020 7724 8333

37 Crawford St

Frequently Asked Questions – All about US school and college applications

Why should I use UES London?

We specialise in standardised tests. This means that our focus and passion is solely on the tests that you need to pass. We know the content, tricks and techniques for scoring highly on these tests and our tutors have passed these tests with full marks. We’re also partnered with the Fulbright Commission, as well as top schools.

How do I book a tutor?

Please contact us thought our enquiry form, email us, or call us on the number above. We will be very happy to help. If our office is closed, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. (Note that we tutor at all times of the day, any day of the week!)

Should I take a group course or have private lessons?

Generally we say that group courses are a good introduction or a good way to get up to speed quickly. However, if the next group course is some way off or quite close to your test, you should consider having private lessons instead. Please see here for our list of upcoming courses.

If there are several of you wanting lessons, or you are from a school, please get in touch as we may be able to arrange dedicated courses.

How much are your lessons or group courses?

Prices are kept up to date here.

What days and times do you tutor?

We tutor every hour of the day, every day of the week. It just depends on our tutors’ availability! Please note that our office is only open from 10am-6pm each weekday, and 10am-2pm on Saturdays – but we do teach at any time!

How many lessons do I need?

This depends on several factors: your current level, how long until your tests, your desired scores, and how hard you work in between lessons! We are very flexible and will never make you have more lessons than you need, and you can cancel lesson with 24 hours’ notice. Our tutors will keep you updated on your progress and give advice on performance right from the beginning.

What qualifications do your tutors have?

Our tutors are selected based on their experience and teaching ability. They must pass the tests they teach with full marks, and undergo rigorous training to ensure that they know everything there is to know about the tests. Our tutors meet regularly to share ideas, and all have Enhanced DBS certificates.

Where are you located?

We are based in Marylebone, London, very close to Marylebone station, and not far from Baker Street and Edgware Road stations. See here for more details.

Can you teach online?

Yes, absolutely. We teach students all over the world via Skype.

Do you guarantee scores?

In a word, no. We can, however, guarantee the ability of our tutors, and we can send you references from past students and from the schools that recommend us.

How successful are your students?

Almost every single student who has had lessons with us has gone on to college in the US.

How do I pay for lessons?

We normally invoice at the end of each calendar month for any lesson that you have had that month. We prefer Direct Debit, but we also accept card payments online or over the phone, or bank transfer.

Do you run mock exams?

Yes, we normally run a mock test, for any test we teach, in our offices in Marylebone on the last Saturday of every month. They are run under exam conditions as close to the real thing as possible. These are very useful – and indeed important – for getting to grips with the tests. Get in touch if you’d like to book a place.

By how much do your students’ scores improve?

This depends on what level students are at when they come to us. Students who come to us not having done any preparation can expect their scores to improve quite a lot over several months: by around 200 points in the SAT and 15 points in the ACT.

Some students come to us already scoring reasonably well (28-30 on the ACT and 1200 on the SAT), but wanting to get Ivy League scores (32 on the ACT or 1400 on the SAT). These students tend to get the scores they need.

What books do I need?

If you have tuition with us, we will provide you all the books you need. If you want to order books now, we would recommend getting the official books: The Real ACT Prep Guide, or the College Board SAT book. These can be ordered online.

How do I apply to the US for college?

This is not a simple question to answer briefly! See here for a good explanation.

When should I apply to the US for college?

Applications open in the August the year before you want to begin. However, you should start preparing well before then! See here for a timeline.

Do you help with US college applications?

We mainly prepare people for the US entrance tests, but we also help with the college application essays and the personal statements, which are a very important part of any application, especially as they should be written in a very different way to which you might expect.

We are also partnered with a well-established organisation that helps with all other aspect of the process, such as choosing colleges and rounding off your whole application successfully. Please let us know if you need any help with any aspect of your application and we will put you in touch.

How do I get funding or scholarships?

There are plenty of funding opportunities for people applying to the US – far more than for British universities. Sources are too numerous to list here, but you can find an excellent resource on the Fulbright Commission’s website here.

Additionally, our partners are able to help you obtain funding.

