Your browser does not support Javascript

The National Latin Exam

To register for the 2017 National Latin Exam, US schools will need to pay $5.00 per exam when ordering 3 or more exams, $10.00 for ordering 1 or 2 exams. Foreign schools will need to pay $10.00 when ordering 1 exam and $7.00 per exam when ordering 2 or more exams (US funds only drawn off of a US bank). There is a $10 shipping & handling charge per application and a $5 convenience fee for ordering with a credit card.

NLE charges schools requesting extra Instruction Sheets for the Examiners. Read more here.

Click here to see Statistical Graphs of Exam Participation and Awards given since the inception of the exam.

General Information

The National Latin Exam, sponsored by the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League, is a 40-question, multiple-choice test with a time limit of 45 minutes, offered to students on seven levels. On the Introduction to Latin, Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, Latin III/IV Prose, and Latin III/IV Poetry exams, there are questions on grammar, comprehension, mythology, derivatives, literature, Roman life, history, geography, oral Latin, and Latin in use in the modern world. The Latin V-VI exam contains two Latin passages as the basis for questions on grammar, comprehension, historical background, classical literature, and literary devices.

The philosophy of the National Latin Exam is predicated on providing every Latin student the opportunity to experience a sense of personal accomplishment and success in his or her study of the Latin language and culture. This opportunity exists for all students since, in the National Latin Exam, they are not competing with their fellow students on a comparative basis, but are evaluated solely on their own performance on the exam. The basic purposes of the NLE are to promote the study of Latin and to encourage the individual student.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has voted to place the National Latin Exam on the Advisory List of National Contests and Activities for 2016-2017. This list will be distributed to all secondary schools in the United States in September.

Test Administration Dates:

  • February 27-March 3, 2017 (Early Administration)
  • March 6-10, 2017 (Early Administration)
  • March 13-17, 2017 (Regular Administration)

Students who are enrolled in Latin or have completed a Latin course during the current academic year. Students are only allowed to take ONE exam annually, and the exam level must correspond to their current level of Latin at the time of the exam.

Introduction to Latin, Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, Latin III-IV Prose, Latin III-IV Poetry, Latin V-VI

These exams are not based on any specific textbook series.
Latin I, II, III, III-IV Prose, III-IV Poetry: 40 multiple-choice questions. Categories include grammar, comprehension, mythology, life, history, derivatives, and questions based on a short passage in Latin.
Introduction to Latin Exam: This exam is designed for Latin I students who cover approximately one-half the Latin I syllabus. The format is the same as Latin I, II, III-IV Prose, III-IV Poetry.
Latin V & VI: Latin passages with 40 multiple-choice (questions on comprehension, grammar, historical background, classical literature, and literary devices.

ALL STUDENTS OF THE SAME LEVEL must take the exam during the same time period. No make-up exams are allowed after the fact.
Administrator should try to seat students of the same level apart from one another
Time limit is 45 minutes.
(Please call ahead for students with special needs or for scheduling issues.)
When exam is over, Administrator should count completed answer sheets, and check test materials for any missing answer sheets.
Answer sheets must be returned and postmarked the same day the exam is given, or the last day of administration if different levels are given on different days.
No answer sheets mailed separately from school’s package will be accepted without
prior permission.
Last Day exam may be taken and answer sheets returned is: MARCH 11, 2016.
Exams are not to be seen or given by the Latin Teacher. Only the Principal, Guidance Director, or a Designee from the Teacher or Principal can administer the exams.

Teacher fills out application completely
Mail application to the NLE office or submit online
Keep a copy for your records
Enclose ONE check or money order payable to the National Latin Exam, credit card information, or pay online
NLE sends Teacher postcard verifying receipt of application and payment.
The exams are sent to the PRINCIPAL or Examiner in February. If the exams are not received by the principal or examiner by March 1, 2016, write or call the number on the postcard acknowledgment.

U.S. $5.00 USD per exam
Ouside U.S.$7.00 per exam
If only ordering 1-2 exams US, cost is $10.00; if only ordering 1 exam Foreign the cost is $10.00
Additional Charge: $10.00 Shipping and Handling per Application/$5.00 for credit card
Purchase orders are NOT accepted in lieu of check or money order.

