Top 10 Toughest Exams in the World 2023| Helpful Tips on How to Scale Through

Examinations have always scared the hell out of students, even the brightest ones.

We lose our sanity and logical thinking when exams come knocking on the door.

But what if I told you there are more challenging exams you have never encountered before? You may wonder, “Who can help me write my essay for me for my toughest exams?” or “Whom can I pay to write my papers from scratch?”.

Check out these top 10 most challenging exams in the world.

Every other activity except sleeping and eating is forgotten before exams, and a mere look at the timetable of our examinations sends a chill down the spine, such is its severity.

From a very early age, we are introduced to exams that do not leave us for a very long time.

First, there are school exams, then high school exams, then college and university entrance exams and interviews, and by the time we get a job, we are already planning to leave and get a better one. Another exam! This is the bitter truth of our lives!

The competition for getting into some of the world’s most prestigious institutions or getting lucrative jobs is fierce. But as the world population continues to increase, more and more students are taking these exams.

Competition has become more significant than ever, and students are under so much pressure to get into the top institutes that sometimes they commit suicide when they fail. Here we look at the top 10 most challenging exams in the world.

How to Prepare for the World’s Toughest Exams in 2023/2024

Preparing for an exam is fun when you have a clear goal in mind, a goal to become something special in life. For all that, the exam acts as a gateway. Passing your exams would be like getting one step closer to your dream.

Please, I want you to note these, No exam is tough or easy; it’s only in your mind. Just remember one thing you have to do for yourself. Create a strong desire to achieve your objectives. Just be consistent and determined towards your preparation, and I am sure you can crack the exam with a good rank or marks. Apart from the above-mentioned, you can also follow these tips:

  1. Know the syllabus and exam pattern of the exam.
  2. Solve past years’ papers as much as you can.
  3. Have study buddies.
  4. Get your doubts clear.
  5. Believe in yourself.

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What are the Top 10 Toughest Exams in the World in 2023?

The top 10 most challenging exams in the world are

  • National Higher Education Entrance Examination (Gaokao)
  • Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)
  • All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam
  • Common Admission Test (CAT)
  • Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IITJEE)
  • Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT)
  • National Admission Test for Law (LNAT)
  • Mensa

#10 Mensa


Mensa is a society for people with the highest IQs. How much percentile do you require? Let’s say 98 is the minimum. With its locations worldwide and headquarters in Carthorse, Lincolnshire, England, Mensa has over 110,000 knowledgeable members.

It is also the only test that is not age-restricted. Hence, the youngest member is a mere 2 and 5 months old with a great IQ of 141, and the oldest member is 102 years old.

Roland Berrill, an Australian barrister, and a British scientist and lawyer, Dr. Lancelot War, came up with the idea of a society composed of people who ranked highly on Intelligent Quotient.

In 1946 they laid the groundwork for a society comprising intellectuals from over 50 countries just six decades into its formation. What started at Lincoln College in Oxford became the beacon of identifying, encouraging, and stimulating human intelligence.

#9 National Admission Test for Law (LNAT)

National Admission Test for Law (LNAT)

LNAT, or the National Admission Test for Law, is an aptitude test for the main law universities in the United Kingdom. Currently, over 9 law universities have adopted it. Established on the leading requirement of Oxford University, LNAT was aimed at a better sorting process, as it was difficult for law universities to choose between applicants with only slightly varied A-Level scores.

The exam is not restricted primarily to the U.K. citizens. Hence, all applicants, natural or overseas, must apply for it to be considered for law universities based in the United Kingdom.

This rigorous 150-minute exam tests the applicant’s reading comprehension and logical reasoning skills. There are 10 sets in the reading section, each with 2 to 5 questions; one includes an essay that could take up to 40 grueling minutes to complete and is basically on open-ended topics concerning societal issues, particularly those about the student strata of society.

#8 College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT)

College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT)
College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT)

CSAT, or College Scholastic Ability Test, is also known as Suneung in South Korea. This is one of the most exhaustive standardized tests in existence. The importance of the test, which is held every year on the second Thursday of November, is demonstrated by the fact that on the test day, all employees working for the South Korean government are directed to arrive late at work to avoid traffic jams, which could cause an applicant to be delayed.

South Korea has the highest suicide rate in the OCED countries, and quite a considerable percentage of most of the youth’s suicide cases are due to despair and depression, resulting from the disappointment in CSAT. The seriousness of the exam is such that the students start preparing for it as early as elementary school. Since the country has the highest number of post-secondary degree holders, the pressure of expectations is unmatchable.

#7 Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is a standard test to seek a seat in many American graduate schools and other English-speaking countries. So what makes it more challenging is the examination’s difficulty level and the stiff competition. The Education Testing Service, or ETS, came up with it in 1949. The GRE is rated among the top 10 toughest exams in the World.

It is a computer-based examination that tests the candidates primarily on critical thinking, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. Though the importance of this examination as an admissions criterion differs from institute to institute, some consider it a mere formality, while others consider it an essential selection basis.

