Time was, high school students had to study vocab lists and brush up on their algebra to prepare for the SATs. Now they just have to watch a lot of trashy reality television. The essay question in this year's SATs has caused a stir because it's not about all of the 19th century books and stuff kids have worked their butts off to learn about.

Here's the question, via the New York Times:

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?

Colleges are apparently looking for their applicants to all be excellent pop culture bloggers now. It's like the College Board is just openly mocking kids: Oh, you spent hundreds of dollars on SAT prep courses and books, and studied for hours? We're going to put a question about TEEVEE in there. Sike.