Top 11 Toughest Exams In The World

Toughest Exams in the World

Are you curious to find out the hardest exams in the world? Exams help to assess and test the level of the exam takers. No, given exams are easy. However, there are some of the hardest exams in the world that can be scary as they require more than what a regular school exam may require from the test takers. 

As a student, you will most likely sit for an exam. The hardest exams in the world are design to help examinee study effectively, and this will help the exam organizers to select the best fit for the course or job. However, passing them may often require lots of effort and preparation but they are not impossible to pass. 

 In this overview, we will list the top 11 toughest exams in the world and everything you need to know about them.

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Here is a list of the top 11 toughest exams in the world:


The all souls prize fellowship exam is one of the hardest exams in the world. It is also a historical examination that is organized each year at the oxford university. 

For decades, the all souls prize fellowship exam has proven to be one of the toughest exams in the united kingdom and in the world.

The all souls prize fellowship exam is hard to pass because over ninety examinees are sited for the exams, and one or barely two persons are selected for the seven-year fellowship at oxford university. 

The All Soul prize fellowship exam usually commences in September or the first week of October. For this exam, candidates are required to present four essays. These four essays are then grouped into two parts, the first two parts will be on vast issues, while the usually begin other two will be focused on specific topics.

The time limit for each essay is three hours. Also, applicants will be required to answer questions on various humanities sections.

These essays and questions asked go beyond just providing basic answers. The exam organizers tasked applicants by asking them to provide their views on the subject by thinking properly before answering.

Questions usually come from topics, such as classical studies, history, law, philosophy, economics, English literature, and politics. When an examinee passes this exam, the individual will become a full-time salaries fellow of Oxford for the next seven years.

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 toughest exams in the world

The Cisco certified internet working expert (CCIE) is one of the hardest exams in the world. The major purpose of this exam is to employ networking professionals in the Cisco system. Also, the CCIE certificate is one of the top relevant certificates in the networking community.

They group the CCIE exam into two separate stages, with six various categories. The six categories include security, routing and switching, data center, collaboration, wireless, and service provider. Also, the cost for the CCIE examination fee is $450. 

For the first stage, the exam will be a written test and the examinee must get the required percentage (26%) before sitting in stage two. Note that, the second stage usually lasts for 8 hours with 1% of candidates passing the exam.


The certified financial analyst test (CFA) is one of the hardest exams in the world. One of the major purposes of this exam is to examine financial experts on different levels and test their knowledge of various financial topics. Thousands of applicants from various countries apply for the CFA exam each year.

The CFA exam comprises 240 questions that should be completed in six hours. 

To earn the CFA certification, candidates must complete and pass the CFA Level 1, CFA Level 2, and CFA Level 3. These levels will require 48 months of financial experience.


The civil service exam (CSE) is without a doubt one of the hardest exams in the world. 

The major purpose of this exam is to recruit individuals that can pass the exam into posts like the Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Administrative Services (IFS), Central Civil Service, and IAS. It is mainly for Indian citizens, and the Union Public Service Commission conducts it. 

They categorized this recruitment exam into three stages, such as the Prelims stage, the Mains stage, and the interview stage for applicants’ posts.

The civil service exam duration takes up to two to three hours with millions of applicants each year. The pass percentage for this exam is 0.2%, which is relatively low.


 hardest exams in the world

The Master Sommelier diploma exam is one of the hardest exams in the world. The Court of Masters sommeliers (CMS) conducts it to help improve the level of beverage services by the wine stewards and servers. 

This exam originated in the UK in 1969. It is designed to sommeliers improve their knowledge of services in hospitality environments and their vast understanding of beverages. 

The Master Sommelier diploma exam is one of the toughest in the world because it entails three stages, such as Theory, Practical Restaurant Wine Service and Salesmanship, and Blind tasting.

The pass percentage for this exam is 10% as examinees will be required to provide relevant information on the wine they are tasting, such as the year, date, and location where the wine was created. 

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The National College Entrance Examination (NCEE), also known as Gaokao, is without a doubt one of the hardest exams in the world. This is a common entrance exam for students looking forward to studying in the best colleges in China. One of the major purposes of this exam is to assess and test an applicant’s skills, abilities, and knowledge in different areas.

To prepare for the Gaokao exam, students must study for years and dedicate 12 years of their life to studying for the exam. 

Students who are in their 3rd to 4th year of high school can sit for the exam and begin every year in June. The Gaokao test has various sections, such as chemistry, arithmetic, political science, biology, mathematics, Chinese literature, history, geography, and others. 

The exam duration for this Gaokao is approximately two to three days for ten hours.


hardest exams in the world

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is one of the toughest exams in the world. One of the major purposes of this exam is to provide admission to post-graduate programs.

