Duke TIP

Choosing: ACT or SAT

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. Coordinators and parents should consider the following four factors:


Students should select only one test and one test date

Test Dates
December 6, 2014
December 13, 2014
January 24, 2015
February 7, 2015
If you complete your enrollment and find that you need to make a change to your test date or test center, call Duke TIP at (919) 668-9100. 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 $16.50 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.