Toughest Exam in World : Check the List of Top 10 Exams

Do you want to know about the toughest exam in world? Well! We have a list of the 10 toughest exams with brief details of each of them.

Whether it is about the admission in prestigious institutions or filling up the positions in renowned organizations, tough-to-crack exams help examiners to select the most deserving and appropriate candidates from the pool of applicants. Hence, it is time to start the discussion.

List of Toughest Exam in Wolrd

Top 10 Toughest Exam in World

Lots of exams are considered as tough to crack. However, below is the list of the top 10 world toughest exam.


Gaokao is undoubtedly one of the toughest exams in the world. In short, the Gaokao test is not an ordinary exam- instead, it calls for 12 years of preparation from students.

In addition, this test is the only criterion to get enrolled into Chinese universities. Therefore, it is obvious that complicated questions are asked in the Gaokao exam to test the knowledge and competence of students.

The total duration of Gaokao is 10 hours, and it lasts for two days. The Gaokao exam is China’s version of the Indian IIT-JEE or the American SAT. When students are in their high school’s third and final year, they sit for the Gaokao exam. The test usually starts on June 7 and ends on June 8 or 9.

The exam syllabus keeps changing based on the province of China. Nonetheless, the Gaokao test overall comprises mathematics, Chinese literature, and a foreign language (mostly English).

Students need to appear for physics, chemistry, and biology exams if they have opted for science. On the other hand, students, who have chosen liberal arts, have to appear for geography, history, and politics.

UPSC (Union Public Services Commission)

When it comes to the top 10 toughest exam in world, UPSC comes into that list. The UPSC exam is conducted by the Indian Government to appoint eligible individuals in various departments, including the Indian Foreign Service, Indian Administrative Service, Indian Revenue Service, and so on. It is also one of the Toughest Exam in India.

The UPSC exam spreads through three levels. You need to appear for the Prelims in the first phase that consists of two objective papers on general topics. The successful candidates would sit for the Mains examination, which is tough to pass. The Mains test comprises seven subjective papers.

The qualified candidates would proceed to the interview round, where they need to prove their mettle in front of a panel. Candidates would be tested based on their awareness, personality, and logic.

Did you know that approx 5 lakhs aspirants appear for the UPSC Prelims exam? They compete for less than 1000 seats, so you can easily realize the level of difficulty of this exam. Furthermore, UPSC also organizes the IES exam to recruit eligible engineers to various government departments.

Do you wonder how much basic salary an IAS officer earns? According to the 7th Pay Commission, the amount is Rs 56,100. Moreover, an IAS officer also gets many other allowances, such as Dearness Allowance and Travel Allowance. According to reports, an IAS officer receives over Rs 1 lakh per month as the total salary.

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IIT-JEE is considered one of the most difficult exams in the world. Moreover, the phase of IIT-JEE preparation is also difficult, as it calls for determination, perseverance, and tenacity.

If we check 2019 data, then we find that 10 lakh candidates registered for IIT-JEE. However, the number of available seats was only 13376. IIT-JEE aspirants need to cover a vast syllabus under proper guidance.

Moreover, it is next to impossible to predict the questions of this entrance exam. All these aspects have made IIT-JEE a tough-to-qualify exam in the world. Successful candidates can also access the Siemens Scholarship to get funding for their graduation in Engineering.


GRE is the acronym for Graduate Record Examination. Considered among the world toughest exam, GRE is organized to test the competence of aspirants having dream to study abroad.

Do you wish to study in one of the prestigious institutions abroad to achieve an international degree? Then, the GRE exam is an important phase for you.

Qualifying candidates can pursue Masters or Ph.D. programs at educational institutions abroad. Many US universities accept GRE scores to allow candidates to get enrolled in various academic programs.

Note that the GRE test witnesses thousands of aspirants to get the scope to study abroad. All these aspects have GRE a hard nut to crack.

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Master Sommelier Diploma Exam

When it comes to the world’s toughest exams, the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam must be there. The Court of Master Sommeliers or CMS organizes this exam to escalate the level of beverage service in the combination of wine and food.

Master Sommelier Diploma Exam tests the knowledge and competence of sommeliers (a sommelier means a wine waiter). The Master Sommelier Diploma Exam comprises 3 elements to analyze the mettle of the candidates.

Most candidates can qualify for the test in their fifth or sixth attempts. However, experts may pass the exam in three attempt due to their rich experience and outstanding knowledge. The first step of the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam is wine tasting.

On the other hand, the final step is about testing the candidates’ knowledge of the region, year, and date of the wine production. In short, the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam is the toughest wine test in the world.

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Do you want to know about the toughest exam in the world? Then, do not forget to add Mensa to the list. Note that Mensa is a society comprising people with high intelligence IQ.

The members of Mensa possess a higher IQ as compared to the 98th percentile. This high intelligence IQ society conducts one of the toughest exam in world to judge the intelligence of the candidates on the basis of logic, problem-solving, and reasoning.

Mensa holds a great reputation in almost every country throughout the world. Hence, passing the test is an outstanding achievement in itself.

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CCIE stands for Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert. Cisco Systems conducts this exam to find and hire competent networking experts. Being one of the toughest exams in the world, CCIE comprises 6 segments.

There are two phases in the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert exam. Qualified candidates of the first phase appear for the second phase to fulfill their dreams to become CCIE certified professionals.

The duration of the second phase is 8 hours, and it is an extremely hard step to crack. Did you know it is difficult for even 1% of the total candidates to clear the second stage?

Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert certification holds immense value in the world of networking. However, it needs solid preparation and perseverance to pass the rounds. The average salary of a Cisco Certified Network Professional is around $109,353 per year in the US.


All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam

Oxford University conducts the All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam, which deserves to be on the list of the most toughest exam in world.

It is a world-renowned historic exam having a great legacy of many years. Eighty candidates appear for this exam out of which only one or two get succeed. The qualified candidates receive a 7-year fellowship at Oxford University.

Candidates need to write a total of four essays on two general topics as well as two particular topics. Three hours duration is fixed to complete the writing for the test. Questions are mainly formed from different subjects of Humanities.


CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst. It is one of the most challenging exams in the world. Around 1lakh candidates appear for the CFA test every year from more than 100 countries.

The exam spreads across three levels to analyze the knowledge of Finance professionals on the requisite financial equipment and techniques.

Every level of the CFA test comprises a tough challenge of 240 questions for six hours. Aspirants need to crack three levels to get succeed. Moreover, qualified candidates have to possess a professional experience of 48 months to become a CFA charter.

The average annual salary of a CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst is INR 6,82,300 (INR 36,960 per month).


California Bar Exam

The California Bar Exam is conducted to choose competent graduates to make them enter the Bar Society. The State of California arranges this test in which LSAT is a mandatory prerequisite. The exam is organized in February and July of every year.

In short, the California Bar Exam is extremely difficult to qualify. However, the State of California is thinking to alleviate the difficulty level of this 3-day exam by lessening the cut-off mark.


Wrapping Up

You are now familiar with the top 10 toughest exams in the world. However, no test is impossible to crack with proper preparation, perseverance, excellent guidance, and hard work. Are you going to appear for any of the above exams? What are your plans to succeed? Do you want to add the names of a couple of more difficult exams? Do not forget to share your thoughts.