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I'm helping a student prepare for the SAT Latin subject test, which includes a short reading passage followed by multiple-choice questions. It would be useful to have a few sample passages that we can go over for practice, either from the SAT itself or passages of similar length and level. Is there a good online source for this?

For those unfamiliar with the SAT Latin test, below are the sample passage and questions from the student guide. It would be great to find passages with practice questions, but just some online practice passages that we can read through together would be helpful too.

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  • Licetne discipulis dictionario uti?
    – d_e
    Jun 3 at 21:55
  • @d_e Non puto...
    – TKR
    Jun 3 at 22:21
  • Out of curiosity, at what age do children normally take this test?
    – Cerberus
    Jun 4 at 21:59
  • 1
    @TKR I assume that means students would be 18, but I'm not certain – 'college admissions' is very country-dependent.
    – dbmag9
    Jun 5 at 8:42
  • 1
    @dbmag9 18 generally.
    – TKR
    Jun 6 at 17:53
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The National Latin Exam includes very similar types of multiple-choice comprehension questions linked to a short passage in Latin. Some years' worth of past exams are available for free online. I once used these when I was helping a student prepare for the Latin SAT.

The following example shows part of the relevant section of the Latin III–IV Prose exam from 2013.

Reading comprehension questions from the 2013 Latin III-IV Prose NLE

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The level and question style won't match perfectly, but you could still benefit from using English/Welsh GCSE/AS/A-Level past papers:

GCSE for example available here. The GCSE grade system switched in 2016 (from A*–E to 9–1), so you will find that papers before the change are structured differently but at a similar level.

The paper you want is the Language paper (on the page I linked, you can find one under 'Sample Assessment Materials', many under 'Withdrawn Qualification Materials', and another under 'Question papers, markschemes and reports > 2018').

Screenshot of Passage 1 from the current GCSE Latin specimen Language paper.

AS/A-Level for example available here. AS is a lower qualification than A-Level, although I don't know how the differences manifest at the level of prose comprehension. The AS paper you want is the Language paper; the A-Level paper you want is 'Prose composition or comprehension'.

(The connection between AS and A-Levels has changed in the last few years; previously students typically took AS exams after one year and A2/A-Level exams after a second year which would combine to form an A-Level qualification. Now the A-Level is a continuous two-year course, with the AS an independent course of roughly half the volume.)

Screenshot of Passage 1 from the current A-Level Latin specimen Prose composition and comprehension paper.

You could always use the passages and make your own questions if the style isn't quite right. I'd be interested to hear how the level compares between the SAT and these qualifications.

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  • Do you know at what age children normally take this test? Just curious.
    – Cerberus
    Jun 4 at 22:22
  • @Cerberus The vast majority would be 16 for GCSEs, 17 for AS (if they take them), 18 for A-Levels. At 16 they would generally have studied Latin for 3–5 years depending on the school.
    – dbmag9
    Jun 4 at 22:26
  • Thanks! So what levels are the texts in your answer? The first one is 16, the second one 17 or 18?
    – Cerberus
    Jun 4 at 23:40
  • @Cerberus The first is from a GCSE paper, so 16; the second is from an A-Level paper, so 18.
    – dbmag9
    Jun 5 at 8:41
  • Thanks. So I see there are some small changes in the latter, mainly words that have been replaced with commoner synonyms, and the occasional simpler construction. I wonder why they do that: in Dutch exams, this is never done. From ca. age 16, pupils read original authors (usually beginning with Ovid). This is probably compensated by giving a bit more assistance in the margin.
    – Cerberus
    Jun 5 at 13:57

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