Hardest Test in the World | List of Top 10 Toughest Exams

Examinations are the nightmare of every high school student no matter which part of the world they are from. However, once you complete your graduation and prepare yourself for pursuing further studies the examinations you’d need to crack will keep getting even more challenging. In this post, we have compiled a list of the hardest test in the world to crack so that learners can brace themselves for the challenges that lie ahead.

1. Gaokao China

It might be surprising for you to learn that this Chinese examination lasts for around nine hours over a period of 2 days.  All undergraduates in China are required to sit for this test for entrance into the higher educational institutes. Only 0.2% of students appearing for this exam get a chance to enter the top colleges of the country. The anxiety and stress which the students experience while preparing for this examination has been the subject of many documentary films. So you can surely image the kind of effort which goes into the preparations.

2. GRE

The GRE or the Graduate Record Examination is a test which needs to be undertaken by any student who aspires to pursue higher studies in the US and any English speaking country. Held both on paper as well as online, this test comes with 6 different sections consisting of verbal reasoning, research, analytical writing, critical thinking and quantitative reasoning. One of the most difficult aspects of the GRE test is that the performance of the candidate on the first section would determine the difficulty level of the next section. The 3 hours 45 minutes long exam includes just 1 break of one minute and a second break of ten minutes.


The UPSC or Union Public Service Commission is the central government body in India which conducts a number of real tough exams for securing the top-notch government jobs. If you are thinking about a career in bureaucracy then you need to sit for this one. Meant only for the exceptionally talented candidates, this exam comes in a number of phases- in the preliminary stage the candidate needs to solve objective type questions while during the main phase they have to answer subjective types and then finally appear for an interview. There are not many candidates who were able to crack this exam in a single shot. It generally takes a few attempts even for the brightest candidates.

4. CFA

The CFA or Chartered Financial Analyst exam is more of a professional stature rather than just an academic degree. Most candidates who pass this exam take more than one attempt to do so and less than 1/5 of students appearing for the exam are able to crack it. The toughest exam in the globe according to the Wall Street Journal, this test comes with a few stages of MCQ format exams followed by a subjective exam which demands essay type answers. People who are seeking a career in financing and investment should definitely give it a shot. However, before appearing for the CFA one needs to have a minimum of 4 years of work experience.


Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert or CCIE is a test for the certification of the skills of the candidate in planning, operation and troubleshooting complex network facilities on a number of Cisco equipment. Presently one of the most prestigious certificates in the arena of networking, cracking this exam is by no means an easy job. Less than 3% of the engineers at Cisco come with this certification and less than 1% of network engineers globally are able to pass this test. The first part of this 2 stage exam comes with a written test with around 100 questions. Moreover, candidates need to dole out $350 just for the registration for the first stage of the exam. Those who are qualified for the second practical examination has to pay the whopping amount of $1,500 before they get to enter the lap for the 8 hour long test.

6. California Bar Exam

The most difficult bar exam in the US is conducted in California twice a year (July and February). Spread over a period of three days, the California Bar Exam comes with a test time of eighteen hours. On the first day students are required to answer 3 essay type questions in the morning to be followed by a performance test in the afternoon. On the second day, the candidates has to answer 100 multi-state bar questions in the morning and another 100 in the afternoon. The 3rd day is pretty much a continuation of the second day. It has one of the lowest success rates of all the tests held in the country.

7. Mensa

The most recognized IQ test on the planet, Mensa is an organization whose members are required to score a minimum of 98 percentile in the standardized IQ exams. With branches all over the globe, one of the best parts about this test is that it doesn’t come with an age bar. Undoubtedly the hardest IQ test in the world, Mensa members with 98 percentile score are considered to be low rankers.


The LNAT or the National Admission Test for Law is an aptitude test which students have to undertake in order to enter the best law schools of the UK. First held in 2004 for admitting candidates to the best law schools of the country this test is now even open to foreign students. Within 2 hours the candidate is required to write an essay and complete 43 MCQs for testing the logical reasoning and reading skills.

9. All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam

As we reach the end of our list the exams get harder and harder. The All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam held by Oxford University is a rather hard test to crack. Till 2010, applicants had to write a lengthy essay about just one given word. Only very few candidates get selected every year and applicants need to have a highly creative mindset and factual knowledge in order to pass this test.

10. Master Sommelier Diploma Exam

  • Till date this one is the toughest examination to be held on the planet. Generally students have to sit for this test at least twice or thrice in order to succeed. The Master Sommelier Diploma Exam consists of 3 sections- theory, service and blind tasting. Even the best students who manage to qualify in the 1st two sections generally fail in the blind tasting section and are required to repeat again in the next year. Don’t think the career of a wine taster is all about fun. The applicants are not just required to identify the variant of the grape but even the area and the year in which it was grown!

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