The ACT and the SAT – Now There’s the CLT


There’s always been a standing question with high school students whether to take the SAT, the ACT or both.  Now there is a third standardized test available, the Classic Learning Test or CLT

The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what a student has learned in school. The SAT is more of an aptitude test, testing reasoning and verbal abilities.

The CLT, developed in 2015, was introduced to provide an alternative to the SAT and ACT.  As of 2018, the test was used by 140 colleges across the United States and a number of universities in Canada.

Scored out of 120 rather than 1600 (SAT) or 36 (ACT), the CLT allows 120 minutes to complete the test. The test does not focus on the Common Core standards that the SAT and ACT are based on, instead focusing on western teachings by notable thinkers in western history, the Great Books.  It doesn’t follow the common core standards so the CLT may provide an alternative to students who are home-schooled or attend other alternate forms of education.

Stuart Nacbar, a writer with EducationQuest, provides the following insight:

“I took a look at the read-only practice test. The readings are based on classical works within the Great Books. It appeared to be more demanding than anything I have seen on a sample ACT or SAT. Then again, the Great Books were not a part of my college education, let alone high school. Students who have learned these works within their education, and are patient readers, will likely fare better than I would. The math section of this test appeared doable, provided that Trigonometry was already part of your math education.

There are other significant differences between the Classic Learning Test and the two standardized tests most commonly used in college admissions.

The Classic Learning Test is given at test centers, but is entirely online. One has to hope that there are no Internet problems at the test site.

The Classic Learning Test should take two hours to finish versus nearly three hours for the ACT and SAT.

You know your score as soon as you formally save your answers.

The scoring for the Classic Learning Test has a high number of 120, equal to the number of questions on the test. To date the highest score any test taker has attained is a 118.”

To read the Stuart’s entire blog: (


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