Most Indian students preparing for GRE study for about 1-4 hours a week. While Chinese students put over 20 hours a week. Indian students prefer studying late at night while the students in China prefer weekday evenings. These were the results revealed by a study conducted by the Education Testing Services, which surveyed nearly 20,000 GRE applicants across the world.
While Indian students and their counterparts in the US, China and other regions in the world share certain routines, there are some noteworthy differences as well. Most Indian students, 44.1% of them, seem to prepare for the test for one to three months, but the world average of such students is much lower at 37.8%. Chinese pupils, around 36% of them, study over 20 hours a week, while around 30% Indians, those putting in the longest hours, put in only one to four hours a week.
According to Association of Indian Management Schools president Apoorva Palkar, in any competitive exam, students are evaluated on their ability to respond on the spot. "It is also driven by the basic education system in the country. Chinese candidates have to invest more time and efforts in learning the language, while Indians have an advantage there," said Palkar. One cannot decide a student's competence level based on the time spent in studying, one just need to learn the right math and logic at school to be good, she added.
Dean of MISB Bocconi Himanshu Rai points out several Indians already have a job while they sit for GRE. "Since the corporate world is demanding, candidates may not be able to give enough time for preparations," said Rai, also a professor at SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan. But he is not convinced by the survey's report on study hours. "I feel candidates here put in almost similar hours as the Chinese. But GRE preparations are usually done by using flash cards, quiz, etc and so, these may not be part of the actual study hours," he said, adding Indians are capable of cracking tougher exams such as CAT, so are well versed with the process.
The survey also took a peek into candidates' snacking habit. Like Indians, most Chinese prefer to nibble on fruit, but the second largest percentage of Chinese like chocolates while studying. Fruit remains the top choice for even US students, but many seem to opt for healthier nuts and seeds. Usha Kiran Sisodia, head of diet and nutrition department, Nanavati Superspecialty Hospital, said, "Any kind of food individually is good, be it chocolate or chips, if the students have a healthy meal through the day."
Indian and Chinese are nearly thrice more likely to study with friends than those in the US, where 10% said their favorite study buddy was their pets.