The fact that people are receiving 2 as an answer shows that they do not full understand order of operations. I have written this post before, and despite my use of the "term" assume, that just means, "this is the correct way to do it if you aren't an idiot and you don't break any mathematical rules to solve it."
As most people have already stated, I assume, the way this question is written is very poor, making it somewhat difficult to decipher how to go about this question. As a chemical engineering major, and somebody who has been through Calculus III and differential equations, I see as follows:
(9+3) = 12, since it is in parenthesis.
Then, DUE to the way it is PRESENTED in parenthesis, I personally find it is safe to assume you could SAY the problem as follows: 48 divided by 2, all multiplied by 12.
48/2(12) is the same as 48/2*12, which in this case, most people forget that if it is ONLY a set of similar operations (by that I mean JUST multiplication and division, or JUST addition and subtraction) one does NOT take precedent over the other, despite how PEMDAS is set up. When it is a case such is that, it is simply performed from LEFT TO RIGHT.
So, in this case you have: 48 divided by 2 multiplied by 12, in that order.
Breaking it down gives you, 48 divided by 2 = 24. 24 multiplied by 12 = 288.
Regardless of how poorly this may be written, any true mathematician, (or hell, even your elementary school arithmetic teacher, since they would completely understand the simple rules of basic math such as this) would calculate 288. Many people forget that hidden rule in PEMDAS about multiplication/division only. One does not take precedent over the other.
Edited by Phobia#1704 on 6/12/2012 7:42 AM PDT