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Duke TIP SAT Score Requirements


Perhaps you've read our article about Duke's Talent Identification Program (TIP), maybe you've heard about it from other students, or maybe you did your own research. You've heard vague hints of "score requirements," but don't know exactly what that means—do you have to take the SAT in order to take part in TIP? How well do you have to do on the SAT in order to become a TIPster? (I refuse to believe that students who participate in TIP do not go by this name.)

There are SAT (or ACT) score requirements for the Duke TIP: specifically, there are score requirements for Summer Studies programs and eStudies courses. I'm going to cover this complicated topic in exhaustive detail, explaining what the programs are, what the SAT score requirements are, and giving you some tips on how to meet these requirements.

feature image credit: Duke Campus by Danny Fowler, used under CC BY-SA 2.0/Resized from original.


2022 UPDATE: Duke TIP Program Permanently Canceled

After canceling its summer residential programs in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, in December 2021 Duke announced that it has officially canceled its TIP program.

There will be youth residential programs for summer 2022, and interested families with students in grades 6-12 can access information about their current course offerings through the Duke University Pre-College Program webpage. This Pre-College Program has replaced both TIP and the Duke University Youth Program.

Although Duke will not be re-opening the TIP program, they have stated that they will continue to provide “deep, rigorous academic opportunities for talented students.” Additional details about how their programming may change in the future is unavailable at this time, but they appear to be moving away from using standardized test scores as a way to identify “talent” and eligibility.


The Lay of the Land: Types of TIP Programs and Eligibility

Of all the programs with SAT/ACT score requirements, the eStudies program has the lowest score requirements, followed by the Academy for Summer Studies, which falls in the middle, and the Center for Summer Studies, which is the most stringent when it comes to score requirements. These are not the same as the test requirements for the 7th Grade Talent Search.

How do you figure out if you are eligible for Summer Studies programs or eStudies courses? TIP determines your eligibility based on your SAT or ACT scores. If you participate(d) in the 7th Grade Talent Search, you will take (or took) the SAT or ACT as part of that program (read more about this in my upcoming guide). It is the score from this testing that will qualify you for Summer Studies and/or eStudies courses. Don't worry—you can always retest if your scores aren't high enough to get you into the program(s) you want.

If you've already taken the SAT or ACT as a 7th grader, you can still enroll in the 7th Grade Talent Search—you just have to do it using the paper application and include an official SAT/ACT score report. If you didn't participate in the 7th Grade Talent Search, you can still participate in Summer Studies and eStudies courses using 8th-10th Grade Option, but I'll cover that in another article.

For now, I'll ONLY be talking about the SAT score requirements for 7th and 8th -10th graders who did participate (or will be participating) in the 7th Grade Talent Search and are interested in attending Duke TIP Summer Studies and/or eStudies courses.




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Duke TIP Scores: The Particulars

To make it easier for any one in the future trying to figure out the score requirements, I've separated out the requirements for what you need to get into the Academy for Summer Studies, the Center for Summer Studies, and eStudies courses and ordered them from lowest to highest score requirements. Hopefully, since all the scores will be in one blog post, rather than spread out over a website, it will be less tricky to read and understand.

As you will see below, there's a difference in the requirements you have to meet if you take the SAT during 7th grade, as part of the 7th Grade Talent Search, or if you take it again later on (between 8th and 10th grades).


SAT Requirements: eStudies

What are Duke TIP eStudies courses? According to the Duke TIP website, the eStudies program offers online courses in a variety of different subjects, open to "seventh through eleventh graders who have achieved certain qualifying scores on the ACT or SAT."

Out of all the Duke TIP courses, the eStudies courses have the lowest score requirements. Which courses you can take depends on your score in specific SAT sections—qualifying Math scores mean you can take eStudies courses in all subjects except Humanities, while qualifying Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores mean you can take eStudies courses in all subjects except Mathematics.

So what e-Studies courses are you eligible for? Use this handy table to find out!

If you took the SAT in… And scored… You are eligible for...
7th grade ≥ 480 on Math eStudies Math*
≥ 480 on EBRW eStudies Verbal**
8th grade ≥ 520 in Math eStudies Math
≥ 520 on EBRW eStudies Verbal
9th grade ≥ 560 on Math eStudies Math
≥ 560 on EBRW eStudies Verbal
10th grade ≥ 600 on Math eStudies Math
≥ 600 on EBRW eStudies Verbal

*eStudies Math subjects include Fine Arts, Mathematics, Sciences, Social Sciences, and Technology. You do not qualify for Humanities courses unless your SAT Math score also reaches the threshold.
**eStudies Verbal subjects include Fine Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Social Sciences, and Technology. You do not qualify for Mathematics courses unless your SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score also reaches the threshold.


What If I Just Barely Don't Make It?

On their site, Duke TIP states that students who narrowly missed qualifying, are too old, or who missed the enrollment period for Duke TIP's 7th Grade Talent Search can still join Duke TIP through 8th-10th Grade Option. Unfortunately, they don't define "narrowly," so it's hard to say when you should consider 8th-10th Grade Option.

What is clear is that you can always retest on your own if you don't meet the score qualifications for eStudies courses, or if you need a higher score to attend the Academy or Center for Summer Studies. We have more information about the application process in our article about the Duke TIP 7th Grade Talent Search.


SAT Score Requirement: Academy for Summer Studies

The Academy for Summer Studies at Duke TIP offers eligible students in grades 7-10 summer classes with "interactive, inquiry-based learning that challenges them to think critically about themselves and their world."

How do you know if your SAT scores qualify you for the Academy for Summer Studies? Use the tables below to find out what scores you need to qualify for the Academy Math or Academy Verbal courses.

