Taking the PSAT 8/9

Special notice for January 20/21 testers:

  • Some PSAT 8/9 test centers have cancelled tests this weekend due to inclement weather. If your site notified the College Board before 4 p.m. on Friday, you should have received an email from the College Board notifying you of the test center closure. Please check your spam and junk mail folders. If in doubt, please check your local media to see if your test center has been closed.
  • If you have not received your PSAT 8/9 testing confirmation, please check your email, including your spam or junk mail folders, for a message with the subject line “Your Child is Registered for the PSAT 8/9” sent from the following email address: pnsupportservices@info.collegeboard.org.
  • Duke TIP does not have the ability to change PSAT 8/9 testing dates or register new students at this time.
Two girls smiling for the camera in a large classroom


Duke TIP offers the PSAT 8/9 as our optional, above-grade-level test for 4th–6th Grade Talent Search participants. Students may choose to take the test once each year they are enrolled in the program. (Registration deadlines apply.) In addition, taking the PSAT 8/9 through Duke TIP qualifies students to enroll in the 7th Grade Talent Search when they reach that grade.

The College Board developed the PSAT 8/9 for eighth and ninth grade students, and the test focuses on the topics students have typically learned by the end of middle school. Because it measures above-grade-level knowledge for students in grades four through six, taking this assessment can be extremely helpful for parents seeking to learn how far above grade level their younger students' knowledge goes.

Should your student test?

Duke TIP believes that parents have unique insights concerning their children and are in the best position to determine if an above-grade-level testing experience is right for them. You should consider both academic and emotional readiness before registering your student. However, if approached thoughtfully from a diagnostic standpoint, and without putting pressure on the child to “ace” the test, above-grade-level testing is appropriate for students who:

  • score at the top of the range on grade-level assessments
  • consistently make excellent grades without noticeable study or effort
  • demonstrate high ability in regular testing, but who may not receive high grades in the classroom
  • are interested in learning more about the nature of their academic strengths

We provide guidance to ensure that the exam is a low-pressure experience that can be used as a helpful diagnostic tool. The results can help you evaluate your child’s academic potential, which allows you to create a more effective educational plan.

A boy writing in class

Students qualify for the 4th–6th Grade Talent Search by achieving a score in the 95th percentile or higher on a qualifying exam. Once enrolled, for a onetime fee, they receive access to benefits until the end of sixth grade, including optional above-level testing; enrichment activities like the book club, writing and illustration contest, and specialized publications; and eligibility to apply to TIP’s educational programs.