Duke TIP

EXPLORE® Testing through Duke TIP FAQs

What is EXPLORE®?

Registration

Test Preparation

Test Day

Scores

What is EXPLORE®?

How can my child benefit from above-level EXPLORE testing?

Grade-level achievement tests may identify academically talented students, but may not determine the degree of their ability. Taking an above-level test offers an opportunity to challenge these students and may help parents and educators assess a student’s academic abilities to determine if the child is receiving appropriate academic challenges in their current curriculum.

Is my child required to register for EXPLORE?

No. Program benefits are available to all 4th-6th grade Talent Search participants whether or not they take EXPLORE. Parents should consider their student’s emotional and academic readiness for this challenging exam before they register.

How do I determine if my child is ready for above-level testing?

Parents have unique and important insights concerning their child. Academic and emotional readiness should be considered prior to test registration. When approached thoughtfully, above-level testing may be academically appropriate when your student:

  • scores at the top of the range on grade-level assessments;
  • consistently makes excellent grades without noticeable study or apparent effort;
  • demonstrates high ability in regular testing, but does not receive high grades in the classroom;
  • is interested in learning more about the nature of his or her academic strengths.

Please consider your child’s testing readiness prior to registration as refunds will not be made after the application is transmitted to ACT EXPLORE.

Who is invited to participate in and how do I register my child for EXPLORE testing?

All students currently participating in the Duke TIP 4th-6th Grade Talent Search may register for EXPLORE testing when registration opens in early September. Test registration may be completed online or by paper application. Beginning October 1, new enrollees will have the opportunity to simultaneously enroll for the talent search and register for EXPLORE. Registration for the optional above-level EXPLORE test requires an additional fee.

Students enrolling with a paper application may complete the optional EXPLORE registration simultaneously. The paper EXPLORE registration application is available at tip.duke.edu/explore. After the paper application is processed, a 10-digit Duke TIP identification number will be assigned. Registrants requesting a fee waiver or non-Saturday testing must complete a paper enrollment form and provide required documentation.

Registration

How do I request a fee waiver for EXPLORE testing?

Duke TIP provides a limited number of fee waivers for EXPLORE testing. Participants requesting a waiver must qualify for the federal free or reduced school lunch program, or must meet federal poverty guidelines. Students must provide a letter from the school documenting their qualification for the program or obtain a letter from the agency that approved their lunch program status. Waivers may be awarded to enrolling students who submit an enrollment form and a paper EXPLORE registration form with appropriate documentation as long as the waivers are still available. Current participants need only to provide an EXPLORE registration form and documentation verifying qualification from the school. A paper registration form may be downloaded and printed from the EXPLORE webpage at or may be requested by emailing explore@tip.duke.edu.

What do I do if my child requires special testing accommodations?

You may view the documentation requirements for special accommodations at www.tip.duke.edu/explore. You must first register your child for the test through Duke TIP and then return the completed accommodations form directly to ACT at the address directed. Accommodations are subject to ACT approval. Call Duke TIP at (919) 668-9100 or ACT at (319) 337-1369 for more information.

Why should I select more than one test site?

EXPLORE applications are not processed in real time, but are transmitted weekly in batches to ACT. If your first site choice has reached capacity when your application is processed, ACT will make every effort to assign you to your second site choice. If both sites are at capacity, ACT will assign you to the next closest site. Early registration is encouraged to secure your preferred site assignment. A complete list of 2015 test center locations can be accessed here: http://www.act.org/explore/ests/centers.html.

There is not a test site near our home; what does Duke TIP recommend?

Duke TIP and ACT work to establish test centers in areas that have high program participation with enough testers to warrant the establishment of a testing site. We depend upon the willingness of school personnel to support site availability. Consider encouraging your school to become a testing site. Interested schools may call Duke TIP at (919) 668-9100 or email explore@tip.duke.edu.

Is there testing available on days other than Saturday?

A Sunday test date is offered in January for students who cannot test on Saturday because of religious reasons. A paper registration form and clergy documentation is required. ACT does not make exceptions for family, sporting or school schedule conflicts.

Is the EXPLORE test offered online?

No. The ACT EXPLORE is a proctored exam that must be taken at a testing site specifically designated for talent search participants.

If I do not live in Duke TIP's geographic region, can my child still take the EXPLORE test? What if I live outside the United States?

Other talent search programs may offer EXPLORE testing in their region. Duke TIP will provide a full listing of available EXPLORE testing sites in the United States on the website beginning in mid-August. Sites may be added after registration begins. Call or email Duke TIP with specific questions related to site availability.

Duke TIP and ACT currently do not support EXPLORE testing for talent search participants outside of the United States.

Can I change my test site or test date after registration?

Changes to the original EXPLORE registration may be made through Duke TIP if the registration has not been submitted to ACT. If the file has been transmitted, you must call ACT at (319) 337-1369. Changes made through ACT may incur a change fee and are subject to change deadlines.

What happens after EXPLORE registration?

  • Within 48 hours after online registration, the student receives an email from Duke TIP verifying registration. Included in the email is helpful testing information.
  • A second email will verify that payment was accepted. If you do not receive these confirmation emails, your registration has not been processed and you need to contact Duke TIP at (919) 668-9100.
  • Four weeks after the application is transmitted to ACT, your child will receive a confirmation of test date and test site assignment. Review the date and site assignment upon receipt. Contact Duke TIP if there is an error.
  • Two weeks prior to the testing date, your child will receive an admission ticket and booklet with tips for testing and sample questions. Testing information is also available at tip.duke.edu/explore. If your student has not received the admission ticket by the Monday prior to testing, please call ACT to verify the test assignment.
  • Six weeks after testing your child will receive an official score report from ACT. If your student has not received the score report by the end of the eighth week after testing, call ACT at (319) 337-1369.

