Having some experience in this particular topic (not to mention placing first in the state), I'd like to give those interested in Latin Derivatives a good idea of what they're getting into. When I chose to take Derivatives, I had no clue what it would be about at all. I just thought it'd be something easy I could study for by studying for Vocabulary. I was half-right.

If you are taking Latin Derivatives, I highly recommend you take Vocabulary along with it, because knowing your vocab is a huge part of it. And if you have to know it anyway, you might as well get credit/accolades for knowing it.

Now I'll be honest here, the Derivatives tests are not easy. A large portion of scoring well involves guessing well- that is, riddling out the answer because you won't always know it. Lucky for us, our rivals at other schools are guessing just as blindly, so you have the edge of not very much fierce competition. Let me put it this way- I got my first by scoring 27/50 on the States test (granted that's Advanced).

*If you have a great memory, more power to you, you'll probably be great at this. But for the rest of us, who can't memorize list upon list of English words and their derivatives, the one asset that is essential is critical thinking. Here are the questions to ask yourself: What makes sense? What looks, sounds, or simply feels right? What idea is involved in this word and what answer mirrors that idea?

*Some times you'll know the answer and stars will shine down upon your glory, other times you'll be completely at a loss. When that happens, break down the words to the best of your ability. My paper is always marked up with slashes where I cut prefixes off or took off the endings. This helps get to the root of the word, which is the part that English will be derived from.

*When nothing seems right, pick the weirdest one. This is not a fool-proof method, it's simply the best bet. Because who would ever think that 'balance' comes from the Latin word meaning 'dishes' anyway??

It's odd things like that in language that attract me to this topic. I like to see how words evolve and to make connections between information. I like being challenged to think critically. If these are qualities you possess, you have definitely come to the right place.

I know I'm rattling on ceaselessly, but suffer through one last piece of friendly advice:
*Don't worry- with the resources you're going to have at your fingertips, you'll be more prepared than I was when I started out. Derivatives is difficult, but not impossible. If you put the effort in, you'll find success at it. Trust me.