACH QUESTION:

   Now that you have to write your answers onto the actual question paper (new from 2013), they always print out for you the relevant part of the passage where you can find the answer. Your answer must refer as closely as possible to these words: the more of them that you can translate accurately, the more likely you are to score the marks on offer (see next tip!)

   It will not usually be necessary to look elsewhere in the passage - or to add extra information of your own - all the information will be in the words they print for you.

   Watch out for one pitfall, however: since the new format of the paper was introduced in 2013, there were words underlined and given to you in the main complete passage which they did not underline again in the individual questions. Always check back to the full passage to see if there is any extra vocab help.

   In the 2014 paper this rather annoying inconsistency had not been addressed, so the above advice is likely to continue to be useful in years to come.

    * UPDATE 2017* 
Finally, the exam board has started to underline the supplied vocab from the complete passage in the individual questions as well...!

VDB of course claims no credit for this whatsoever....but, you never know... 

    3.  LOOK AT THE MARKS AVAILABLE:

   Look at some of the questions above to see how this works.

       1 mark: e.g. qu. b) - the one mark is obviously for translating the one word 'malus'. Compare qu's a) "mortuus" and h) "videre". But beware of questions like d) - don't forget to write the Latin word first as well: there may not be a separate mark for it, but if you leave it out it will cost you the one mark that is on offer!  

      2 marks: this generally means you must translate two vocab words, e.g. qu. g) "diu exspectabat". Sometimes they guide you more clearly, as in qu. e): "2+2 marks" separates the two actions "Aesonem cepit" and "filias necavit".

      3 marks: question f) is the hardest one here, because they are asking you to show grammar knowledge as well as translating the vocab. Tough markers might only give you 1 mark for saying "A slave helped him"; 2 marks for "A GOOD slave helped him" - even though you have now given the sense of 3 words! To be sure of scoring all 3 marks, you need to show you understand the meaning of the case endings: 

       "auxilio.." (abl. case) - WITH the help (auxilium is a noun); "..servi boni" (gen. case) - OF a good slave.

 

 

   SOME FINAL 'TRICKS OF THE TRADE'...!

      The actual wording of the questions can sometimes supply a clue as to what you need to look for as the answer. 

      "How is (he/she/it) described...?" - they are most probably asking you to find an adjective.  

       "Why did (so-and-so do something)...? - look for a sentence or clause that begins with the giveaway word "quod" - "because..."

       "What did (so-and-so) do...?" - your answer must be based around translating a verb.