Deadlines: (for 2017 exam)
Regular Postmark Deadline: January 20, 2017 for 2017 exam
Any postmark after January 20, 2017 is considered LATE
Last Postmark Deadline: February 1, 2017, must include Late Fee
(additional $20.00 for orders of 4 or less exams)
(additional $50.00 for orders of 5 or more exams)

Mail to:

National Latin Exam
University of Mary Washington
1301 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Arrival of Exams
Exams are sent via UPS to Principal or exam administrator in February
If exams are not received by March 1, 2017, please call 1 (800) 459-9847
When exams arrive, please be sure the exams are counted.

A packet including awards, certificate of school participation, printout of student scores, national norms, and answer key for all exams will be mailed to the Latin teacher involved by April 20,2017.

Introduction to Latin: Ribbons and Certificates of Achievement
Latin I-VI Exams:
 Perfect paper
: Hand-lettered certificate
Gold medal and a summa cum laude certificate awarded to top scorers
Silver medal and maxima cum laude certificate to second-place winners
Magna cum laude certificate to third-place winners
Cum laude certificate to fourth-place winners

Maureen O’Donnell Award (Oxford Classical Dictionary) awarded to students who earn four gold medals
Carter Stubbs Drake Goad Award (a book award) awarded to students who earn three or more perfect papers, or five or more gold medals

Scholarships: $1,000 AWARDS
Applications for the $1,000 scholarships will be mailed to gold medal winners in Latin III, Latin III-IV Prose, III-IV Poetry, or Latin V-VI who are high school seniors. Those who apply must agree to take at least one year of Latin or Classical Greek in college. A classics in translation course does not fulfill this requirement. These scholarships are renewable for three succeeding college years of study.In 2015 twenty-one $1,000 scholarships were awarded.

Post Graduate Scholarship
One $2000 scholarship is awarded for post-graduate study leading to the teaching of Latin or Greek at the elementary, intermediate, or high school level.


Hard copies of the four previous exams and the National Latin Exam Syllabus are available for purchase from the American Classical League office in Oxford , Ohio for $9.00 : American Classical League, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056 with a request for the four previous National Latin Exams including the syllabus (item # E1).

PREVIOUS EXAMS and Keys Online

Copies of the previous National Latin Exams and Keys can be viewed online with Adobe Acrobat Reader, version 9 or later, and printed for practice.

NLE Test Questions available in MS Access Database Files

Latin teachers Ginny Greenland and Meredith Sitz from Bolles School in Florida have entered each National Latin Exam test question and answer set from 1978 to 2010 into ACCESS, a Microsoft data-based program.  Ginny provides the following instructions to work with the files:

"Each level of tests has a file in which there is a Table containing all the questions, the 4 answer choices, the correct answer, and 3 sorting categories.   The sorting categories use numeric codes explained in the files named Codes for each level to separate the questions into grammar, cultural, mytholoicial subdivisions.  Each of these subdivisions has its own Query, named for its subject content or the year of the NLE.

Teachers can use this program in a number of ways:

  • Print old tests
  • Print selected questions on one topic for homework or class review
  • Project the questions (in the Table or Query fomat) on the screen for in-class review.
Level File
Introduction to Latin NLEIntroLatinOct2010.mdb
Latin I NLElevel_1Oct2010.mdb
Latin II NLElevel_2Oct2010.mdb
Latin III-IV Poetry NLE3_4poetryOct2010.mdb
Latin III-IV Prose NLE3 _4ProseOct2010.mdb

**MS Access is required to work with these files.

At Bolles, we use these files with our CPS Clicker system by einstruction.  We project one question at a time, allow the students to click in their answer, then show the answer to the class.  We review all of the answer choices and use the questions to review, test, and challenge the students in their preparations for the March exam. 
We have set the Queries to the margins, font sizes, and row heights that best suit our Clicker projection uses.  For printing purposes, these 3 things must be adjusted.   The font is set at 20, row height at 60 for the Queries.  The Tables are set at smaller font and row height.  The black outlines of the Tables or Queries can be removed or modified."