Top 15 Toughest Exams in the World

Top 15 Toughest Exams in the World

Top 15 Toughest Exams in the World
Sailesh Sitaula

In today's environment, with millions and billions of applicants, the higher education competition from a prime school is cutting off. In an ever-increasingly crowded world, the fight to get an education and maintain academic standing has become more challenging each day.

To get admission to any reputable institution or college, one must pass various entrance exams. To get admitted to any program of study at any reputable, well-established institution anywhere in the globe, you must pass specific additional tests.

Degrees from reputable universities have become increasingly vital in securing a successful career. Every field, whether science, medicine, law, engineering, or management, requires a competent student, and many types of admission tests are used to assess students' abilities and worth.

As we become older, the examinations get more rigorous and competitive. Exams are the nudge that everyone requires. The rivalry among candidates to earn higher grades motivates them to work harder and stay motivated.

It increases knowledge and assists the scientist in dealing with any problematic issue in life. The profession is incredibly significant to hopefuls, and now is when many students will gather and open their notes to examine the plans for the feared tests.

Students should participate in assessments as a means of determining their level of knowledge of a particular topic. These examinations are extremely tough to pass.

Gaokao Exam in China

Gaokao exam in China is one of the world's most challenging exams, and applicants who wish to pursue undergraduate courses must pass this proficiency exam.

This college admissions test takes nine hours to complete over two days. Any student wishing to attend a higher education institution in the nation must take it, and fewer than 0.25% of students get the qualifying score for admission to China's most elite colleges.

Due to the difficulty of the exam, some European and American colleges have begun to accept Gaokao marks. Candidates for the Gaokao test in 2013 were required to prepare an essay on how Edison would have responded to the development of mobile phones if he could transport himself to the twenty-first century.

IIT JEE in India

IIT JEE has its spot on one of the toughest exams in the world. NTA examines admission to undergraduate engineering courses in the universities of India.

The exam is divided into two parts of three hours each, both of which are objective. Both sections measure the candidate's skills in Physics, Chemistry, and Maths and the comprehensive, reasoning, and analytical abilities.

In 2019, around 10 lakh students applied for the JEE entrance test, with only 13376 places available at the IITs. Acceptance rates are typically about 1%. Add to it the massive syllabus and blatant unpredictability of the JEE questions, and you have the ideal recipe for one of the most challenging tests in India and the world.

UPSC in India

The Government of India conducts UPSC examinations to fill vacant posts across various departments like the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, Indian Revenue Service, etc.

The test starts with Prelims which comprise two general-topic objective papers. Qualified candidates appear for the latter tough group of the Mains examination, which has seven personal papers.

About 5 lakh students take the Prelims to understand the UPSC tests, contending for less than 1000 seats. The success rate is dismal, ranging from 0.1% to 0.4%. Those who pass the second stage go to an interview round with a panel that assesses personality, awareness, and reasoning.


Mensa is an international organization available to everyone with authorized intelligence test results in the 98th percentile or higher. Mensa's minimum score is 130, based on an average test score 100 and a standard deviation of 15.

To become a part of Mensa, you must first take an objective, standardized IQ test and score in the top 2% of test takers or above.

Mensa has a prominent presence in almost every country across the globe. The IQ test administered by society is a highly demanding test that analyses one's intelligence on reasoning, problem-solving and logic parameters.

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Graduate Record Tests (GRE) are among the world's most difficult exams. ETS examines an entrance exam for most schools in the United States. The exam is given both online and in person.

The computer-based online test is divided into six components: analytical writing, verbal reasoning, mathematical reasoning, and a research section. Paper-based tests are only provided in locations where online examinations are not possible.

The GRE is essential for people who want to pursue an overseas degree. It is mainly used for master's and PhD programs overseas. The exam is widely recognized at many US colleges; many students prepare for and take it, making it difficult to crack.