Is the SAT the test I did in year 9?

No! Despite the similarity in name, the SAT we teach is one of the entrance tests for undergraduate degrees in the US. It’s completely different to the tests done in UK schools at about the age of 14.

Should I take the SAT or ACT?

As of 2016, the answer is almost certainly the ACT. The reason is that the SAT has completely changed. See here for a detailed explanation.

We can help you decide on which test to take: just drop us a line.

What’s the New SAT?

The SAT – the most famous of the US college admissions tests (though not the most popular) – was overhauled in early 2016; the new version is known as the Redesigned SAT. It has completely changed in content and style, and students need to be aware of this (or avoid it entirely by doing the ACT). See here for an article on the reasons behind this change.

If you need advice on this, please get in touch.

What SAT Subject Tests should I take?

Most colleges will ask for at most two SAT Subject Tests in addition to the SAT I or ACT. Ideally, you should choose subjects that you will score well in, but also that show you to be a versatile student, which is what American colleges are looking for. For example, if you are taking Maths and Physics A-Levels, it is tempting to do the Math and Physics SAT Subject Tests. But if you’re able to do English and History, for example, and still score well, this looks much more interesting from the college’s perspective!

We can help you choose Subject Tests – please get in touch for advice.

How many SAT Subject Tests should I take?

Not all college require you to take additional Subject Tests. Some ask for just one Subject Test, some say two, and one (Georgetown) recommends three Subject Tests. Furthermore, some colleges may waive the requirement if you take the ACT instead of the SAT I.

The key is to check with the colleges you’re applying to, as every college is different. Also, ask us for advice.

Are there such things as ACT Subject Tests?

No. The Subject Tests are run by the College Board, and are known as SAT Subject Tests, or SAT II.

How do I register for the tests?

For the SAT I and the SAT Subject Tests, you should register with the College Board here.

For the ACT, you need to register here.

Make sure you register in plenty of time, as test centres get booked up quickly! Registration opens in July for the following academic year.

How many times can I take the tests?

You can take the SAT I and ACT as many times as you like, and colleges expect you to take them two or three times – it does not count against you at all. However, you shouldn’t take them more than three times, because it starts to look a bit strange – colleges will wonder why you aren’t spending your time doing something more worthwhile!

What sort of scores do I need?

It all depends on which colleges you’re applying to. For Ivy League colleges, we generally recommend around 32 in each section on the ACT, and 700 in each section on the SAT I and Subject Tests. However, even the best universities will often allow people in with lower scores if the rest of their application is very good. Check with the colleges – most publish on their websites the percentiles of scores that they have accepted in previous year.


How can our school become a test centre?

If your school has several students applying to the US each year, it may be worth registering as a test centre. This can be done through the ACT Company, or through the College Board for the SAT. They will provide full details of how the process works. We would also be very happy to talk to you about it; please do get in contact.

Can I have lessons at my school?

Yes. We work with schools all over the UK to run courses or provide tuition to their students for the ACT and SAT, often at discounted rates. Please contact us to find out how we can help you. If you are a student, please get in touch and let us know which school you belong to and we’ll let you know how we can help.


Should I take the SSAT or ISEE?

Both the SSAT and ISEE are entrance tests for US private schools. Which one you take depends on what the schools ask for – contact the ones you’re thinking of applying to. If you have a choice, it’s worth looking into the subtle differences between the two. The SSAT is more of a logical reasoning test, whereas the ISEE is more a test of knowledge. Also, the SSAT can be taken as many times as required, but the ISEE can only be taken once every six months. There are plenty of other differences and we can help you decide which test is right for your child. Please contact us for advice.

Should I take the GRE or GMAT?

The GMAT is normally used worldwide as an entrance test to management and financial programmes such as MBAs. The GRE is an entrance test to most other graduate programmes in the US, such as Master’s and PhDs. Always check with the colleges you’re applying to what their requirements are. Some colleges will accept both the GMAT and GRE, in which case you have a choice. In this case, it’s important to work out which one you will score best in. Read our article here for a summary of the differences, and contact us for advice.

If you have any other questions at all, please don't hesitate to get in touch!
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