SAT essay prompt asks students about reality TV

Well, there goes two months’ worth of cramming at the Princeton Review down the drain. High school students were surprised, appalled, and (possibly) on the verge of tears when they flipped open their SAT test booklet and read the prompt for this year’s essay.

Reality television programs, which feature real people engaged in real activities rather than professional actors performing scripted scenes, are increasingly popular.

These shows depict ordinary people competing in everything from singing and dancing to losing weight, or just living their everyday lives. Most people believe that the reality these shows portray is authentic, but they are being misled.

How authentic can these shows be when producers design challenges for the participants and then editors alter filmed scenes?

Do people benefit from forms of entertainment that show so-called reality, or are such forms of entertainment harmful?

Wait… what? Students that spent hours memorizing the systematic keys to answering SAT essay topics were baffled, most not even knowing how to approach the question. Many argued that they don’t even watch TV because they’re too busy studying for the SAT. Sucks. Guess they should’ve kept up with the guido/guidette antics in Seaside Heights…

Read the College Board’s response to all the SAT-related drama here, and Huffington Post’s mock SAT questions here.


SAT Revisited

Even though we no longer need to bother with the SAT, this is interesting just to note, and may be especially useful for those of you with younger siblings or who work as SAT tutors: Apple has new SAT practice “games” for iPods. They are under the “iPod Click Wheel Games” section in the iTunes store.

It may sound silly, but when I was studying for the SAT I had an SAT vocabulary list on my iPod and would study it on the way to school in the morning. Maybe it’s a generational technological obsession, but it actually really helped me.