Top 10 Toughest Exams in the World 2023

There will be a need for you to take exams during your student life and beyond, whether you are finishing high school, hoping to graduate, or intending to pursue postgraduate studies. Hence, a student’s life revolves around exams.

As part of a selection process for jobs with mass applications, many government and private sector jobs also require candidates to appear for multiple selection rounds (written, interview, or both).

As a result, we are going to talk about the toughest exams in the world in this article. Even though each exam has a different level of difficulty.

Top 10 Toughest Exams in the World

Several exams around the world are popular for their high difficulty level and rigor. Here is an overview of the top toughest exams in the world.

#1. Gaokao

The first toughest exam in the world on our list is Gaokao. Students in China who want to go to college or university take a standardized test which is also known as the National College Entrance Examination. The exam covers Chinese, mathematics, foreign languages, and the sciences, among other subjects.

In June of each year, high school seniors take it, and universities and colleges use the results to determine eligibility for scholarships and admission. Because it can determine a student’s career and future opportunities, the Gaokao is one of China’s most significant tests.

Students frequently spend years preparing for the exam, which is notoriously competitive and difficult.

Students must complete a form listing the colleges they want to attend either before or after taking the Gaokao and those who meet the province-specific minimum score requirement for admission to each college gain admission. If not, they will be disqualified and sent to a different school to see if the score meets their standards.

Yet, as the Gaokao has no authority age limit, students frequently re-try the whole last year’s Gaokao arrangements to step through the examination once more.

#2. CFA

Next on our list of the toughest exams in the world is an internationally recognized certification program for investment professionals; the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam. The CFA Organization controls it and comprises three degrees of tests that test information in speculation examination, morals, and expert guidelines.

The CFA program covers a lot of different things, like portfolio management, economics, financial reporting and analysis, and quantitative methods. With a pass rate of around 40%, it ranks as one of the toughest and most demanding financial exams in the world.

In the investment industry, the CFA designation is highly regarded and frequently required for senior finance positions.

After effectively passing each of the three levels (which will take a typical candidate four endeavors), you should have four years of expert or professional training prior to being granted the CFA Sanction.


The JEE, as the placement test for Designing projects at the Indian Foundation of Innovation (IIT), typifies the meaning of “tough.” Around 10 lakh people applied for the JEE in 2019, and acceptance rates typically hover around one percent.

If they pass the test, they might be eligible for the Siemens Scholarship, which will pay for their engineering bachelor’s degree. Like the UPSC, it has a two-level separation.

This fundamental test is available in three distinct forms that grant admission to bachelor’s degree programs in architecture, planning, engineering, and technology.

The Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination is a highly competitive engineering entrance exam. Hence, the 3-hour JEE Advanced exam requires students applying to India’s twelve IITs to pass it.

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#4. UPSC Civil Service Exam

The Indian Government leads the UPSC assessment to fill the posts across fluctuating divisions like the Indian Regulatory Help (IAS), Indian Unfamiliar Assistance, Indian Income Administration (IRS), etc. As one of the toughest exams in the world, it comprises three obstructed levels.

Prelims is the first level, and it comprises two objective papers on general topics. Candidates who meet the requirements appear for the extremely difficult final level of the Main exam, which comprises seven subjective papers.

The individuals who effectively clear the subsequent level move further to a meeting round with a board that tests character, mindfulness, and rationale.

You should know approximately 5 lakh candidates compete for fewer than 1000 seats in the Prelims in order to gain an understanding of UPSC exams.

UPSC also administered the IES exam to recruit engineers for government positions.

#5. Mensa

Mensa is an international organization that was founded in 1946 to provide a forum for intellectual exchange among individuals with high IQs. The organization is open to people who score in the top 2% on a standardized IQ test. The name “Mensa” is from the Latin word “table,” as the organization aims to create a roundtable discussion among its members.

Mensa has local groups in many countries around the world, and members take part in a variety of activities such as discussion groups, games, and social events. The organization also sponsors scholarships, awards, and other programs to support intellectual achievement.

Without limitations to any profession, educational background, or political affiliation. The only requirement is a high IQ score, as determined by a standardized IQ test. Mensa does not advocate any ideology or belief system and is open to individuals from all walks of life.

