What is the CLT?


Christopher Sebastian

Mother of Divine Grace School in Ojai, California, is an approved test site building for the CLT test. Stephanie Sebastian administrates the test to the students.

Gwynith Hayden, The Viewpoint Editor


The CLT, or the Classic Learning Test, is a new test that can be used both as a high school assessment and as a college entrance test. It is a new alternative to the SAT and ACT.  Mother of Divine Grace School recently accepted the CLT as an assessment.

Like the SAT and ACT, the CLT must be taken at a physical school building. The official CLT website offers services to help you to find a school near you.  The CLT also offers free online practice tests.  These tests provide a lot of feedback and are a great way to prep before taking the exam.

More and more colleges have been accepting the CLT as an entrance test. For a list of all the colleges that accept the CLT, visit the official CLT website by clicking here.

The CLT takes the classical approach to testing. For this reason, it is more in line with the education in Mother of Divine Grace:

The exam is accessible to students from any educational background that elevates the good, the true, and the beautiful. The ancient Greek philosophers stressed the same basic ideas about education that homeschool parents and classical school educators affirm today. How students learn to think, what they read, and how they live are all intricately connected. Many homeschooled students who have taken the exam have earned high scores.” – CLT FAQ

What do MODG Students have to say about the CLT?

I liked the CLT better than the other tests I’ve taken.  It was more intellectually stimulating and didn’t have any political agendas woven into it as I’ve seen on some other tests.” – Paul Milliken, Senior at MODG

“The CLT was difficult, but I found it interesting. It was more engaging than other tests I’ve taken, and I walked away feeling like I learned something.” – Emilia DeGroat, Junior at MODG

Overall, I liked the CLT.  It was more rigorous and less dumbed-down and politicized than the other tests I’ve taken.  My main complaint was that there was no essay. My other complaint was that you have to take the test on the computer, which is inconvenient but, on the bright side, this also means that you can get your scores back the day of the test, rather than waiting for a month or two.” – John Milliken, Senior at MODG

“I thought that the CLT was a good alternative for classical students, and I appreciate that I didn’t have to deal with the dizzying bubble format. Also, the CLT office was very accommodating, there was no one even close to my area taking the test, and no library willing to proctor it, so they let me take it with my neighbor as the proctor.” – Lia Clarity, Senior at MODG


How was it different compared to other tests (specifically the SAT or ACT)?

“I’ve also taken both pre-common core and post-common core PSAT’s, and a post-common core ACT, and the CLT was different in several respects.  The difference in the quality of the reading selections for the English sections was striking; the readings in the SAT and ACT are notoriously weird and political (like the one which consisted of the author insulting her deceased Catholic grandmother), while, on the CLT, I was reading C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, Winston Churchill, Leo Tolstoy, and Charles Dickens.” – John Milliken, Senior at MODG

“As I said before, it is much more difficult than the SAT or ACT. The CLT is computer-based (unlike the paper packets distributed by the SAT and ACT), and the test-taker can flip back and forth between sections – an action forbidden in other standardized exams.  There is also Christian references and implications, something one would never find in the SAT or ACT- tests that are clearly liberally-biased and ‘politically correct.’” – Emilia DeGroat, Junior at MODG

“Well, the CLT doesn’t have a science section, (but really the other tests don’t have one either, it’s mostly technical reading with a little bit of scientific knowledge required.) and you can’t have a calculator on the math section. I myself found the math on the CLT more difficult than the ACT, but that could just be me. The material used for the reading comprehension and English sections were, in my opinion, far superior than those used for the ACT.” – Lia Clarity, Senior at MODG

“The main differences are that the test is done on a computer, the reading selections are significantly better, and the math is harder.”  – Paul Milliken, Senior at MODG


Would you say the CLT is more in line with the classical education you have received from MODG?

“I think that the CLT is more in line with a MODG classical education. Just the fact that it’s more challenging is a plus, and it’s really nice to see some of the deep topics that you’ve been wrestling with in your classes – what is truth, what makes a good man, the proper role of the state, etc. – actually addressed, and by authors who you’ll be excited to see (I was thrilled to get to read a passage from The Wind in the Willows on my last CLT).” – John Milliken, Senior at MODG

“The CLT aligns with MODG teaching in several ways.  For one thing, the test questions are difficult in a good way, like much of the material that MODG uses.  Also, the fact that they keep anti-religious politicizing out of it, and instead operate from a more Christian worldview, is certainly in line with MODG.” – Paul Milliken, Senior at MODG

“The CLT is definitely more in line with the education I’ve received in MODG. The classical education has given me a great foundation in historical, political, and mathematical knowledge, as well as improved writing skills. The CLT is a challenge, but with the intellectually-stimulating, rigorous, and morally sound schooling MODG offers, I was able to rise to it; I’m certain that MODG students can take this test with no problem and excel.” – Emilia DeGroat, Junior at MODG

“I would definitely say that the CLT is more suited than the ACT towards the type of education that MODG students receive.” – Lia Clarity, Senior at MODG


Q&A with Jeremy Tate, President of the CLT


How do you determine what math book is in line with a classical education? For example, would you use algebraic or euclidean geometry?

The CLT is probably the least classical on that side; we look a lot like the SAT or ACT. The main difference is that the CLT includes a lot of logic questions that you wouldn’t see on the SAT or ACT. Another difference is that no calculators are allowed on the test.

Do you plan to add an essay in the future?

I think the idea would be to have students type an essay as part of the CLT. Rather than having the CLT grade it, we would be sending it as part of the test to the other colleges.  This is something that we would be interested in adding, as we want to give the students the opportunity to show off their writing abilities.

Do you plan on adding a paper test in the future?

Typically, we do the paper option with schools that don’t have the technology to take the test online. We also give the option of a paper test to students with learning disabilities. There are also families who have reached out and expressed the desire for a paper option, and we make it available to them as well.

Most people seem to prefer the online tests to paper tests. Students in particular appreciate the same-day results.

Another benefit to the online website is the free practice test. Students can go to the CLT website and take the practice test. The practice test is also scored immediately, and it has both answers and explanations for each problem.

If you want to take the practice test, be sure to create an account before you take it. Otherwise you won’t be able to get your results!