You are eligible for the Duke TIP Academy for Summer Studies Math classes if you...

Took the SAT in...

And on the Math section scored between...

7th grade 510-540
8th grade 550-580
9th grade 590-620
10th grade 630-660


You are eligible for the Duke TIP Academy for Summer Studies Verbal classes if you...

Took the SAT in...

And on the EBRW section scored between...

7th grade 510-550
8th grade 560-590
9th grade 600-630
10th grade 640-670

Note: while you can take Academy classes in all subject areas if you have an eligible SAT Math score, if you only have an eligible SAT Verbal score, then you may only take classes in Fine Arts, Humanities, Sciences, or Social Sciences—you are not eligible to take Mathematics or Technology courses.


body_SCORE.jpgSCORE logo by Score, in the Public Domain.


SAT Score Requirement: Center for Summer Studies

The Center for Summer Studies is another summer program offered by Duke TIP; the difference between the Center and the Academy is in the intensity of the courses and the stringency and specificity of the score requirements.

Again, we've compiled the information from the TIP website into a simpler, easier-to-understand form, dividing up information for 7th-10th graders into two separate tables (one for Center Math courses and one for Center Verbal courses).

You are eligible for the Duke TIP Center for Summer Studies Math classes if you...

Took the SAT in...

And on the Math section scored...

7th grade ≥550
8th grade ≥590
9th grade ≥630
10th grade ≥670


You are eligible for the Duke TIP Center for Summer Studies Verbal classes if you...

Took the SAT in...

And on the EBRW section scored...

7th grade ≥560
8th grade ≥600
9th grade ≥640
10th grade ≥680


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Duke TIP Score Requirements: A Few Final Notes

For Summer Studies courses, you may only apply to the level for which you are qualified. This not only means that you can't apply to the Center for Summer Studies if your score only qualifies you for Academy courses (which makes sense), but that you can't apply to the Academy for Summer Studies if your score is higher than their score requirements—instead, you may only apply to the Center for Summer Studies.

On their Test Prep page, Duke TIP has the following to say about their score requirements:

"We do not recommend that students spend a lot of time preparing for the test. Above-grade-level testing is meant to be diagnostic, and many test prep programs just make students anxious.

We think the best way to prepare is to be familiar with the structure of the test and the timing of each section, and to review the practice questions we provide so that you know what to expect and are at east on test day." [Source: Test Prep | Duke TIP. Accessed 2019-07-19.]

And look, when you're taking the SAT as a 7th or 8th grader, you don't need to worry about getting an SAT score that will get you into college. In fact, we have a series of articles about what a good SAT score for a 7th grader and an 8th grader might be, based on extrapolations from data from Duke TIP and John Hopkins CTY.

We also have information about what a good score for a 9th and 10th grader might be, but if you're taking the SAT in high school, you'll also want to start thinking about if you're applying to any colleges that require all SAT scores sent (since the College Board saves all SAT scores from 9th grade onwards) and if so, what target score you want to be aiming for.




How Do I Meet The Requirements? 4...TIPS (you knew that was coming)

#1: Spend time prepping. Yes, I know I just quoted the Duke TIP site, which advises the opposite, but let's be realistic: you'll need at least some test prep.

  • This in no way means that you should invest in any kind of SAT prep course—just that, at the bare minimum, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the SAT's structure and timing.
  • You should take a practice test to gauge where you are, then use this information to determine the amount you have to improve to meet the qualifications for your desired program.
  • Know how much time you have to study so you can plan your prep accordingly. If you only have a few weeks before the SAT, you'll want to study more hours per week than if you have several months left.
  • For more advice, read our articles about taking the SAT in 7th and 8th grade.

#2: Take the SAT as early as you can and still feel prepared. If you take the SAT earlier on, you have a lower score threshold to meet (compare the 7th grade vs 8th -10th grade requirements for eStudies, Academy, and Center courses). In general, older students know more than younger students (stop rolling your eyes, younger siblings), but if you've spent time prepping, it's worth it to take it sooner rather than later.

#3: If you have a standout test section, focus on it. Duke TIP is unlike most colleges and universities in that you can get in to its various programs even if you only do well on one section of the SAT.

  • If you find that you're getting in the 300s on the SAT Math section, but in the 400s on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, own it.
  • In the above example, unless you have a particular Math course you really want to take, you're better off putting in the time to make sure you can consistently get above the score threshold for EBRW than you are trying to bring up all of your scores.

#4: Know the SAT strategies that are appropriate for your level. Advice for getting an 800 on a section will not necessarily be relevant if you only need to get above a 560.

  • One example of this is that if you're aiming for a 600, you can skip the hardest 20% of questions entirely and just focus on answering as many of the easier questions correctly as possible.
  • We have more targeted strategies like this in our article on aiming for a 600 on the SAT.


body_handshake.jpgHandshake by Quinn Dombrowski, used under CC BY-SA 2.0/Cropped from original.

Hello, SAT Score Requirements, nice to finally meet you.


I hope this article helped clarify the mystery of what the SAT score requirements for Duke TIP are. Be sure to take a spin through the ACT edition of this article if you're thinking about taking the ACT instead.


What's Next?

Curious about what the Duke TIP 7th Grade Talent Search is? I demystify the mystery in this complete guide.

Find more strategies about how to get a 600 on the SAT Math, Reading, and Writing tests.

How far in advance should you start prepping for the SAT? Plan out your study schedule here.



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Laura Staffaroni
About the Author

Laura graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College with a BA in Music and Psychology, and earned a Master's degree in Composition from the Longy School of Music of Bard College. She scored 99 percentile scores on the SAT and GRE and loves advising students on how to excel in high school.

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