Chartered Financial Analyst is not a formal exam. It is more of a professional qualification. Over 100,000 applicants from over 100 countries annually seek to pass CFA. The test has three levels: CFA Level 1, CFA Level 2, and CFA Level 3.

After passing all three test levels, one must complete a two-year practice session to obtain a full degree in Chartered Financial Analyst.

It is intended to put Finance professionals to the test on the relevant financial tools and strategies. Each level includes a difficult six-hour test with 240 questions. It is among the top 15 toughest examinations in the world, with an admission rate as low as 32.


Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert ranks among the most challenging certifications in the world, provided by Cisco Systems to networking professionals.

Although the CCIE certification is the most coveted in the networking business, qualifying for this test is not straightforward. The test is broken into six sections and is administered in two stages. Applicants who pass the first phase are eligible to take the second. The second stage test is 8 hours long, and only 1% of all students pass it.

GATE in India

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is one of the toughest exams in the world. This exam is for engineering students who want to study for a master's degree in India.

It is a national-level online examination held in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates to test concepts in Engineering, Mathematics, Science, and General Aptitude for admission into master's degree courses.

GATE is accepted by prestigious Indian institutes ranging from IITs and IISC to IIMs (for fellowship programs). Some colleges in Germany and Singapore use GATE results to determine scholarship prospects. This single paper has MCQs as well as numerical questions.


The United Kingdom's Law National Aptitude Test has become one of the toughest examinations. Oxford University initiated the leading law test to select the best students willing to study law.

This exam lasts for 2.5 hours and involves reading and an essay section. Various law colleges consider the scores of this exam across the UK. LNAT is held around 100 centres across the world.


The USMLE falls under one of the strict tests for professionals wishing to practice medicine in the United States. The test is taken in collaboration with the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), and the Federation of State Medical Boards sponsors the examinations (FSMB).

This exam is used to examine practical knowledge and ideas of application in any critical has to take this test to obtain a license.

CA in India

The chartered Accountant exam conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India is one of the toughest in the world. Most students often start applying for CA after graduation to get a headstart in preparation.

The first level of the examination assesses knowledge of Mercantile Laws, Quantitative Aptitude, and Accounting and Economics Fundamentals. The following level of assessment, IPCC, assesses the applicant's knowledge of seven distinct disciplines; the last step is the CA Final.

California Bar Exam

The California Bar Exam ranks among the world's toughest exams. The State of California conducts the examination to select graduates who can be inducted into the Bar Society.

It is conducted over three days for 18 hours, comprising multiple-choice and essay-type questions. The pass rate for this examination lies around 35-55%. It is conducted twice a year, in February and July.

All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam

The All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam at Oxford University is a historical examination held for decades. It has enrolled students in diverse courses like Philosophy, Law, Classical Studies, Economics, History, and Politics.

Oxford University administers the All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam; passing this exam makes one a full-time salary fellow of Oxford for seven years.

Every year, Oxford University's All Soul College selects Prize fellows. The college chooses two subjects from fifty or more, and the exam assesses an individual's substantial and creative expertise. The test is divided into two sections: the written part and the viva.

IES in India

Indian Engineering Services is India's most challenging engineering exam. Students studying electrical, mechanical, electronic, and civil engineering can take this test. The UPSC Union, Public Service Commission conducts it to recruit engineers for various positions in the government of India's departments.

Master Sommelier Diploma Exam

The court of master Sommeliers conducts this test to improve the Sommelier's beverage services, notably in wine and food matching. This exam began 40 years ago, and only 200-230 individuals passed it. It is regarded as one of the most challenging tests in the world.

Service, Theory, and Blind Tasting are the three components of the test. The blind-tasting portion of this exam is the most challenging since a candidate is kept blinded and must identify the grape varieties. Not only must it be determined, but it must also be mentioned where it originated and cultivated.

Applicants work for years to crack this tough nut; even the most famous Sommelier has passed the exam on their third or fourth attempt.

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