While there can be many reasons, the most important factor to understand is that the requirements in class and the test are entirely different. Classroom math is typically taught by examples and repetition in homework, then a test is given that is highly representative: verbatim directions and problems. While math on standardized tests certainly repeat curriculum and problem types, they disguise each problem differently, so there is a real need to actively determine what to do, something that hardly happens to the prepared student in the classroom. Further complicating the matter is that the “directions” are not directions at all: the math problems on the SAT and ACT never direct a student as to what to do to solve a problem.

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