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 four 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

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 2017–2018 sixth-grade test results for your state haven’t been released by September 2018, we recommend using 2016–2017 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. Some—including recognition ceremonies and educational programs during the summer after seventh-grade—are only available to students who test by early deadlines.

Test Date
Paper Application Postmark Deadline
Online Enrollment Deadline
ACT 10/27/2018 9/19/2018
SAT 11/3/2018 9/10/2018 9/26/2018
SAT 12/1/2018 10/10/2018 10/24/2018
ACT 12/8/2018 10/10/2018 10/24/2018
ACT 2/9/2019 12/13/2018 1/8/2019
Summer Programs: Students testing after February 2019 may not receive their scores back in time to apply to summer programs after seventh grade. However, students who test after February and achieve a qualifying score will remain eligible to apply in future summers. Once eligible, always eligible! Check out qualifying scores for Summer Studies and eStudies
SAT 3/9/2019 1/30/2019
Recognition Ceremonies: Students must take the ACT or SAT by the end of March to receive an invitation to attend a recognition ceremony, should they achieve a qualifying score. Duke TIP does not receive scores from tests taken after March in time to invite eligible students to ceremonies. However, students who test after March and achieve a qualifying score will be mailed a medal in the summer.
ACT 4/13/2019 2/27/2019
SAT 5/4/2019 3/27/2019
SAT 6/1/2019 4/30/2019
ACT 6/8/2019 4/30/2019

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.