The CLT: A New SAT and ACT Alternative

By Julia Bauer
Standardized test

Standardized testing is often an alphabet soup — ELA, FSA, EOC, you name it. But the most infamous standardized tests are the SAT and ACT college entrance exams. However, there is a new test that is establishing itself as a member of the standardized testing alphabet soup: the CLT.

In September, Florida’s state university system officially approved the CLT as an alternative college entrance exam to the SAT and ACT, according to the New York Times.

But what exactly is the CLT, and what does this mean for your child?

What is the CLT?

CLT stands for Classic Learning Test. According to the CLT website, this exam emphasizes “critical thinking and problem- solving” and provides “a reliable and comprehensive assessment of a student’s aptitude and achievement.”

Essentially, it focuses on “testing the basics of a ‘classical education,’ namely logic, reasoning, and reading,” according to PrepScholar.

What Does it Cover?

The CLT is a two-hour test that is broken into three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Grammar/Writing and Qualitative Reasoning, according to the CLT website. Test scores range from 0 to 120, and each section is worth 40 points.

The Verbal Reasoning section is 40 minutes, and tests reading comprehension and analysis. This section uses classical literature passages, according to PrepScholar.

The Grammar/Writing section is 35 minutes. This section tests the skills needed to edit and improve a section of text.

As noted by PrepScholar, the Qualitative Reasoning section is 45 minutes, and this tests logical and mathematical skills. This section relies on logical thinking rather than mathematical calculation because this section does not require a calculator.

Should my Child Take it?

Whether or not your child should take the CLT ultimately depends on the type of test taker they are. As with the SAT or ACT, some people love it, while other people hate it. However, looking at how the CLT compares to the other college entrance exams can help you and your child decide if the CLT would suit them.

Unlike the SAT or ACT, the CLT is available to take online with remote proctoring, according to the CLT website. Also, there are CLT-specific academic scholarships associated with “small, private, and liberal arts colleges,” according to PrepScholar.

Another difference is that the CLT is shorter than the SAT and ACT, which are both three hours long, according to PrepScholar. Additionally, its content on the is different from the other college entrance exams because the reading section uses classical literature, and the math section includes more logic-based questions than the SAT or ACT.

However, the College Board reported that “CLT has not published evidence of validity or predictiveness of college performance,” while “the SAT is a proven, valid predictor of college performance, based on years of published and accessible research and data.” It was also reported that “the CLT and SAT do not test math at the same grade level,” and the College Board “found that 25% of questions were below high school grade level.”

It is important to remember that the CLT is still new, and Florida is the first state to approve these scores as an alternative to SAT or ACT scores at all public universities. Therefore, where your child wants to go to college is an important factor to consider.

You can learn more about the test at

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