14 Top Hardest Exams In the US

14 Top Hardest Exams In the US

For most student, taking some difficult tests in the world is their biggest nightmare. There is frequently a higher amount of stress and anxiety associated with successfully passing exams that are of national importance or higher.

However, did you know that some of these exams can be so challenging that even the top students have difficulties passing them? We will discuss some of the hardest exams in the US in this article.


Choosing a field of study can be challenging because many options are available, from professional medical certificates to college entrance tests.

Making an informed choice is half the battle, even though these options may seem daunting. Below are reasons why some exams are considered hard in the US:

1. Topics covered in the test

The hardest exam in the world includes subjects like literature and Maths. The exam is typically difficult, though each person’s difficulty level differs.

2. The exam’s degree of difficulty

The most difficult exam in the world has a contentious level of difficulty. However, most of those who took the test concur that it was among the hardest tests they had ever taken.

The exam is challenging due to several factors, including the enormous amount of content covered and the time allotted.

14 Top Hardest Exams In the US


The hardest exams in the US are:

  • Graduate Record Examination
  • MCAT ( Medical College Admission Test)
  • Mensa International
  • SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)
  • California Bar Exam
  • Chartered Financial Analysts Exams
  • USMLE, or United States Medical Licensing Examination
  • Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert Exam
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Designation
  • Master Sommelier Diploma Examination

Now let’s take a detailed look at what each of the hardest exams in the US is composed of


1. Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE is a prevalent exam among interested graduates. If you want to apply to a master’s program or pursue an MBA degree, you must take the GRE, which is a requirement everywhere in the world.

However, the GRE is recognized as one the hardest exams in the US and one of the world’s top twenty most difficult exams. The GRE tests verbal reasoning, analytical writing abilities, and the ability to think critically in candidates.

The school typically establishes a cut-off mark, which differs from institution to institution. Graduate admissions are granted to applicants who pass the exam and achieve the required score. There is a good chance that a GRE score would be necessary if you wanted to enroll in a graduate program in the US.

2. MCAT (Medical College Admission Test)

The MCAT is one of the most difficult tests offered in the US, and it is used to evaluate prospective medical students before they apply to medical schools.

The test evaluates the candidate’s aptitude for problem-solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of social, behavioral, and natural science principles necessary for medical study.

The MCAT has been in operation since 1982 and is managed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and is, however, one of the hardest exams in the US.


For non-native English speakers, the IELTS is a test of English language ability that is widely accepted. If you are interested in studying abroad in the US, you will need to take this test and present your score as part of your college application.

You will be rejected from admission even if you complete all other standards and did not pass the exam, It is however one of the hardest in the US.

The IELTS test evaluates the reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities of candidates in the English language. To study and prepare for the real test, you can use various IELTS resources and practice exams online.

4. Mensa International

Mensa International

A scientist and a lawyer formed Mensa in 1946 to establish a society in which politics, race, and religion have no bearing. To join Mensa, you must have an IQ that ranks in the top 2% of the general population, which is the only factor that matters.

Logic and deductive reasoning questions are included in the two parts of the exam. There are branches of Mensa on every continent but Antarctica, with more than 145,000 members from various countries.

You can enjoy intriguing new social, cultural, and intellectual opportunities by joining Mensa.

Passing Mensa International exams is also challenging, and it is one of the hardest exams in the US.

5. Scholastic Aptitude Test

A standardized test for college admissions in the US was created in 1926 and is known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT. The SAT is simpler than the other tests on this list because many online resources are available to you for preparation, including SAT prep classes.

Aside from that, the exam covers everything you learned in high school and a few more sophisticated ideas for good measure. Therefore, passing is rather simple, even with little preparation. The SAT presents a challenge to students in that it asks questions differently than traditional classroom exams.

It would be best if you familiarized yourself with the types of questions that will be asked to ace the test, as it is one of the hardest exams in the US.

6. California Bar Exam

To practice law in California, one of the criteria is to pass the California Bar Exam, one of the hardest exams in the US. The test covers civil procedure, community property, criminal laws and processes, trusts, constitutional laws, and business associations, among other subjects.

The test is administered over two days and is given twice a year. It has five essay questions that take an hour each, one performance test that lasts 90 minutes, and 200 multiple-choice questions from the Multistate Bar Examination.

7. Chartered Financial Analysts Exams

Those who have finished the CFA program can take the Chartered Financial Analyst exam. It has three parts that address themes on investment instruments, asset valuation, management of portfolios, and wealth planning. It is one of the most difficult exams offered in the US.