#6 Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

The LSAT, or Law School Admission Test, is held in the United States, Canada, and Australia. This test stretches over half a day. It assesses the applicant’s reading comprehension, logical analysis, and verbal reasoning attainments.

The representatives from Harvard and Yale Law Schools came together on the initiative of Frank Bowels, Admission Director of Columbia Law School, to draft the pattern of the LSAT exam in 1947 while the first exam was finally held in 1948.

Held by the Law School Admission Council, passing this test gives the applicant an edge over his/her GPA. Although it has existed since 1948, the prevalent form, however, was incorporated in the year 1991. An applicant has just 3 chances in 2 years to clear the exam.

The test evaluates the applicant based on five sections, which include multiple-choice questions and an aptitude test. The LSAT is rated as one of the toughest exams in the World

#5 Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IITJEE)

Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IITJEE)

IIT is one of the premier engineering institutes in the world, and the entrance exam for it is the IITJEE or The Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (or simply JEE).

It is held in two phases: JEE main and JEE advanced. It has an admission ratio of 10,000 to 5,000, thus making it one of the most challenging engineering exams in the world. Only one out of every fifty applicants is admitted to IIT every year.

Many students who do not get through IIT either try again or seek admission to MIT, Harvard, Princeton, and Caltech, even on a full scholarship. The aspirants claim that there is nothing beyond IIT.
The exam is objective and divided into two question papers of 3 hours each.

Both sections measure the candidate’s physics, chemistry, and math skills and their comprehensive reasoning and analytical abilities. The students saw preparing from as early as fifth grade and foregoing extracurricular activities with an added marathon of more than 8 hours of diligent studies as the quickest path to the institute of their dreams.

#4 Common Admission Test (CAT)

World most toughest exam

Established on the initiation of the planning commission of India, the IIM or Indian Institute of Management is the premier business school of India and amongst the top 10 most challenging exams in the world. It offers postgraduate, doctoral, and executive education programs, and even the diploma and fellowship from this institute are at par with MBA and Ph.D., respectively.

13 institutes admit students to business administration programs based on the CAT, or Common Admission Test.
This test scores the applicant based on four skills: quantitative reasoning, data interpretation, verbal ability, and logical reasoning.

What makes it all the tougher is the negative marking and section-wise cutoff! Due to the rising number of applicants every year, the test is now held in a window of approximately three weeks in October and November. The test itself is computer-based and precisely 150 minutes long.

#3 All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam

hardest exams in the world

All the entrance exams in the world test students and churn out geniuses, but the All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam tests geniuses and brings out the cleverest people on earth. Only the top 500 Oxford graduates who qualify with first-class honors and students from other universities with equivalent academic achievements are eligible to take this exam.

The Examination Fellowship is for even-numbered years, and two fellows are elected yearly. We want to underscore that although selecting none is rare, the college has awarded a single fellowship on many occasions.

#2 Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)

Many exceptionally bright children who pass the CAT after IIT-JEE choose to take the UPSC exams as well. And many of them who term CAT and JEE as “cakewalks” deem UPSC the most challenging exam they have faced. Recruitment to the IAS, or Indian Administrative Service, is based on an exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission of India or UPSC.

The exam is known as the UPSC exam or simply “Civils.” Working for the government is tantamount to any job in the corporate or technological arenas.
The exam is conducted in two phases: the preliminary, an objective examination, and the main, which includes a thoroughly subjective examination and an interview.

Of the 3 lakh students applying yearly, only 16,000 make it to the final exam, and 1000 join the Indian Administrative Service. The exam is held annually, the preliminary in March and the main in December, so the candidates who have cleared the objective-type preliminary examination have only 8 grueling months to prepare themselves for Mains and the interview.

Without further argument, you will agree that UPSC is one of the hardest exams in the world.

#1 National Higher Education Entrance Examination (Gaokao)

National Higher Education Entrance Examination (Gaokao)

The National Higher Education Entrance Examination, better known as “Gaokao,” is perhaps one of the most important landmarks in a Chinese teenager’s life. This exam is rated as the hardest test in the world.

To say the least, it won’t be an overstatement to say that one’s academic future wholly depends on one’s performance in “Gaokao.” It is a pre-requisite for admission to all the higher education universities in China.

The vehemence of this exam is such that “n” of documentaries have been made on this subject, recording the mental stress a teenager preparing for Gaokao has to undergo. In 2006, more than 7 million people applied for it each year; however, the number quickly surpassed 9.5 million.
Being a high-school level and pre-undergraduate level exam, it encompasses all subjects.

But what puts it on our list is the psychological stress that comes with it. It is not just the affected students but also their teachers and parents. Cases of suicide, nervous breakdowns, and clinical depression see a jaw-dropping rise during this duration.

Some parents are reported to have to get their female wards to take birth control pills to avoid undergoing menstruation.

Conclusion: Top 10 toughest exams in the world

Although these exams are really difficult, people still sit for them successfully and pass.

So, if you intend to sit for any of these difficult exams, there is an assurance that you, too, can excel in it.

If you have more questions regarding this topic, kindly leave them in the comment section.

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