Top 10 Toughest Exams in the World 2023

Top 10 Toughest Exams in the World 2023

Have you ever wondered if there is an exam which is even tougher than IIT JEE and UPSC CSE combined, or have you ever wondered which country conducts the most difficult exams to crack? Let us find out!

List of Top 10 Toughest Exams in the World 2023

  1. Gaokao (China)

The number one on the list is Gaokao and don’t be alarmed if you haven’t heard of it before but it is considered to be the most difficult exam in the whole wide world. The National College Entrance Examination, commonly known as the gaokao, is a standardised college entrance exam held annually in mainland China.

Students prepare for 12 years to sit for this exam and the duration of this exam is 9 hours which occurs for two to three days. Nearly 12 million aspirants participate in this examination annually. Less than 0.25% of students get the qualifying score for admission to some of China’s most elite colleges.

Gaokao is taken by high school students who are in their third/final year of schooling and it is scheduled between June 7 and 9. Subjects covered are math, physics, chemistry, biology and liberal arts.

  1. Union Public Services Commission or UPSC (India)

UPSC is in the top ten lists of most difficult exams in the world. UPSC is the governing body which manages and conducts the following exams on yearly basis –

  • Indian Administrative Service (IAS)
  • Indian Foreign Service (IFS)
  • Indian Police Service (IPS)
  • other Central Services and posts

Around 500,000 students take the prelims for less than 1,000 seats. Lakhs of UPSC books are available in the market to cater to the needs of these aspirants.

Every year more than 500,000 aspirants train themselves for this mountainous task for less than 1,000 seats pan India. But only 0.1% -0.4% of all candidates are able to clear theUPSC Prelims and Mains examination. To pass the last stage means you have to be present in front of the interview panel that will assess your personality, mental alertness, awareness, and reasoning. The UPSC interview is considered to be one of the most difficult interviews in the world.

UPSC CSE is the most highly anticipated examination in all of India and UPSC is well known for keeping this exam as unpredictable as possible.

  1. IIT JEE (India)

IIT JEE needs no introduction; it is well-known that this exam is a tough nut to crack. Preparing for JEE requires a high level of dedication and patience.

According to statistics, in 2022, 155,538 candidates appeared on both JEE Advancedpapers, and a total of 40,712 qualified. Out of these qualified students only 1% is accepted to the IITs in India. Over 1.2 million candidates appear every year, for around 11,000 seats in 23 different IITs.

  1. GRE (USA & Canada)

Graduate Record Examination or GRE is conducted both online and in person by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

If you want to earn a diploma that is internationally recognised then you need to clear GRE in order to get into the most prominent universities around the globe.

GRE is one of the toughest exams in the world and is designed to measure the abilities of students who aspire to study abroad. Around 700,000 students from all parts of the world take this exam every year.

  1. Mensa (England)

As an international organization, Mensa is available to everyone with authorised intelligence test results in the 98th percentile or higher. In other words, to become part of Mensa, you have to score in the top 2% range of the test-takers.

The organization administers one of the most difficult exams in the world to determine the intellect of applicants based on logic, problem-solving, and reasoning.

Mensa’s minimum score is 130, according to an average test score of 100 and a standard deviation of 15.

  1. United States Medical Licensing Examination (USA)

USMLE is a three-step examination for medical licenses in the US. The exam is sponsored by the Federation of State Medical Boards and the National Board of Medical Examiners. The first step of the exam takes eight hours, the second step takes nine hours, and the third step takes two days (seven hours for day one and nine hours for day two, respectively).

The exam tests the candidate’s ability to apply the taught knowledge, concepts, and principles. It also tests the physician’s ability to demonstrate patent-centered skills. Preparations for the exam can take a long time. Candidates usually take 6-12 months to prepare for the Step 1 exam and around 4-7 months to prepare for the Step 2 (Clinical Knowledge) exam.

  1. California Bar Exam (USA)

The California Bar Exam is conducted over a period of two days. This exam contains 5 essay questions to be attempted in one hour, and then there is a 90 minutes performance test and lastly the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), which contains 200 MCQs.

The success rate of passing this exam remains between 50%-53% every year. A total of 7,164 applicants completed the July 2022 General Bar Exam, 77.8% of which were first-time applicants. The passing rate among first-time applicants stood at 62%, while the pass rate for repeat applicants was 17% overall.

  1. GATE (India)

GATE is aimed at engineering students who want to study for a master’s degree in India. This exam is accepted by prestigious Indian institutes, including IITs, IISc, and IIMs.

This computer-based, three-hour examination is held in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates. It covers areas such as engineering, mathematics, science, and general aptitude.

Nearly 800,000 to 1 million candidates apply for the exam. An average of 16–18% of them qualify for the test.

  1. CFA (USA)

CFA stands for Certified Financial Analyst which is awarded by the CFA Institute – USA and not by ICFAI University of India since 2012 as per the Supreme Court ruling.

If we talk about the test’s difficulty level, then this test is second to none among all tests and entrance exams related to all finance courses around the world. Almost 100,000 people from all over the globe fill the application to take the CFA exam on annual basis.

This test requires a candidate to clear all of its three levels: I, II & III. Furthermore, statistics suggest that of all the students who apply only

  • 36-38% students are able to clear Level I
  • 37-39% students are able to clear Level II
  • 45-46% students are able to clear Level III

Also, a candidate needs to have a minimum of Bachelor’s degree with 4 years of work experience. The exam tests candidates on their knowledge of the necessary financial equipment and strategies.

Each level of the exam contains 240 questions which are to be answered in 6 hours and all three levels must be cleared in order to pass the exam.

  1. Common Admission Test or CAT (India)

Cracking CAT exam is a great dealfor anyone who dreams of doing a MBA in India. Cracking CAT Exam is crucial if the candidate in questions wants to join the Indian Institute of Management (IIM). MBA or a diploma from these institutes is equivalent to having a PhD in the same area.

The CAT, or Common Admission Test, is used by 13 colleges and universities to select applicants for their business administration programs. Section-wise cut-off and negative marking make it even harder to clear.

CAT is now a computer-based test and candidates are given 150 minutes time to complete it. Around 200,000 aspirants participate in this fierce competition for 5000 or so seats offered by the 20 IIMs which are functioning in India currently.



Which is the No 1 toughest exam in the world?

Answer: Gaokao is considered to be the most difficult exam in the whole wide world. The National College Entrance Examination, commonly known as the gaokao, is a standardised college entrance exam held annually in mainland China.

Which is the toughest exam in the India 2023?

Answer: UPSC is in the top ten list of most difficult exams in the world. It is considered to be the toughest exam in the India as of now.

What are the top 10 toughest exams in the world?

Answer: Here’s the list of the top toughest exams in the world:

  1. Gaokao (China)
  2. Union Public Services Commission (India)
  3. IIT JEE (India)
  4. GRE (USA & Canada)
  5. Mensa (England)
  6. United States Medical Licensing Examination (USA)
  7. California Bar Exam (USA)
  8. GATE (India)
  9. CFA (India)
  10. Common Admission Test (India)


Which country conducts the most difficult exams?

Answer: As per our compilation of the most difficult exams, it can be said that India is the country that conducts the most number of most difficult exams in the world:

  • Gaokao (China)
  • Union Public Services Commission (India)
  • IIT JEE (India)
  • GRE (USA & Canada)
  • Mensa (England)
  • United States Medical Licensing Examination (USA)
  • California Bar Exam (USA)
  • GATE (India)
  • CFA (India)
  • Common Admission Test (India)

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