Test Without Stress

By Taryn Murphy

Exams can be intimidating, which is why you study. But how do you study for the CLT?

We’ve tried to avoid becoming part of the “test prep industry” at CLT. Hundreds of hours spent up too late reviewing notes and memorizing answer strategies don’t sound like a way to reduce anxiety to us, and they certainly don’t sound like a way to encourage the love of learning! (They do sound like a way to get a huge crop of worried students and worried parents who are eager to spend money on test prep materials that seem reassuring—but somehow that feels a little off-topic.) Still, it’s a test. We wouldn’t ask you to just go in cold; there must be some way to prepare—right?

Absolutely! The materials and outlook of the test prep industry may be ill-suited to the CLT, but the basic desire to be prepared is a sound one. As a matter of fact, it’s a form of the virtue of prudence, so it fits right into our mission of reconnecting knowledge and virtue.

There are a number of resources we offer, like practice tests and the student guide, that you may find helpful; these will help familiarize you with the format so you can be more comfortable and confident while taking the exam. We also have a number of pointers on our FAQ page. Beyond these, we can give you some practical tips.

The Night Before

  • Double-check your schedule, especially if you have any other major events the next day. Make sure you’re going into the exam well-rested—don’t get up extra early just for its own sake!—and try to avoid setting yourself up for a rushed or confusing morning.
  • Double-check your testing supplies and (if you’re taking the remotely-proctored version) the room you’ll be using; a clear desk, a comfortable chair, adequate lighting, and a full water bottle will do more for you than you might think. It wouldn’t hurt to go over the test day requirements on your CLT student account, either.
  • Double-check the browser you plan to use, as well as your internet connection. Chrome and Firefox are the browsers we recommend; if you don’t have either one, you can download them for free. As for your internet connection, it’s ideal to have one that runs at a minimum of 2 Mbps—you can check this at speedtest.net. If you find that your speed is low or shaky, see if there’s anything you can do to improve it, like moving your laptop somewhere closer to the modem. (In the rare event that you can’t seem to improve your connection, consider setting up a backup location—e.g. a neighbor’s or relative’s house, the local public library, etc.)

The Morning Of

  • Dress for success! Even if you’re taking the CLT remotely, this is an academic event, so dress the way you would for school. Not only is this a courteous gesture to the exam review staff, it can help you feel more prepared, focused, and positive.
  • If you run into a problem during the test, follow the famous advice from the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: DON’T PANIC! Often enough, problems during this or any test are just our brains playing tricks on us due to nerves; take a nice deep breath and look at the problem again—you might see what to do as simply as that.
  • If a deep breath doesn’t do the trick, that’s what our live chat support is there for—just click on the speech bubble icon (usually located on the lower right of your screen). And remember: you will always receive compensatory time on the CLT to make up for time spent getting help.

Why is a raven like a writing desk?
Because both can produce a few notes, tho' they are very flat; and because both are nevar put with the wrong end in front.


Taryn Murphy is an alumna of Hillsdale College with a degree in philosophy and religion, and CLT’s Director of Marketing. Besides her treasured work in education, Miss Murphy has an ongoing Instagram where she chronicles her travels (and the coffees she enjoys on them), and published a collection of poetry in 2019.

Thanks for reading the Journal! Be sure to check out our ongoing series on the great ideas and the CLT Author Bank, and to tune in to Anchored, hosted by our founder, Jeremy Tate.

Published on 21st March, 2023.

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