Test Preparation

 Is the exam taken by my child an easier version of the test?

No. It is the same version with the same four subject areas(English, math, reading, and science).All questions are appropriate to eighth grade cognitive and academic development. All talent search students take the same test regardless of grade level.Because EXPLORE is intended for eighth grade students, students in grades four, five, and six should expect it to be challenging.

Does Duke TIP provide study materials for EXPLORE?

ACT EXPLORE will provide Getting Ready for EXPLORE, a booklet with sample test questions in each subject area. This booklet is sent when the admission ticket is mailed to your child. It is also available on our website.

Additional sample questions may be found through various Internet sites and study guides may be purchased through retail and online book stores. Duke TIP does not endorse formal test preparation courses for EXPLORE. Excessive preparation for the exam may not allow time for the brain make critical connections in concepts and resulting test scores may not provide an accurate measure of your child’s academic abilities.

Test Day

Does my child need identification to be accepted at the testing site?

No. An ACT EXPLORE testing ticket is sent to testing participants two weeks prior to testing. Review the test site and date upon receipt. If the testing ticket is misplaced or not received call ACT (319) 337-1369) to verify testing site and date assignment.

What do I do if my child's testing ticket has been misplaced or if we don't receive it before the scheduled exam?

If you discover the ticket has been misplaced, call ACT at (319) 337-1369. Indicate that your child is testing through Duke TIP and that you need to verify the test site and test date. If you experience a problem at the testing center, ask the testing supervisor to call ACT to confirm your child's test date and location.

What should I do if my child is ill the morning of the scheduled exam?

If you feel the illness may be contagious, affect your child’s ability to concentrate, or distract other testers; please keep your child home. If the test date is in November or January, you may call ACT during the week following testing to confirm seat availability for another test date. ACT will charge a change fee. If the student falls ill prior to a February test date, no additional test date will be available. ACT and Duke TIP will not refund or carry forward any testing fees for missed testing due to illness or schedule conflicts.

What should my child expect on test day?

  • Students should arrive at the testing site by 8 a.m. to provide ample time for sign-in, and emotional preparation.  
  • Students will be asked to present an admission ticket with the emergency contact information completed.
  • School personnel will check individual calculators to ensure that they are in working order and meet ACT guidelines.
  • Students are then directed to the testing room to assigned seats.
  • The test will begin as soon after 8:30 a.m. as all students who were on-site by 8:30 are checked in. Centers with larger capacity may require additional time for check-in. A student arriving after 8:30 a.m. will not be admitted if testing instructions have already begun.
  • Specific information related to benefit of answering all test questions is provided on the back side of the testing booklet. The room supervisor will refer to this in the testing instructions.
  • All instructions are read word-for-word from the supervisor’s manual to insure uniform information for testers.
  • During testing, the only time prompt that testers are given is a “five minutes remaining” reminder for each section. There may not be a wall clock, so a watch may be helpful. Cell phones may not be used to check the time.
  • There is a short break between tests two and three. Students may bring a snack and a drink for this break.
  • Some schools have a “no peanut products” policy.  Please leave snacks with peanuts at home.

    May parents remain at the testing site during the test administration?

    Most testing centers do not have sufficient staff available to provide a parent waiting area within the building. Parents and siblings cannot remain in the hallways or areas near the testing rooms. Many sites will lock the main door when testing begins to avoid interruptions and provide security for testers. Please cooperate with directions provided by testing personnel. Parents are expected to enter the building when testing is finished to identify their student.

    Can my child take the EXPLORE test more than once in a single school year?

    No. Testing is limited to once each school year.


    What do I do if inclement weather causes my testing site to be closed?

    Individual centers have the responsibility to contact local media when a testing center closes due to inclement weather. Be aware that schools must wait until the school district or university administration makes a closure determination. This may happen late on the day prior to testing. To protect your child, individual sites do not have personal contact information for testers and can not contact anyone. Testers are encouraged to call ACT at (319) 337-1369 or check their inclement weather page the day prior to testing for the latest site closure information. You may also view closure and rescheduled test date information at www.act.org/explore/ests/resched.html.

    Testers are not encouraged to travel long distances for testing because test center closure information may not be available before they leave home.

    Scores

    When are EXPLORE scores mailed?

    ACT mails EXPLORE score reports to testers six weeks after testing. If you have not received the report by the beginning of the eighth week, call ACT at (319) 337-1369.  If your address changes prior to mailing of the report, call ACT directly to make a change and also notify Duke TIP at explore@tip.duke.edu so your child’s file can be updated. Note that the U.S. Postal Service will not forward the score report.

    Who sees my child’s test scores?

    Score reports are mailed directly to the student from ACT. Schools do not receive score information unless a parent makes the decision to share it. Duke TIP does not automatically send an EXPLORE participation list to schools; however, we will provide a participation list to schools requesting it. Duke TIP retains a copy of the numerical scores for statistical purposes and to provide score information to students who have lost their original copy.

    How do I determine how my child’s scores compare with other Duke TIP testers?

    An online comparison chart is available as part of the EXPLORE Results Summary, which will be posted at www.tip.duke.edu/explore after May 1.

    What do I do with the testing information?

    If you feel your child’s EXPLORE scores indicate that he or she may need more challenging coursework, please contact your school counselor. A copy of your child’s score report the EXPLORE Results Summary may be helpful.

    When will I know if my child qualifies for EXPLORE honors and will be invited to a Duke TIP recognition ceremony in our state?

    Invitations are sent to EXPLORE honorees in mid-April.  If your student’s composite score is in the 99th percentile or higher and you have not received an invitation by April 20, call Duke TIP.