Aids for the Teacher and Student of Advanced Placement Horace

David J. Murphy

The Nightingale-Bamford School, New York, NY

My goal is strictly practical:  to discuss workbook materials that may help students perform well on the Horace part of the Latin Literature Advanced Placement exam.  Among other things, students need a sizeable Latin vocabulary, decoding and translation skills, knowledge of the background of the poems, ability to develop and support an argument in writing, knowledge of meter, and savvy with multiple choice questions.  Exercises that provide practice with these skills will be shown, and their grading schemes will be explained from the accompanying teacher's guide.

Forms and syntactical use of nouns and adjectives pose more problems to the reader of Latin poetry than do verbs and clause structure.  Exercises that push students to think carefully about substantives and their modifiers help them become better readers.  In the handout I will give examples of workbook exercises that give practice in this skill. 

Along the way we will also look at workbook questions that elicit identification of figures of speech.  Most of these are from the AP list, but we will look at a few that are not on the list, which teachers can show their classes with the caveat not to offer unlisted figures as answers to AP questions.  I will give examples of questions students can ask themselves when trying to classify a figure.

Very many students lose points on the AP because they do not translate literally.  They will perform better if the teacher shows them how translation passages are usually graded, and if the teacher grades student translations in a similar way.  Examples from the workbook and teacher's guide will show how to give students appropriate practice.

Students need training in writing short, analytical answers, and especially in writing essays.  Many students fail to direct their answer to the question that is asked, fail to support with valid Latin evidence, and/or fail to construct an argument.  A big discriminator among essays are the features "analytical" vs. "merely descriptive."  From the teacher's guide we will look at actual student answers to an essay question on Odes 2.3, the "Dellius" ode, and examine how they were graded by standards like those applied on the AP.

Many students find the multiple choice section even harder than the free-response section of the AP.  We will look at some of the many multiple choice exercises provided in the workbook, how to grade them, and how to use them with a class.  To close, we will glance at questions on meter and their grading scheme.


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