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2015 Notes from the Marking Centre – Latin Extension

This document has been produced for the teachers and candidates of the Stage 6 Latin Extension course. It contains comments on candidate responses to the 2015 Higher School Certificate examination, indicating the quality of the responses and highlighting their relative strengths and weaknesses.
This document should be read along with:

Section I – Prescribed Text
Characteristics of better responses:

  • translations were clear, fluent, accounted for every word and demonstrated a clear appreciation of the poet’s tone (Q1)
  • candidates demonstrated familiarity with mythological references (Q2a)
  • candidates addressed both language and structure and linked them to the expression of Catullus’ commitment (Q2b)
  • candidates provided clear, logical and cohesive responses (Q2 and Q3)
  • in the extended response, candidates understood what was meant by the term persona. They addressed all of the elements of the question, and considered what was similar and different in the three personae the poets created in each text. Tone and self-awareness as a poet, as well as genre awareness were identified as key elements in the development of the persona.

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • candidates did not sustain a fluent translation for the entirety of the extract (Q1)
  • candidates did not link the mythological references to their use in the poem; for example, to illustrate the power of poetry (Q2a)
  • candidates provided uneven responses, ignoring either language features or structure (Q2b)
  • candidates listed language features without linking them clearly to the expression of feelings. Repetition was frequently mentioned, without showing an appreciation of its specific application in the poem. Terminology, such as juxtaposition, was used incorrectly (Q2c)
  • in the extended response, candidates analysed or described the extracts without much reference to the concept of persona. There was the tendency to focus on linguistic features and only a basic appreciation of the poetic intention of each author was shown. Some candidates looked for parallels between the two authors on superficial grounds. Others misunderstood the term persona entirely(Q3)
  • candidates quoted liberally from the Latin text without demonstrating their understanding of how the Latin is relevant to their argument. When not quoting, responses should be written in English and not half Latin, half English: the frequent insertion of Latin words into the English response can mar the flow of the argument (Q2 and Q3).

Section II – Non-prescribed Text
Characteristics of better responses:

  • candidates made use of the dictionary entries given for the vocabulary (Q4a) and Q5(a)
  • candidates provided clear, fluent and idiomatic translations which reflected the tone and purpose of the author (Q4a and Q5a)
  • candidates recognised the construction ne…falle (line 15) and the use of the infinitives dependent on docet (lines 19-22, Q4a)
  • candidates demonstrated familiarity with the features of elegy: they were able to select features which were relevant to the given extract and illustrate their use (Q4b).

Characteristics of weaker responses:

  • candidates did not make effective use of the dictionary entries and did not always select vocabulary appropriate to context (Q4a and Q5a)
  • candidates confused decet and docet, and the part of speech of custodes (line 15, Q4a)
  • candidates did not move beyond the literal meaning of quae tamen odit, habet (line 2), and aversor morum crimina (line 6, Q5a)
  • candidates discussed in general terms features of elegy, without explaining the link with the given extract (Q4b).
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