If you want to be one of the world’s most well-known finance and investment professionals and obtain that big break in your career, consider enrolling in the CFA program and passing the exam.

According to Investopedia, candidates should spend over 300 hours studying for this exam to maximize their chances of passing because the Chartered Financial Analysts Exam is one of the hardest exams in the US.

8. USMLE, or United States Medical Licensing Examination

A certified medical practitioner must pass the USMLE, one of the hardest exams in the US, after graduating from medical school. The exam is divided into three parts and takes over 40 hours to complete.

It evaluates candidates’ understanding of ideas, principles and the display of basic patient-centered abilities.

The three exam phases still need to be completed in succession. In medical school, the first portion of the exam is taken following the second year, the second portion at the conclusion of the third year, and the third portion at the conclusion of the intern year.

The exam evaluates the doctor’s capacity to apply theories and knowledge learned in the classroom or the clinic.

9. Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert Exam

Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert Exam

If you wish to become a Cisco specialist, you must pass one of the hardest exams, the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert Exam in the US. You will then become a Cisco Certified Networking Expert by passing the test.

The test is divided into numerous sections and given by Cisco Network. It is written in two stages.

The test includes a hands-on lab examination that addresses enterprise networks throughout the entire network lifecycle, from planning and deploying to managing and optimizing, as well as fundamental enterprise infrastructure technologies.

To obtain the certificate, you must pass both the prerequisite and lab exams.

10. Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Designation

The gold standard in financial planning is the Certified Financial Planner designation. You must be enrolled in the CFP program and pass one of the hardest exams in the US to obtain this degree.

The course emphasizes wealth management and financial planning. You will also earn a Financial Planning Standards Council Level 1 certificate as part of the CFP process.

11. Master Sommelier Diploma Examination

Master Sommelier Diploma Examination

The purpose of this exam, which the Court of master sommeliers administers, is to raise the bar for beverage services provided by sommeliers, notably in wine and food pairing.

About 200–230 individuals have been the only ones to pass this exam since it first began 40 years ago. It is regarded as one of the most challenging tests in the world. Service, Theory, and Blind Tasting are the three divisions of the exam.

The hardest exam element is the blind-tasting portion, where candidates must recognize a grape variety while being kept in the dark. The item must be identified, and its origin and growing regions must also be mentioned. Applicants attempt for years.

12. Chartered Accountant Exams

The CA exam is divided into three levels: CA Foundation, Intermediate (IPCC), and Final. Most students frequently begin CA applications after graduation to obtain a good start on the preparatory process.

The first stages appear tolerable to applicants, but the last component, CA Final, is the hardest to pass. As one of the hardest exams in the US, students frequently struggle to pass the final paper in one sitting.


hardest exams in the USA

The NVIDIA exam is one of the most difficult and distinctive exams in the US. NVIDIA develops graphics processing units for the video gaming industry and the mobile computing platform on a semiconductor package. It is a business that conducts one of the most difficult exams in the US.

This exam consists of two parts. The experiment stage, which is the first, covers concepts including pipelines, final state computers, cache control, virtual CMOS development, and C programming fundamentals. The technical interview is the following stage.

14. Program for Aspiring Astronauts at NASA

It isn’t easy to get into NASA. The ASCAN acronym stands for the astronaut candidate program. People chosen for the Astronaut Corps by NASA are known as ASCAN. At the Johnson Space Center, these people are also presently enrolled in a program for candidacy training.

Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree in any science field, such as biology, physics, mathematics, engineering, or computer science, to be considered for a NASA astronaut position.

Additionally, they must have 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command experience in jet aircraft or three years of experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the US’s most challenging professional exams?

The US professions with the most challenging exams are the California Bar Exam, Certified Public Accountant, and Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert.

Are UK exams tougher than US ones?

In terms of academics, the United States is simpler than the United Kingdom because of simpler coursework and exams. But if you want to enroll in a reputable college, you must take many challenging classes and ECs.


Throughout your schooling and employment, you will encounter challenging exams regardless of your degree or work area.

Suppose you wish to pursue a high-stakes vocation like law, medicine, or engineering. In that case, You’ll probably need to take extra difficult exams to demonstrate mastery of the skills and knowledge necessary for the field.

The tests on the list are the most challenging in the USA. Which one do you consider to be the more difficult?

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