Is the standard the SAT follows traditional or 'purist' English? My problem in teaching EFL is that in many standardized tests (at least here in the Philippines), traditional rules are strictly followed. This causes confusion among the students, especially those who cannot understand the difference (or why there is a difference) between common usage and the formal, 'purist' standard.
I don't teach it as I'm from the UK, but what I have seen looks fairly purist. When teaching exams, there has to be an acceptance from students that if they want to pass they have to behave in certain ways. People have to drive one way to get a licence, but few drive that way afterwards. Any test requires a discipline and they simply have to accept this. Some feel that this shows the articicial nature of exams, but I think there is case for the argument that you need to know the rules to break them and you need to be able to swich your language into best bahaviour mode to get what you want. Is there any language where people speak the same way in an interview and when relaxing with friends? They just need to get behind the examiners' thinking and understand the traps being set for them- if they can do that, they can access the courses and jobs they want. If they don't then their chances are reduced. I think a lot of it is how you sell it to them. In a wedding ceremony, when asked if they will love and cherish, do they really think it's fine to say 'yeah, whatever'? Once the principle has been accepted, then it's just a question of whether they'll do what is required, even if they think it is pointless in itself, because it opens the doors they want opened. They can sit and watch movies all day and talk slang- but is that why they are studying. If they want to improve themselves, then they have to learn certain rules.