Private Latin tutoring in London and online

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Joe — our featured Latin tutor in London

Joe studied Classics at King's College, Cambridge, graduating in 2009. He then completed his PGCE (teacher training) at Queens' College, Cambridge in 2010, before teaching Latin part-time in three different schools.


He has been a private Latin tutor since 2009, and has now clocked up thousands of hours' experience. He has taught Latin extensively for 13+ Common Entrance, 13+ Scholarship, GCSE, AS, A2, Pre-U, SAT, Oxbridge entrance exams, university exams, and adults learning just for fun (amongst other tutoring briefs). He also has seven years’ experience as a Cambridge University supervisor, teaching the ancient languages to undergraduates at a wide variety of colleges.

Top tips for survival in GCSE Latin and A Level Latin

by Joe


•    Avoid spending time learning words you already know. Resist this temptation by typing out a list containing only the words you don’t know. To do this, get a friend or parent to test you on the whole list and to asterisk the words you got wrong. You can write them out instead of typing them out, but the advantage of typing is the magic ‘Save As’ button: you can create different versions of your list as time goes on. Hopefully you’ll see the size of the list decreasing with each new version.

•    Don’t just learn one meaning of the word. This can trip you up later. Think of the sentence “in insula habitabam”: this can mean “I used to live in an island” and also “I used to live in a block of flats”: those are quite different! Context in a translation usually helps, but if you don’t know the choices you’re more likely to get it wrong. Even synonyms that seem closely connected are still worth learning (e.g. “plan, idea, advice” for “consilium”).

•    Learn the associated grammatical information of words — not just the meaning. For example, don’t just learn that “rex” means “king”: learn the genitive (regis) and the gender (masculine). Don’t just learn that “pello” means “I drive”: learn the principal parts (pello, pellere, pepuli, pulsus). Otherwise, how are you going to work out that “pepuli” comes from “pello” when you see it in a translation? You might just think it’s a different word you haven’t learned, or be completely flummoxed.


Set Texts

Don’t just learn the English like a parrot. Your friends might be doing it — some teachers may even suggest it — but that doesn’t mean it’s the best way to do it! If you don’t have a clue how the English connects to the Latin, how are you going to be absolutely certain that you’re translating the right bit on the day, when the examiners pick a chunk at random? And what happens if you just miss out a phrase or even sentence because you completely forgot about it? That’s a whole chunk of marks, and you won’t realise when you check your work because you won’t be able to use the Latin to see what you’ve missed out. But there’s some good news: you don’t have to understand the workings of the Latin precisely (this is real Latin; particularly at GCSE, you’ll find it much more complicated than the standard of your unseen translations). As long as you know enough of the vocab, this can act as a prompt to jog your memory towards the right bit of the English. You don’t even need to know every single word of vocab: just one or two words per sentence which aren’t on your set vocab list should be enough to piece the whole sentence together, assuming you know the English very well. So yes, you still need to learn the English ‘semi’ by rote, but there’s less pressure to know it completely by heart, and I’ll wager that you find it easier to learn in the first place if you learn it alongside the Latin.


Learning tables by rote is helpful — but only if you know how to apply that knowledge. It’s hard to score top marks in Latin without knowing all the endings by heart (bellum, bellum, bellum, belli, bello, bello, etc.). But if you don’t think about how you’re going to use those endings when you translate, it’s a waste of time. That doesn’t mean you should forget about the tables! It means you need to learn (for nouns, like bellum) the order of ‘nominative, vocative, accusative, etc.’, what they mean (subject, addressing someone, object, etc.), and how this affects the translation. In the case of verbs, it’s no good knowing the principal parts “pello, pellere, pepuli, pulsus” without knowing that you’ve learned the present, infinitive, perfect and PPP, and that these translate “I drive, to drive, I drove, having been driven”. Then when you see ‘bellorum’ you’ll know it translates “of the wars”; when you see “pulsus” you’ll know it translates “having been driven”, etc. Endings are FAB, but only when you actually apply them appropriately to your translations.


We offer Latin tutoring at a wide variety of levels, from young learners (7+, 11+, 13+, etc.) to older learners (GCSE, IGCSE, A Level, IB, Pre-U, etc.) and even to adult learners (those doing undergraduates or Masters courses, or learning just for fun).

Our qualified Latin tutors have been hand-picked by teaching experts (our longest-standing, most successful tutors, some of whom are PGCE qualified teachers) in our thorough selection process.

We offer five varied Latin tuition rates to suit all budgets, with prices depending on the tutors' qualifications and their total number of hours of private tuition or classroom teaching experience. 


Disturbed by Declensions? Gobsmacked by Grammar? Had it with Horace? Let us find you a Latin tutor to inspire you and get you back on track! Contact us today.