ACT, SAT, and PSAT 8/9

girl in classroom
A scene from Duke TIP's 2018 CRISIS program.

Once your student joins Duke TIP, you’ll have the opportunity to register them for a variety of above-grade-level tests. For students who routinely score at the top of their grade-level tests, taking an above-grade-level test is a great way for their families and educators to understand just how far above grade level their abilities take them. 

Above-grade-level testing is an important part of Duke TIP. Results from these tests can be used to determine what kinds of advanced learning opportunities students need. Taking an above-grade-level test at a young age is meant to be a no-pressure experience—though, in most cases, it won’t be easy. And that’s okay. It’s meant to be a diagnostic tool. Educators can use the test results to determine a student’s needed level of instruction while parents can use the results to advocate for appropriate educational options for their children. In addition, some of Duke TIP’s educational programs for students in grades 7–10 require a minimum ACT or SAT score. 

4th–6th graders can register for PSAT 8/9 test dates starting October 1.

7th–8th graders can register for SAT test dates starting November 2.

7th–9th graders can register for ACT test dates starting November 2. 

TIP families can manage test registrations and other testing details at My TIP


4th, 5th, and 6th graders can take the PSAT 8/9, a test designed for—you guessed it!—eighth and ninth graders.

Registering for the PSAT 8/9 is $45. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch at their school, or who receive other similar financial assistance listed in the Cost and Financial Assistance section, receive 50 percent off their first test.


7th and 8th graders can take the ACT or SAT. 9th graders can take the ACT, but not the SAT. These are the very same exams that high school students take before applying to college. However, this is a very low-stakes way to take these tests since neither testing agency will share scores with colleges unless you give them special permission to do so.

Registering for the ACT is $60. Registering for the SAT is $57. Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, or who receive other similar financial assistance, receive one free ACT or SAT registration. 


Why take an above-grade-level test? Think of it this way: 

A test is a measuring stick for academic achievement. Students who continually ace grade-level tests are proving that their abilities go beyond those tests’ measurements. It’s like measuring a six-foot-tall person with a five-foot-long measuring tape. 

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Above-grade-level tests have a higher ceiling, which means they can provide a meaningful measurement for many academically talented students. Taking these tests early can provide crucial insight into a student’s strengths and abilities. 

With more precise information, educators and parents can create better educational plans for gifted students in middle school, high school, and beyond. 

Special Notice

To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, test centers will have limited capacity in the fall of 2020 and will have to prioritize testing for college-bound high school students. Duke TIP students will have the opportunity to take the PSAT 8/9, ACT, and SAT beginning in the winter and spring of 2021.

  • 4th–6th graders can register for PSAT 8/9 test dates starting October 1.
  • 7th–8th graders can register for SAT test dates starting November 2.
  • 7th–9th graders can register for ACT test dates starting November 2.   

Some of Duke TIP's educational programs for 7th–10th graders, including Summer Studies, require a qualifying ACT or SAT score. We will offer alternative qualification options for those students who are not able to take the ACT or SAT in time to qualify for Summer Studies. We will describe those alternative options at a later date. While we hope to be able to offer our weekend and residential programs again soon, we will continue to proceed with caution and follow guidelines set by government agencies and by Duke University. 

Test Dates and Registration Deadlines

PSAT 8/9
(4th, 5th, and 6th graders)

ACT
(7th, 8th, and 9th graders)

SAT
(7th and 8th graders)

Cost: $45. Students who qualified for a fee waiver and joined Duke TIP for free receive a 50 percent discount the first time they take the PSAT 8/9.

Find a test center near you using our PSAT 8/9 Test Center Lookup Tool.

Cost: $60. Students who qualified for a fee waiver and joined Duke TIP for free get one free ACT or SAT test.

Find a test center near you using our ACT/SAT Test Center Lookup Tool.

Cost: $57. Students who qualified for a fee waiver and joined Duke TIP for free get one free ACT or SAT test. 

Find a test center near you using our ACT/SAT Test Center Lookup Tool.

Test Date Registration Deadline Test Date Registration Deadline Test Date Registration Deadline
January 9, 2021 December 4, 2020 February 6, 2021 January 15, 2021 March 13, 2021 February 8, 2021
February 13, 2021 January 8, 2021 April 17, 2021 March 26, 2021 May 8, 2021 April 5, 2021
February 14, 2021 January 8, 2021 June 12, 2021 May 21, 2021 June 5, 2021 May 3, 2021