Early Tests – A Look at the PreACT, PSAT, and CLT8&10

A Guest Post by Katherine O’Brien of Celtic College Consultants

CLT8 & 10
The CLT8 is designed for 7th and 8th grade students and evaluates elementary mathematical, grammatical, and logical reasoning.  It shares the same format at the CLT and CLT10, which helps students become familiar with the style of these tests.  It is currently offered in March and May.  Some high schools use it as an entrance exam. The exam takes two hours and tests for grammar, literary comprehension, and mathematical and logical reasoning. Students take the CLT8 on school or home computers, and receive their scores the same day.

The CLT10 is an alternative to the PSAT10 and the ACT Aspire and is designed for freshmen and sophomores.  It is preparation for the CLT exam.  There is not trigonometry included on the CLT10.  The questions of the highest difficulty level are also not included on the CLT10.  Students who score in the top 1% are eligible for a $2,500 scholarship through the National Association of Scholars. Register here: https://www.cltexam.com/register/clt10  It is currently offered in February and April.


PSAT tests
All of the PSAT tests are only offered at and through institutional schools.  Homeschooling families must contact formal schools to arrange for your child(ren) to take the test on that campus.


The PSAT8/9 is a version of the PSAT for 8th and 9th graders.  The material covered is scaled down to the appropriate academic level for them.  This test familiarizes students with the PSAT/SAT style of test.  It is common Core aligned, like all of the PSAT/SAT related tests.  Like the PSAT10 and NMSQT, it includes a reading test, a writing and language test, and a math test.  While the PSAT8/9 is typically given in early spring, the date of this test is set by the school and can range from September to April.

PSAT 10 is the same test as the PSAT/NMSQT but is taken during October of the sophomore year.  It provides students the opportunity to take the PSAT and learn how their score stacks up in relation to other students across the country.  This score is also extremely helpful during the college list building and scholarship search processes.  Lastly, for many students, the sophomore PSAT score is a strong motivator for them to work at improving their scores during the junior year.


PSAT/NMSQT is taken in mid-October of the junior year and serves as the national merit scholarship program’s qualifying test.  The top 1% of students in each state will be semi-finalists. The PSAT is a Common Core aligned test which includes a reading test, a writing and language test, and a math test.  There is no penalty for wrong answers so skipping questions is not advised.  There is a practice test available on the CollegeBoard.org site.  The student search service has an opt-in question on the PSAT registration page.  Information about the various affiliated scholarship programs is available on the College Board website.            

The 50,000 top scorers are acknowledged.  34,000 will be commended scholars, while 16,000 of the 1.6M students who take the test will be named National Merit Semi-Finalists. These students will be invited to apply to compete for National Merit Scholarships. In February of their senior year, 15,000 of them will be named National Merit Finalists.  In March, 7,600 of them will be named winners of National Merit $2,500 scholarships, corporate sponsored scholarships, or college sponsored scholarships. An additional 1,100 students will be special scholarship recipients.  They will be notified in March of their senior year.


Pre-ACT
The PreACT8/9 is a shortened version of the ACT.  It is now scored on a 1-36 scale and provides 8th and 9th grade students a short practice for the ACT. It also gives students some idea how they scored in relation to students across the country, thus pinpointing strengths and weaknesses in their academic program so far as well as feedback regarding how their grades correlate with their scores.


The PreACT is taken by sophomores and provides students the opportunity to take a shortened ACT and learn how their score stacks up in relation to other students across the country.  This score (1-36) is also extremely helpful during the college list building and scholarship search processes.  Lastly, for many students, the sophomore Pre-ACT score is a strong motivator for them to work at improving their scores during the junior year.  It can be administered on any date between September 1 and June 1 and is only offered through institutional schools.  Students also receive a personalized view of college and career possibilities based on their answers to the ACT interest inventory.

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Author: Katherine O'Brien

Katherine O'Brien, founder of Celtic College Consultants and a Catholic homeschooling veteran, is happy to provide discounted private consultations to all families with 8th - 11th graders. She'll answer your questions, provide the information you need about your financial aid eligibility, make suggestions about changes you can make to improve your situation before the critical first financial aid base year for college (which is sophomore year in high school), as well as offer numerous strategies to significantly lower your college costs. For more information, please visit CelticCollegeConsultants.com . Let her know you are part of the Today's Catholic Homeschooling family!