#6. GATE

The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is a national-level examination in India conducted jointly by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

It is primary purpose is to grant students admission to postgraduate programs in engineering, technology, and architecture in India.

As one of the toughest exams in the world, it measures the comprehensive understanding of undergraduate engineering subjects, quantitative and analytical skills, and the ability to apply knowledge to real-world problems.

GATE is a computer-based exam and covers a wide range of engineering and technology subjects, including mathematics, engineering concepts, and general aptitude. With more than a million candidates appearing for the exam each year, only a small fraction can secure a top score.

Universities, research labs, and public sector companies value a good score in GATE for admissions to postgraduate programs and recruitments.

#7. LSAT

In the United States, Canada, and a few other nations, applicants to law schools take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). It estimates perusing and insightful abilities, legitimate thinking, and lawful composing skills.

The LSAT has six sections, four of which are scored and cover reading comprehension, analytical reasoning, and logical reasoning. There is likewise an unscored trial segment that is utilized for testing new inquiries and a composing test segment. The test is computer-based, and it takes about three hours and thirty minutes to complete.

The LSAT ranks as possibly one of the toughest state-sanctioned exams, with a difficulty level tantamount to that of the GRE or GMAT. Critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, which are necessary for success in law school and a legal career, are the focus of the exam.

As part of the application process, many law schools in the United States and Canada require applicants to submit their LSAT scores.

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#8. The All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam

The All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam at Oxford University is a landmark examination that has been taking place for several decades. On the list of our world’s toughest exams, it is one of the top candidates. Only one or two of the eighty applicants are selected each year for the school’s seven-year fellowship.

It is extremely challenging to prepare for the questions because of their abstract nature. The questions are especially hard to reply to.

In order to assist the college in selecting new examination or prize fellows, it seeks to identify students with exceptional debate and analysis skills. Knowledge breadth, independence of judgment and thought, explanation clarity and care, and awareness of unsolved problems are additional requirements.

#9. Cisco Certified Inter-networking Expert (CCIE)

The Cisco Certified Inter-networking Expert exam, which is given to networking professionals, is one of the top ten toughest exams in the world. The test is given in two stages and is broken up into six sections.

The second phase is open to applicants who pass the first one. The subsequent stage test endures 8 hours and just around 1% of the absolute number of understudies pass it. Candidates should have 7 to 10 years of industry experience, including a thorough understanding of networking technologies, as the exam is extremely difficult.

Although passing the CCIE exam is difficult, it is frequently regarded as the most prestigious award in the networking industry.

#10. Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Claimed and managed by the Instructive Testing Administration (ETS), GRE is among the world’s most troublesome tests. The test is directed both on the web and face-to-face.

The GRE is a standardized test that assesses students’ overall academic readiness for graduate school. As a result, many graduate schools in the United States, Canada, and a few other nations require it for admission.

The GRE is administered online; paper-based tests are additionally accessible where online assessments are unrealistic. It has six sections, including a research section, analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and mathematical reasoning. The GRE can be taken up to five times in a 12-month period, once every 21 days.

The more complex vocabulary and reading sections of the GRE make it particularly challenging. To pass the tests, candidates are expected to have strong reasoning skills.


What is the toughest exam in the world?

It is difficult to determine the hardest exam in the world as different exams have different difficulty levels and cover different subject areas. However, exams such as the Gaokao, CFA, IIT-JEE, and Mensa IQ tests are known for their high difficulty levels.

What is the passing rate for the Gaokao?

The passing rate for the Gaokao varies depending on the year and the province where the exam is taken. In general, the passing rate is around 70-80%.

How many times can you take the CFA exam?

You can take each level of the CFA exam as many times as you want, but you have to pay the registration fee each time you take the exam.

Can anyone take a tough exam?

Anyone can take a tough exam, but passing it requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and preparation.

What makes an exam tough?

An exam’s difficulty can depend on various factors, such as its subject, format, level of competition, and pass rate.


All these exams rank topmost in the list of the toughest exams in the world because of their rigor and difficulty. Passing them requires a high level of skill, knowledge, and preparation.




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