While it is an online national-level examination, it is also designed for straight Ph.D. admissions to Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), National Institute of Technology (NITs), Master of Engineering (ME), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIITs), Master in Technology (MTech), and many others.

The GATE exam has a duration of three hours with 65 questions. 

There are thousands of applications each year for computer applications, architecture, and many more. 

The exam is hosted in different countries, such as India, Europe, Nepal, Bangladesh, Europe, United Arab Emirates, and Sri Lanka. 

This exam covers areas, such as science, mathematics, general aptitude, and engineering.

The exam results are legal for 3 years, and some other countries aside from host countries often accept the GATE results for scholarship programs such as Germany and Singapore.

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The graduate record examination (GRE) is, without doubt, one of the toughest exams in the world. 

The major purpose of this unique exam is to help applicants get admission to MBA MS courses and Ph.D. programs; and also to examine applicants’ analytical writing, critical thinking, and verbal reasoning. 

There are several perks to passing this exam, hence siting for the Graduate Record Examination requires extensive preparation.

As a candidate sitting for the GRE, once you pass the exam, you will earn a globally accepted diploma and can study at some of the best universities in the world. As well as access to varieties of high-paying jobs. 

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) hosts the GRE test, and it is computer-based, with multiple-choice options. You can sit for this exam at a GRE test center or home by choosing the ‘GRE at Home’. 

The GRE has a duration of 3 hours and 45 minutes, with brief breaks in every question section and a 10-minute quick break for the last section.


 hardest exams in the world

Undoubtedly, the IIT-JEE is one of the toughest exams in the world. This is an admission entrance exam for applicants looking forward to earning an integrated master’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or Bachelor-Master Dual Degree in Architecture, Science, Engineering, Planning, and many others. 

It is also for candidates seeking to gain admission into the Indian Institute of Technology. 

The IIT-JEE exam has a duration of three hours and 30 minutes, with thousands of applicants each year. 

There are several benefits to passing this exam, one of which is the Siemens scholarship program for individuals looking for admission into a bachelor’s degree in engineering. 

Also, applicants who pass the exam will most likely gain admission into one of the seven IITs, such as IIT Kanpur, IIT Mumbai, IIT Guwahati, IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IIT Kharagpur, and IIT Rourke.

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The law national aptitude test (LNAT) is one of the hardest exams in the world. 

They created this exam for candidates looking forward to studying law at the university, making it an entrance exam for law students. 

This exam also helps the university to assess the skills, and abilities of applicants by using reading tests and written essays. 

It is also internationally recognized in the world, and it is hosted in over 100 centers across the globe. 

Many institutions use the LNAT exam to examine if the candidates sitting for the test can perform better in the legal industry. 

Also, Oxford University created it in 2004 in the UK. Most institutions widely recognized it in the UK. 

The duration for the LNAT is 2 hours and 30 minutes, with sections that include reading and writing essays.


Mensa is undoubtedly one of the hardest exams in the world. This exam is challenging as it requires candidates with an I.Q of 140 and over. 

Although there is no age restriction on this exam. Therefore, ages 3 to 100 can sit for the exam. It is, however, designed to assess and evaluate examinee IQ using questions based on their logic, reasoning, and problem-solving abilities. 

The Mensa test was founded in 1946 in England, and it is available in almost every country across the globe. 

They also designed it to test the IQ level of each applicant. To become a Mensa member, candidates must score within the 98 percentile.

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Here is another list of the hardest exams in the world: 

  1. The United States Medical Licensing Examination (UMSLE)
  2. Union Public Service Commission ( UPSC)
  3. Indian Engineering Services (IES)
  4. College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT)
  6. Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)
  7. Law School Admissions Test (LSAT)

Which Exam Is World’s Hardest Exam?

Gaokao is undoubtedly the world’s hardest exam. This exam requires a lot from each candidate sitting for the exam. 

Which Are the Top 5 Toughest Exams In the World?

The top five toughest exams in the world include the Cisco Certified Internet working Expert, Master Sommelier Diploma exam, Gaokao/NCEE, Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), and the Indian Institute of Technology-Joint Entrance Examination.

How can one prepare for a tough exam?

Nothing beats reading past questions or getting details from others that have written the exam. This will enable you as an examinee to get an idea of what the exam will be mostly about and also help you study better. Also, getting textbooks about the covered topics will help you in the long run of acing the exam.


The hardest exams in the world can seem like a nightmare for candidates writing these exams. However, passing these exams comes with a lot of benefits that make it appalling and easier to study for. Studying smart and hard will help you achieve the desired results. We hope you find this overview helpful to your search.

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