March Sat Essay Reality Tv

March 12 SAT Curve made news and controversies are still raging on. Students, parents and mentors blame the SAT paper setters of being insensitive towards the future of more than hundred thousand high school seniors who had prepared hard for their SAT exam, only to stare dumbly at the SAT essay prompt, requiring them to analyze the benefits of the reality shows to the society or the harms they cause.

However, we do not believe it was all that tough to write a comprehensible essay on one of the arguments given in the question. To prove our claim, we publish here a sample essay on the same March 12 SAT* essay prompt, which went like this:

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?”


Sample Essay

In today’s times, there is no single way to define ‘entertainment’. It has taken multiple forms and reality television programs are an important source of entertainment for a wide majority of the people in the society. The rush of excitement one gets while seeing a person perform real life stunts and challenges is way more profound than those that are orchestrated in nature or are an illusion created with the help of the latest advancements in the technology.

These shows allow the viewers a glimpse into the different ways in which people perceive ideas, different ways they take on their life. They allow one to get a very close and intimate look at different aspects of acceptable morality. Just as in case of ‘Celebrity Rehab’ and ‘Jersey Shore’, which reveal the truth behind the famous polished faces in the entertainment industry and their tryst with their addictions.

Reality shows that deal with travelling across the world, give us more information about exotic places across the world, and some information about their history. For instance, ‘The Amazing Race’, can be a highly informative. It teaches you about the different cultures of the world, and how they greet each other. The places in their cities carry a deep significance, either culturally, traditionally, or historically.

Then, there are shows such as that weight loss one which can actually end up providing inspiration to people to start losing weight. Singing and dancing reality shows can end up providing opportunity to people to rise up and display their talents to the world and prove their dreams, just in case of “The Biggest Loser”, “The American Idol”, “The Apprentice” etc.

They are a telecast for a short period of time, have their run for a couple of months for the season and disappear, leaving people either laughing or thinking about this side of human nature and spirit they just witnessed.  Even if the challenges are designed by the producers and the frames telecasted have been edited, the spirit of the contestants involved is totally authentic, worthy of a watch.

The reality of the reality television shows is in essence more real than that of the six friends living in high profile Beverly Hills area and their life experiences as they go about the life in their own way. Despite the fact that indeed some of the reality shows follow a script, the spontaneous reactions and opinions of the participants are sometimes eye opening experiences for the audiences.

*SAT is a trademark of College Board, which in no way endorses the above product or the views of the author of the essay.

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Brianna Letourneau was surprised when she first opened her SAT earlier this month. Letourneau, a senior at Eastside High in Gainesville, Fla. has taken the college entrance exam three times. This time, however the essay question caught her off guard.

"I was expecting something much different," Letourneau said. Among the reasons many high school students will long remember their March 12 SAT scores, which are being released today, is because of an essay question that continues to rankle: Do people benefit from reality TV? It's a topic that has sparked debate among students, educators and College Board officials. Some test-takers like Letourneau felt the prompt was insensitive to students who are not allowed to watch reality television shows such as MTV's Real World or ABC's The Bachelor. "If your mom and dad don't allow you to watch reality TV, you're stuck," she said. So what about those students who don't keep up to date with The Bachelor's love life or Snooki's latest social outing? College Board officials say they are not testing the student's knowledge of the essay subject, but rather how they compose their writing. In a statement released by the College Board, Laurence Bunin, senior vice president for operations and the general manager of the SAT Test said, "The central task of the SAT essay is to take one side of an issue and develop an argument to support that position." Using a popular culture reference is not only appropriate, but potentially even more engaging for students," said Bunin. Latourneau feels this gives students who watch reality TV an advantage. "Essay questions are usually more generic. How can you make a strong persuasive argument if you don't know anything about reality TV?" Not all of the test takers, however, felt the question was out of line. Kelly Savage, a junior at Ponte Vedra High School in Ponte Vedra, Fla. was given the same SAT question, but doesn't see why the question would be considered unfair.

SAT Essay Asks About Reality TV

"Reality stars are 'role models' and the constant scrutiny of their actions will always be a hot topic, and certainly one that the average student taking the SAT should be able to formulate an opinion on," she said. Even though Savage does not regularly watch reality TV she felt the prompt was especially relevant to students her age. "With reality programming prevalent on networks such as MTV and E!, whose target demographic is teens and young adults, it is relatively difficult for students my age to not watch reality shows here or there," she said. Like Savage, Tori Cabot is another teenager who does not typically tune into reality TV. Cabot, a junior at Milton Academy in Massachusetts, took the college-entrance exam for the first time on March 12th. "The thing that surprised me was the topic. I doubted it at first," she said.

'They Want To See If You Can Create A Well-Crafted Essay'

Cabot worked with a tutor in preparation for the SAT, but says she never came across a question like that one. Although it caught her off guard, she also feels that's the point of this type of test. "They might throw a curveball, but they want to see if you can create a well-crafted essay, no matter what the question," said Cabot. Cabot admits the question was strange, but does not feel the essay question alone will greatly affect anyone's scores. "I'm a little nervous, but not extremely concerned," she said. It's not about the point of view, but rather how the test-taker constructs the point of view, Cabot explained. "There might be some advantage for students who watch reality TV, but students who do not watch reality TV still have an opportunity to argue a point and show good writing technique," she said. Now that scores are released, the debate is bound to continue. College Board officials feel those who are up in arms may be missing the point. "If presented with a topic about balancing the risk of climbing a mountain with the reward of reaching the summit, for example, a good writer could compose a strong essay without ever having reached the summit of Mount Everest," said Bunin. "We acknowledge that not all students spend valuable hours watching reality television shows, nor are we recommending that students watch these programs."

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