Identifying Students

A teacher looking on and smiling as her class has a discussion

The 7th Grade Talent Search is open to current seventh-grade students (or eighth-grade students who skipped the seventh grade) who qualify through one of five methods:

  • Scoring at or above the 95th national percentile on an accepted grade-level national standardized achievement or abilities test
  • Scoring at or above the 95th percentile on a state assessment
  • Scoring 125 or above (full scale or composite) on an accepted IQ test
  • Receiving an educator recommendation if they haven’t tested or you believe they would benefit based on other factors
  • Prior enrollment in the Duke TIP 4th–6th Grade Talent Search

Use our look-up tool to find qualifying scores for any of our dozens of accepted tests.

Look-Up Tool

Important test notes

  • Students only need to qualify on one accepted subtest to be eligible for the program.
  • Students may qualify using scores from any time in the past two years. If 2018–2019 sixth-grade test results for your state haven’t been released by September 2019, we recommend using 2017–2018 fifth-grade scores.
  • Because state assessment schedules vary and results are often delayed, be sure to keep your contact information current at so we can keep you updated on qualifying scores in your state!


Identifying students early gives them a chance to maximize their benefits. We recommend testing by the end of February.

Doing so ensures students receive test scores in time to determine qualification for TIP's educational programs this summer. It also allows for maximum ceremony location options if students qualify for the recognition ceremonies we hold during the spring for students with exceptional ACT and SAT scores.

Students who test after February will still receive all of TIP's benefits and can use their scores to apply to educational programs in future summers. Those who test after March and qualify for ceremonies will receive their award in the mail.

Test Date
Enrollment Deadline
ACT 10/26/2019 10/4/2019
SAT 11/2/2019 9/30/2019
SAT 12/7/2019 11/4/2019
ACT 12/14/2019 11/22/2019
ACT 2/8/2020 1/17/2020
SAT 3/14/2020 2/10/2020
ACT 4/4/2020 3/13/2020
SAT 5/2/2020 3/30/2020
SAT 6/6/2020 4/30/2020
ACT 6/13/2020 4/30/2020

Deadlines are midnight (ET).

When they enroll in the 7th Grade Talent Search, students select a test date for either the ACT or SAT—an above-grade-level testing experience that is at the heart of the 7th Grade Talent Search. (Read more about our above-level testing philosophy.) They also immediately receive access to other benefits, including specialized publications.

Educator Recommendations

Sometimes test scores aren’t the best way of measuring academic talent—either because of score reporting delays, problems interpreting scores, or simply because other factors lead you to believe a student would benefit from TIP.

In these instances, we invite educators to provide an educator recommendation for students you feel are good candidates. To determine who these candidates are, we suggest you use your school or district guidelines to identify gifted students, as well as any other available academic information.

Find forms and instructions on the Notifying Students page.

Notifying students

Once you’ve identified eligible students, you’re ready to notify them.

Students qualify for the 7th Grade Talent Search by scoring at or above the 95th percentile on a grade-level standardized test. Enrollment provides benefits that last through the end of high school, including the opportunity to take the ACT or SAT, specialized publications, college prep advice, and access to educational programs.