Duke Program Challenges 7th Graders to Take ACT, SAT

Most high school students take the SAT and ACT in 11th grade.

But 45 Stratford 7th graders have been invited to take the tests this year.

The middle schoolers were invited to take the standardized college entrance tests as part of the Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP), which identifies gifted students.

“Students are qualified based on previous standardized testing, so students who have already taken that testing  have been identified for Duke TIP,” Middle School Principal Andrew Myler said.

If a student performs exceptionally well on either of the exams, they are invited to participate in TIP’s three-week long summer camp where they attend accelerated classes with other middle schoolers.

Although none of last year’s 7th grade attended the summer camp, several students performed exceptionally well. After taking the ACT last year, 8th grader Manasa Vemuri received a medal from TIP in the mail and was invited to the summer camp. Vemuri said the test was long but easier than she thought it would be. She prepared by practicing 15 minutes daily out of an ACT prep book.

Vemuri advised 7th graders “not to stress about it because there is not much you can do to prepare.”

Meggie Aivalotis and Marta Stevenson are two 7th graders who plan to take the Duke TIP.

“I know there’s going to be stuff we know how to do but there will definitely be a lot of stuff that we haven’t learned or even heard of,” Stevenson said.

Although Stevenson had heard of TIP, Avialotis said she had no idea what it was before she was recommended to take it. Avialotis and Stevenson plan to prepare for this test by asking for help from different teachers and studying on their own.

Avialotis said that their teachers have prepared them well because “they are really good at explaining and they’re always there to help you when you need help.”