The SAT I, which is similar to the ACT, is used for entrance into US Universities. We are very experienced at tutoring the SAT and the ACT and at helping students apply to US Universities.

Subjects Covered


What is SAT I?

TThe SAT I assesses the skills that are taught in all schools: reading, writing, and mathematics. The College Board administered changes in 2016 to the format, but the essence of the exam remains the same. The SAT I (or the ACT) is a requirement for US university applications. In theory, the exam gives university admissions teams a metric by which to compare students from different educational and geographic backgrounds. It lasts for 3 hours with 50 minutes for an optional essay section and is scored out of 1600, reflecting an equal distribution across the three disciplines. The SAT I is not taught explicitly in US schools, but students will spend time and resources preparing outside of school. Preparation time for an American student can range from 3 months to 3 years with a very small minority of students starting as early as 5th Grade (UK Year 6). For a British student, there is no equivalent, although the medical school aptitude exam the UKCAT has many similarities.

Read about the SAT I test format and question types and about the new SAT below, or see our dedicated webpage on frequently asked questions comparing the SAT I vs the ACT.

Our Experience & Approach

We have a very rigorous, logical approach to the SAT I exam. We start with a practice test to ensure that our tutors can identify strengths and weaknesses in test-taking and content. Our tutors are adept at teaching vocabulary words, mathematical tricks, and reading strategies. We have special experience with British students as well as with International students for whom English is not mother tongue. We teach both content for the exam as well as exam strategy. We provide a bespoke service specific to the needs of individual students which may or may not include specialised tutors for sub-sections, simulated exam condition practice, and detailed test feedback. All of our SAT I teaching is closely overseen by our Head Tutor, Sophia Ohler McCarthy and our Founder Katherine Wiles.

International Students

We understand that your needs may be slightly different, and that the Writing, Reading, and Essay portions of the exam are more challenging. We have tutors who are experienced with English as a Second Language education. These teachers are exceptional individuals and can start with students from any age to help prepare them for entering US education at any stage.

SAT I Test Format & Question Types

The SAT I assesses the skills that are taught in all schools: reading, writing, and mathematics. It lasts 3 hours, with a 50-minute optional essay, and is scored out of 1600 reflecting an equal distribution across the subjects.

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section has two tests: the reading test and the writing and language test. The reading test is 65 minutes long with a total of 52 questions, and the writing and language test is 35 minutes long with a total of 44 questions. It is scored out of 800. The reading section will now be focused more on evidence, where students will be asked questions about the text and then asked about which piece of evidence best supports the answer. The texts are being pulled from U.S. founding documents (the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, etc.) as well as from works by important historical authors (Martin Luther King, Jr., Elizabeth Cady Stanton) to make the reading section more relevant and closer aligned to what students are learning in school.


The purpose of the Mathematics test is to see how well you can apply mathematical skills to the types of problems you will see in college and in your career. The Mathematics test is a total of 80 minutes, with 58 questions. There are two types of questions: multiple choice and student-completed. The score is out of 800. The Mathematics portion assesses numeracy, algebra, geometry, data analysis, statistics, and probability. There are two sections:

  • Section 1: 55 minutes; 38 questions with calculator
  • Section 2: 25 minutes; 20 questions without calculator

The mathematics questions are ordered by difficulty i.e. question 20 is more difficult than question 1.


Four-function, scientific, graphing, and Computer Algebra System calculators are permitted on the SAT math sections only. College Board has identified that students with higher performance calculators tend to do better on the exam. Most students will choose a TI-83.


The essay is now an optional section on the SAT I. It is 50 minutes long, and students will be provided a passage (600-700 words) and will then be asked to analyze how the author built their argument. Students will be asked to understand how authors construct persuasive arguments. The essay measures reading and understanding skills, as well as analytical skills and overall writing capability. Some colleges will require that students take the essay portion, so it’s important to know and plan accordingly beforehand. The essay will be evaluated along three requisites – Reading, Analysis and Writing – with scores of 1-4 for each category. Two scorers will grade each essay, and then the six numbers will be combined for a final score.

No Guessing Penalty

One of the biggest changes from the old SAT I, the new SAT I will no longer negatively mark incorrect answers. Instead of losing ¼ of a point on an incorrect answer, there will simply be no points awarded to incorrect answers. Each multiple choice question now has four possible answers, except for the math grid-in questions, and guessing will no longer be penalized. penalty for guessing on the questions.

