In some universities, high schools, and summer programs, students are required to do their own research project in maths and write their own essays/research papers. At the same time, however, many other schools and colleges only require them to take examinations.
In high school and the first a few years of university, it is almost impossible to come up with something new in maths (unless you are a genius:), and those research papers are usually just presentations of existing mathematical knowledge. Although writing papers develop research skill, it is likely to be very time-consuming for both students and teachers marking them. If they do exams instead, a lot of time could be saved, which means students have more freedom and can study more content. But of course, content is not everything. Doing a summary of existing knowledge doesn't seem to be more related to problem-solving skills than exams, either.
So, is it better to just do the exams and learn as fast as possible, or slow down and do some research projects?
The answer to this question is very likely to be "it depends", but I am still asking this because there might be other reasons for/against doing mathematics research projects when one still doesn't have very much knowledge.