Karen Berlin Ishii, One-to-One Test Prep for the ACT and SAT in New York and via Skype
As Robyn and the anonymous University Tutor have noted, test prep differs from academic learning. Stanley Kaplan, founder of the first SAT prep method way back in the 1930's, understood that doing well on tests is something that can be taught, too. Previously, test makers claimed that tests such as the SAT or ACT measured aptitude – like an IQ test – and were thus impervious to the effects of study. Well, even IQ tests yield higher scores to those who prepare for them!
Since preparation has been proven to raise scores and these tests are all about competition, in order to be competitive you must prepare. Normally, in school, teachers rejoice when all their students score 100%. It means they've all mastered the lesson and the teacher has done a good job. In competitive admissions tests, however, there can never be a full class of 100% scores; there must a curve in order to rank the results.
Standardized tests, by their very format and competitive purpose, entail a very different experience than straight-forward tests of curricular achievement. Furthermore, the material tested differs greatly from what is taught in school – despite whatever the test makers may claim about aligning their content to the Common Core, etc. Test Prep has indeed become another required subject – whether at school or after – that students must master in order to rise to the next steps in their educations.