Overall changes in the new SAT I

The new SAT I began in March 2016. The new SAT I will begin in March 2016. In order to prepare students, the College Board has produced guidance for students who will be affected by the change. In summary, the big changes are:

New SAT College Board Logo
  • No more obscure vocabulary.
  • No penalties for wrong answers (like the ACT)
  • Only 4 multiple choice answers, instead of 5
  • Evidence-based reading and writing. You may be asked in the Reading exam where the evidence is to support the answer or to pull together answers from words or graphics.
  • The Writing section has more analysis: eg does a sentence make sense in context?
  • The SAT Essay will be optional.
  • The new essay requires a student to read a passage and then analyze the author’s ability to build an argument and persuade the audience. Thus, the essay will more closely mimic essays that students write in school.
  • New scoring and structure - in particular no negative marking

Please contact us if these changes are affecting you, and you would like to learn more.


Some students will be offered the PSAT through their school to assess readiness for the SAT I exam. The PSAT is an abridged version of the SAT that is used in America to award some university scholarships. The PSAT is an excellent practice test for the SAT and can even be used to create a benchmark score. If you would like tutoring for the PSAT specifically, then please do get in touch.

Selected SAT I Testimonials

Please see below some example SAT I Testimonials that we have received. If you would like to hear more, you may be interested to read about our tutor guarantee or to read about Wentworth Tutors' philosophy and approach in a letter to parents from Dr Katherine Wiles, our Founder. Alternatively, some more SAT I Testimonials can be found on our dedicated testimonials page, where you can filter by subject.

SAT/ACT | Sophia Ohler

"We're very impressed with Sophia, she's lovely and [my daughter] gets on with her very well. Sophia is very inspiring and a good role model for [her]." ... See Sophia Ohler's tutoring profile.

SAT II [Chemistry] | Dr Katherine Wiles

"Katherine was fantastic at knowing what parts of the Chemistry syllabus I hadn’t covered. My score improved from a 650 to a 790!" ... See Dr Katherine Wiles's tutoring profile.

SAT | Wentworth Tutors Private Tutoring

"The tutor] is very focused and identifies my problems very quickly, and therefore is able to help me with exactly what I need. I have learned a lot from her despite the fact that I only had four days of tuition."

Selected Profiles of our SAT I Tutors

Please see below some example profiles of the SAT I Tutors that we represent. If you would like to hear more, you may be interested to read about our tutor selection criteria or to read about Wentworth Tutors' philosophy and approach in a letter to parents from Dr Katherine Wiles, our Founder. Alternatively, some more SAT I Tutor profiles can be found on our dedicated tutors page, where you can filter by subject.

My passion for tutoring stems from my own personal experience with understanding the impact that excellent teachers can have on our lives. At Winchester College, the leadership and inspiration of my teachers motivated me to succeed, and is reflected in my consistently strong academic record. Having now graduated with a First Class BA in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and successfully completed an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London, I am keen to share my understanding and passion of the sciences and mathematics with new students. ... See Thomas Evans's tutoring profile
I'm originally from New York, and have been living in London for a bit over a year now. After graduating from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Creative Writing (Cum Laude), I received my Master's degree from the London Film School. I've been privately tutoring for years, as a peer tutor on Harvard's campus with the Bureau of Study Council, as well as with private agencies. I also have extensive experience as an Admissions Representative in the Harvard Admissions Office. I specialise in the American curriculum and US College Counselling, but know and work with the English curriculum as well. ... See Sophia Ohler's tutoring profile
I graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge in 2012 with a 1st class degree in Natural Sciences and the Cambridge University Physiology Prize for excellence in my written dissertation. Raised in both Princeton, New Jersey and Cambridge, England, I am an expert in the differences between the American and English educational systems as I was accepted as an undergraduate to Harvard, Princeton, MIT, CalTech, and Cambridge. I have been tutoring since 2005 as both a private tutor and in the non-profit sector. ... See Dr Katherine Wiles's tutoring profile
I have experience teaching a range of ages, both privately part-time and in full time employment as a teacher at Hurstpierpoint College, where I worked for a year before starting my degree at Oxford University. I have a particular interest in teaching Common Entrance and GCSEs, aided by a detailed understanding of UK independent schools as well as experience preparing for the American education system. I have delivered private tuition to children between 5 and 20 years. I find tutoring immensely rewarding and particularly enjoy the focused nature of assisting an individual with his/her academic goals. ... See Scarlett Maguire's tutoring profile
I was brought up in Paris and moved to London to study at Imperial College, where I obtained a Bachelor’s and Master's degree in Theoretical Physics with High First Class honours. My research focussed on the way in which alternative logic systems can help us bridge the gap between quantum mechanics and relativity. I was awarded Associateship of the Royal College of Science. Although I am a science specialist, I also have a strong background in English and Verbal Reasoning. I sat the GRE in 2016 for entrance to US Grad School and got exceptionally good grades (Verbal Reasoning - 99th percentile, Analytical Writing - 93rd percentile). Since 2011, I have offered private tuition for all major examination boards as well as working for the Imperial College summer schools. ... See Nicolas Pimpare's tutoring profile