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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Anyone who has ever sat in calculus class, thinking, “When am I ever going to use this?” may actually have a point. A new survey says the average American uses just 37 percent of the information they learn in school.
The survey of 2,000 adults commissioned by H&R Block found that 84 percent of people learned things in school that they’ve never used after graduation. The average respondent also said that over half of the skills they use in the workforce were learned on the job, rather than in school.
Forced to choose between taking a traditional calculus class and a tax preparation course, just 13 percent they would take calculus. Another 17 percent said they would prefer to take algebra over a household repairs class.
“It’s clear from the results that a lot of Americans aren’t as confident as they’d like to be when it comes to many day-to-day life skills, including how to file their own taxes,” says Heather Watts, senior vice president and general manager of digital at H&R Block, in a statement.
The survey also found that 57 percent surveyed believe a money management class would have been helpful, and another 44 percent would have like a class on how to properly file taxes.
The top five skills that respondents wanted to learn in school were money management and budgeting, how to do taxes, how to manage your well-being, understanding loans and how to negotiate.
The five most useless things learned in school were the Pythagorean Theory, knowing PI is 3.14, the periodic table, types of rocks and the difference between protons, neutrons and electrons,
Overall, 89 percent say life would be easier if they had learned such practical skills in school, while the average person surveyed said they didn’t truly grasp “adult” skills until 29 years old.