Duke TIP


Duke TIP does not recommend one test over the other. The ACT and SAT are both accepted tools for the above-level testing experience, so we recommend that the decision be made on a student-by-student basis. Educators and parents should consider the following factors when selecting a test:


Students should select only one test and one test date.

Test Dates
December 5, 2015
December 12, 2015
January 23, 2016
February 6, 2016

If you complete your enrollment and find that you need to make a change to your test date or test center, call us at (919) 668-9100 as soon as possible. If your information was already transmitted to ACT or SAT, changes must be made directly through the appropriate testing organization. ACT and SAT charge an additional fee for these changes. Students who require special accommodations or those who need non-Saturday testing for religious reasons should review rules regarding exceptions to standard testing.

Test Center Locations

Consider which test center is the most convenient. In addition to the first test center location, Duke TIP suggests selecting a second test center location. If your first test center is full, you will be assigned your second test center choice. If both test centers are full, the testing agency will assign you a center.

Locate a test center to enter on the 7th Grade Talent Search enrollment form by using the drop-down below: 

Select a State:

Test Content

Both the ACT and SAT measure what a student has learned and are valuable tools used by colleges in the undergraduate admissions process. While the length of each test is listed below, this time represents only the actual testing and does not include time for the check-in process that morning, instructions from test administrators, questions from students, and breaks between test sections.

ACT (no Writing*) SAT
3 to 3.5 hours long 3.75 hours long
4 sections—English, Mathematics, Reading, Science 3 sections—Critical Reading, Mathematics, Writing (includes essay)
36 possible points on each section 800 possible points on each section





*Participants are not required to take the ACT Writing test; however, after talent search enrollment is processed, students will receive information on how to add the optional Writing test. This is arranged directly with ACT and there is an additional charge of $17.00 payable to ACT.

Student Preference

Some students will want to take the test they are likely to take in high school. Others may choose to test with friends. At this age, both tests offer the same appropriate above-level testing experience and serve to raise the bar and provide information about the student's academic abilities.

The Redesigned SAT (rSAT)

The College Board is launching a redesigned SAT starting with the 2016 March administration. For consistency in scores and subsequent qualification for Duke TIP programs, recognition, and opportunities, Duke TIP will register talent search students—who want to take the SAT—for the December 2015 and January 2016 SAT only.

Taking the current SAT is still an excellent above-grade level testing experience and students will still receive valuable feedback on their academic abilities. In addition, scores from the December and January SAT will also allow students with qualifying scores to receive recognition or apply in time to our Summer Studies or eStudies programs.

Those testing in March will not receive their scores in time to be invited to a recognition ceremony or to apply to summer or eStudies program this year because the scores will be delayed until May for the March administration.

How Students Should Prepare for the Test

Duke TIP does not recommend that students take part in excessive test preparation. Talent search testing is diagnostic in nature and unnecessary anxiety is often the only obvious result of some preparation programs. The ACT and SAT tests do not have a pass or fail component, and along with other academic indicators such as grades, they can provide additional information for parents to evaluate. It is sufficient to be familiar with the structure of the test, timing of each section, recommended guessing strategies, and to complete the practice test provided by us.