National Hellenic Civilization

National Hellenic Civilization Exam | NHCE

The National Hellenic Civilization Exam (NHCE) is designed to test a student's knowledge of ancient Greek society. 

Important: For the 2022 exam, as the first year of the NHCE, all the easy and medium questions will come directly from the study guide.

The exam details can be found below. For further details see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Exam Overview

  • This is a test on the history and culture of the ancient Greeks from the Minoan period (c. 2000 BC) to the death of Alexander the Great with a focus on the Hellenic period (776 BC-323 BC)
  • 50 questions (45 minutes)
  • Multiple Choice (4 choices)

Question breakdown:

  • Hellenic history: 2 questions on pre-Hellenic civilization (Minoans, Mycenaeans), 24 Hellenic History 
  • Greek literature: 11 questions
  • Greek alphabet: 3 questions
  • Greek life: 10 questions no more than two questions per topic of:
    • clothing; living arrangement; food & meals; Greek theatre; religion; holidays and festivals; political and public career; roads; military; baths; geography; travel & communication.
  • This exam is generally meant for grades 6-12, but students of any grade level are allowed to participate.
  • Awards will be divided into three levels, Novice (grades 8 and below), Intermediate (9 & 10) and Advanced (11 & 12).

Exam Procedures

  • will e-mail the teacher with exam instructions, usernames, and passwords the day before the exam window opens. A second email will follow with additional "day of" instructions and the "secret word."
  • The instructions are very thorough, containing information on how to add students to the exam the day of, how to add extra attempts in case of technical errors, etc. 
  • All students from a school should take the exam at the same time (unless prior approval is given).
  • Any school administrator, counselor, or sponsoring teacher may proctor the exam.
  • Results and awards will be distributed later in the school year.

Study Guides and Sources

Study Guide: Word and PDF

N.B. Items listed as TMRC are available from the Teaching Materials and Resource Center of The American Classical League, Oxford, OH 45056 (

  • A Handbook to Life in Ancient Greece by Adkins and Adkins (ISBN) (TMRC)
  • History of Greece to the Death of Alexander the Great by J.B. Bury (ISBN) (TMRC)
  • Ancient Greece From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Time by Thomas R. Martin (ISBN) (TMRC)
  • Ancient Greece: A Political, Social, Cultural History by Sarah B. Pomerey, Stanley M. Burnstein, Walter Donlan, and Jennifer Tolbert Roberts (ISBN) (TMRC)

For more information or for questions about this exam, please e-mail