For parents: Why take the SAT before junior year?

College Admissions | SAT Prep


Although the SAT is primarily used for college admissions, there is no age requirement to take the SAT. Some middle school students take the test to help plan their high school curriculum or to gain testing experience.

Additionally, several universities conduct Talent Search Programs that require the SAT or ACT for admission. These programs are used to identify exceptionally gifted students and provide academic guidance during their high school career. Participants who score in the 95th percentile are recognized at regional ceremonies, and the top scorers are invited to attend weekend and summer seminars for academic enrichment.

Talent Search applicants typically apply in late summer or early fall and take the SAT or ACT that autumn. An application fee, as well as the testing fee, are required for consideration.

Some of the better-known talent search programs are:

Center For Talented Youth (CTY) - John Hopkins University

  • 7th and 8th graders
  • Available in 19 states, most along the East Coast  

Duke Talent Identification Program (TIP) - Duke University

  • 7th graders
  • Available in 16 states, mostly in the South and Midwest  

Midwest Academic Talent Search (MATS) - Northwestern University

  • 7th - 9th graders
  • Ceremonies in 4 Midwestern states, but open to all US students  

Parents and teachers are the best judge of a child's academic potential. If you feel that your son or daughter is academically gifted, discuss his or her abilities with current teachers. If the teachers agree that your child is intellectually talented and ready for further enrichment, a Talent Search Program is a great opportunity and a PowerScore SAT course can improve your child's SAT score.

Keep in mind that most middle school students are not emotionally mature enough or academically prepared for the SAT. You, your child, and your child's teachers should work together to make the best decision for your child.

For more SAT information (for both parents and students!), check out the PowerScore SAT Free Help Area