15 Tips for Studying Latin

I use Henle Latin in Classical Conversations.  I am only on my 9th week of studying Latin, but for those out there struggling with your list of Latin exercises this week, these are some tips I find helpful.  And don’t worry!  I need to work on some of these things myself!  I’m not an expert on this stuff, but I hope it helps!!

1. Study

Instead of just looking over your reading assignment, actually study it.  1) First, read the assigned section. 2)Next, write notes about the portion. 3) Write down questions you have to ask your teacher.  Try to understand what you are reading.  Ask your teacher (or another individual who knows Latin) if you do not understand something.  Try to dig into the chapter, and grasp what the author is explaining.

2. Review

Don’t just read the assigned chapter, and forget about it.  Read the section a few times that week.  Look over your notes from class, review vocabulary, review from the Grammar (the blue Henley Latin book), and occasionally review from the beginning of the book (even if you do this over a few days).

3. Do the Assignments

This one is simple: don’t slack.  If you do, it will hurt you in the end.  Even if you are getting away with it, and even if it isn’t hurting you now.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of a Challenge

If Latin gets hard, try to rise to the challenge.  It is supposed to be a challenge!  But if it is more than challenging, and totally stressing you out, then it might be time to call your mom over and see if you can cut down on the assignments.  But if you can rise to the challenge, give it a shot!  You and your parents know best how much you can handle, so talk with them to figure it out.

5. Back to the Basics

When we are little, we learn how to sing the alphabet.  Later on, we learn to read using our knowledge on “Our A, B, Cs” and keep building on that foundation.  Just like you can’t read without knowing the alphabet, you need the simple, foundational skills you learned at the beginning of your study of Latin.  Continue to work on your declensions, grammar rules and the other basic (but important!) parts of Latin.

6. “Practice Makes Perfect”

Sometimes what you really need is practice!  There is a reason that your Latin book makes you translate long lists of sentences.  Practice really helps!!!

7a. Check Your Answers

Listen to this tip!  It is super important!  Even if someone else has the answer book, and checks your answers, it will be extremely helpful to find out if you are getting your answers correct!  You might be making mistakes and not noticing them.  Once, I didn’t check my math answers for a few months.  I didn’t know how much I was getting wrong, and I always thought I had done well!  When I started checking my answers, I found I had not understood some concepts after all and was getting many problems wrong!  It is also good to check your answers pretty soon after you do the exercises.

Super Tip: Use a different color pen or pencil to correct your exercises, so the corrections stand out.

7b. Learn from Your Mistakes

After checking your answers, try to understand why you were wrong or right.  If you still can’t understand, ask your teacher.  You also might want to keep in mind that if you are making small mistakes, you might be not paying close attention or might be tired.  If you are making large mistakes, you might not understand a basic rule, and you should probably review that rule or ask your teacher for help.

8. Teach It

If you can teach the rule or explain your work, then you will know that you fully understand the concept/information. Talking about newly learned skills with someone can also help you keep the new information in your mind.  So grab a sibling, friend, or parent, and try to explain your Latin to them!

9. Know Your Vocabulary!

I have to work on this one a little more!  Know your vocabulary, and understand where the macrons are placed in the word.  It is important to have all your Latin words memorized.  Instead of making so many flashcards each week, I use an online Latin word quizzing site called Memrise.  It saves time and is free!!


10. Memorize the Latin Endings

You might have to use a laminated chart, write out the endings every day, or sing them to yourself.  But you need to memorize the Latin endings to learn the language!

11. Find Your “Latin Time”

I like working on harder subjects in the morning.  Latin is a harder subject for me, so I get it done before lunch.  I find that my concentration starts slowing down as the day progresses.  Find the time of day your brain can concentrate on Latin.  It might be in the afternoon for you!

12. Put Away the Devices

Believe it or not, those shining objects are very distracting!

13. Don’t Work On an Empty Stomach

I think this one is self-explanatory.

14. Take Breaks

You can work for 30 minutes and take a 15-minute break.  Find an amount of time that gives you the opportunity to finish exercises, but doesn’t wear you out.  Then take breaks to get refreshed.

15. Enjoy the Discovery

Latin is a wonderful language!  The more you do it, the easier it will get!  It’s like a puzzle, and you get to discover each and every piece of the language before putting the whole “puzzle” together!  What helps you with Latin?


4 thoughts on “15 Tips for Studying Latin”

  1. Rachel, this is excellent! I never studied Latin but maybe if I had, it would have been easier to learn Spanish! My son-in-law in North Carolina is a Latin teacher. I’m going to share your post with him!

    Liked by 1 person

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