Which Asian Test Prep Regime Would You Prefer?

THIS PLACE IS A FACTORY: Between China and South Korea, two of the world's standardized testing superpowers, where would you rather teach or study? "If you connected all of the practice tests I've taken over the past three years, they would wrap all the way around the world," bemoans one Chinese 12th grader in a New York Times piece on the infamous "test-prep factory," Maotanchang. Teachers share the pain too, working 17-hour shifts "so grueling...that the school has decreed that only young, single men can do the job." Across the Yellow Sea, their Korean counterparts also work around the clock, but attention tends to focus more on the fame, celebrity endorsements and millions of dollars that can come from tutoring a $20 billion industry. One thing's for sure--there's no room for play.

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