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Ancient Greek to gcse

(31 Posts)
Wobbles21 Sun 02-Feb-20 10:15:06

Wondered if anyone had experience of starting Ancient Greek in year 9 and taking it to gcse. DS has this option : it would be a small group for 2 hours a week at school and would mean his gcse choices were language heavy: french, German, Latin and Greek.
Wonder if this is really doable?
TIA

OP’s posts: |
ProggyMat Sun 02-Feb-20 10:24:28

My DD (Yr11) is sitting Latin Ancient Greek and French GCSEs in may.
She started French and Latin in Yr7 and then picked up Spanish and Ancient Greek (extra curricular) in Yr8.
She did toy with taking all 4 to GCSE but thought that was ‘language overload’ and dropped Spanish.
One of her peers chose all 4 but has dropped one after the mocks.
I’d say it was doable but it will depend on how many GCSEs he plans to sit.

ProggyMat Sun 02-Feb-20 10:46:17

*I should add that a Yr8 was 30 minutes taster sessions.
2 hours per week from Yr9.

itssquidstella Sun 02-Feb-20 11:46:49

Totally doable (Classics teacher here!). At my school, pupils who've shown an ability and interest in Latin start Greek in Y9 - they do around 45 minutes a week of Greek in Y9, then if they choose it for GCSE they get the full allocation of 300 minutes a fortnight in KS4.

It's a fast-paced course but they enjoy it and get excellent results.

Wobbles21 Sun 02-Feb-20 15:29:46

So how do they manage it in only 2/3 years when other gcse subjects they study for 5 plus years. I can see generally the results are very good but I assumed it was native Greek speakers boosting the results.
It would be an 11th gcse and his 4th language so not sure if that is too much

OP’s posts: |
itssquidstella Sun 02-Feb-20 15:31:39

The pupils taking it tend to be very able, and lessons move at a fast pace. That's how!

Londonmummy66 Sun 02-Feb-20 15:32:45

I did it from zero to O level in a year - it's really possible if he is good at Latin as the grammar is not dissimilar. DC2 is taking GCSE this summer having started it in Yr10 (and does it as an extra curricular).

Michaelahpurple Sun 02-Feb-20 18:19:34

I think it would be hard if they hadn't got some latin under their belt but otherwise c doable.

On languages at gcse, I think it is a bit all or nothing. My boys have always found french to be v painful and have needed/will need respectively lots of propping up to get the grade they wanted at gcse, and I am pretty poor too. However, I can see that if one has any genuine talent at languages GCSEs are ludicrously easy. DS1 got his 8 whilst having virtually no ability to speak the language. It is very formulaic, with a clear topic range and if well taught must be sooooo easy for decent linguists.

So, if you child finds has an ability at languages and isn't thrown by learning vocab in multiple languages, I think that could be a cunning way to do well in overall grades.

Be aware that half the marks in Latin and Greek are for the literature paper which I believe everyone tackles by memorising the english translation , so this has to be bearable too.

elfonshelf Sun 02-Feb-20 18:38:04

Be aware that half the marks in Latin and Greek are for the literature paper which I believe everyone tackles by memorising the english translation , so this has to be bearable too.

I didn't know that everyone had figured that out! grin

Having done Latin and Ancient Greek alongside 2 other languages, it's definitely doable. I would highly recommend reading lots of Greek myths on the side - so much easier to do the translations when you know the gist of the stories and you can then have a good guess at the words you don't know!

Latin A Level is a complete nightmare though and I wouldn't recommend it unless you are heading for a classics degree.

kitk Sun 02-Feb-20 18:42:08

I did four languages at GCSE, albeit not Ancient Greek or Latin and it didn't narrow my chances. I was just better at/ enjoyed languages more than anything else

HermioneWeasley Sun 02-Feb-20 18:44:33

I did it, if you’ve got a good grounding in Latin, it’s very transferable. I really enjoyed it

ProggyMat Sun 02-Feb-20 18:47:35

Latin A level is a complete nightmare and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are heading for a classics degree
My DD wants to do Latin and Ancient Greek at A level with a view to read classics!

elfonshelf Sun 02-Feb-20 19:08:47

If you want to do classics then it's a no brainer, but if you are doing it because you find Latin GCSE fun and easy, then I would pick something else!

I did Latin and Ancient History - they went very well together. But oh how I wish that Robert Harris's Cicero trilogy had been around back then - brought so much of what I studied to life.

Good luck to your DD!

ProggyMat Sun 02-Feb-20 19:24:34

She also wants to do Ancient History or Class CiV.
Not a lot of choice in our neck of the woods.
Thanks for the reading tip elfonshelf

Michaelahpurple Sun 02-Feb-20 21:31:03

@elfonshelf Can you comment more on the Latin a level being grim point? Although my DS is muttering vaguely about geek A level to support an english degree application (early days as not yet tackled gcse)

elfonshelf Sun 02-Feb-20 21:41:50

Bear in mind that I did A Levels back in 1990 - and my DD is still at primary so it may well have changed.

The jump from GCSE was massive and the sheer amount of work was huge. It was a language, a history and a literature A level all rolled into one.

If you are someone who is keen on grammar and really getting to grips with the intricacies of the language then it will be a lot easier than if you are someone like me who managed to not bother with the drudge of the grammar and still do extremely well at GCSE (mainly because I was hugely interested in the history side and knew a lot of Roman myths so translation was pretty simple). I did a lot of relearning during those two years.

If I'd just be chasing a grade then it would have been a lot less work to have done a number of other subjects. Latin was definitely the one that took the most time.

legoninjago1 Mon 03-Feb-20 06:15:18

Well it's a while ago now, but I did Ancient Greek GCSE and I'm fairly positive we started it in Year 10 and took the exam at the end of Year 11. So a two year course. We studied the Odyssey and there were only 3 of us in the group. You had to have reached a certain standard in Latin which we had started in Year 8. I enjoyed it and got a B at GCSE. I think all 3 of us did actually. This was in the 90s though ;)

fishonabicycle Mon 03-Feb-20 08:25:31

I had a go at learning ancient Greek in evening classes - it was really difficult, and took a lot of learning by heart. But I was a fair bit older, and working long hours too.

TeddTess Mon 03-Feb-20 12:15:01

ds is doing ancient Greek & latin for GCSE. It is taught in one timetable slot to the top set Latin. Perfectly doable. Plus 2 MFL. And no, not considering languages for A level confused.

TeddTess Mon 03-Feb-20 12:15:34

He started Greek in yr9

TeddTess Mon 03-Feb-20 12:17:51

Bear in mind that I did A Levels back in 1990

seriously unhelpful comment.
GCSEs are WAY WAY harder than they were back when we did them in the 90s.

Michaelahpurple Mon 03-Feb-20 14:00:20

V helpful comments -thanks.

And, ahem, I did O'levels so am feeling v ancient now, geek or otherwise smile

TeddTess Mon 03-Feb-20 14:37:32

soz. slightly over reacted blush - just had this a lot when ds was trying to choose his options.

RhymingRabbit3 Mon 03-Feb-20 14:46:32

I did GCSE Latin in 2 years, 2 hours a week. If it's a small class of able students (sounds like this is the case) then it's definitely doable.

legoninjago1 Mon 03-Feb-20 14:55:34

I don't think Ancient Greek GCSE itself could be 'way way harder' than it was in the 90s. I mean, for our GCSE course we needed to learn the language (30 different versions of the word 'the' as I recall!) from scratch and know the Odyssey inside out. Could it be 'way way harder' than that?! If it is I'd give it a wide berth!

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