"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."