What You Need to Know About the Latin SAT Subject Test

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Read This If You’re Considering Taking the SAT Subject Test in Latin

By Andy, IvyWise Master Tutor

Once you’ve determined that you’re interested in taking SAT Subject Tests, the next question on many students’ minds is which exams they should take. While every SAT Subject Test is one-hour and designed to assess your knowledge and skills in a certain subject, the exams themselves vary greatly.

The SAT Subject Test in Latin gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and competency in the language. Keep reading to learn more about the exam, some general test-taking tips, and ways to upgrade your strategy.

The Basics

The SAT Subject Test in Latin is one hour in length and includes 70-75 multiple-choice questions.  It is scored on the 200-800 point scale.  Students will encounter the following sections when taking the test:

  • Grammatical Forms that ask students to select specific forms of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs
  • Derivatives that ask students to choose which Latin words and underlined English word comes from
  • Translations that ask students to translate an underlined word, phrase, or complete sentence
  • Choosing alternate grammatical expressions for the same thought
  • Answering questions based on short passages of prose or poetry

The reading comprehension section has 30+ questions based on 3-5 reading passages and 1-2 poetry passages. Questions following the poetry passages always prompt students to scan the text and refer back to the reading.

General Strategies

The SAT Subject Test in Latin expects students to ‘decode’ information to interpret questions, eliminate wrong answers, and break down content in order to be a successful test taker.  Here are some basic strategies:

  • Answer the easy questions first: The easier questions are usually at the start of the section, and the harder ones are at the end.  The exception is the critical reading section where questions are ordered according to the logic and organization of each passage.
  • Make educated guesses: If you can’t determine an answer directly, rule out one or more answer choices to give you a better chance of getting the correct answer.
  • Limit your time on any one question: All questions are worth the same number of points.  If you need a lot of time to answer a question, go on to the next one.
  • Keep track of time: Don’t spend too much time on any group of questions within a section.

Advanced Tips for the SAT Subject Test in Latin

If you’re looking for advice that specifically relates to the Latin SAT Subject Test, keep the following pointers in mind:

  • Remember the mnemonic “CUBBER”: Students are likely familiar with this common device to ‘decode’ a Latin sentence into parts of speech for processing into acceptable English.  To use this strategy, remember to Circle the verb, Underline the subject, Box the direct object, Bracket the prepositions, Examine words that do not fit into these categories, Rainbow words that are modifiers such as nouns and their descriptive adjectives.
  • Use the SANDWICH method: Break up longer sentences into their manageable clauses to isolate them. Most often the important words are at the beginning and end of the sentence.  This device will also help you to visualize the parts of speech as they fit together in the sentence.
  • Remember the sentence “EMILY WEARS A DIAMOND TIARA” when working with the present subjunctive: The vowels used in this mnemonic sentence will help you to remember that the present subjunctive in each of the conjugations from the first through the fourth follow these vowels used in that device.  This will give you an edge when you are asked to conjugate a verb in this mood.

Like any other exam, students who prepare in advance and do their research for the SAT Subject Test in Latin are likely to feel the best on exam day. If you are preparing for standardized tests and looking for guidance, get in touch with our team of expert tutors.

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