Top 10 Toughest Exams in the World 2024

In academic and professional achievement, some exams stand as formidable gatekeepers to success, challenging the intellect, perseverance, and determination of those who dare to face them. These are the crucibles where dreams are forged, where candidates are separated from aspirants, and where careers are built or broken.

From the fiercely competitive IIT-JEE in India to the intellectually demanding All Souls Prize Fellowship Examination at Oxford and the mentally grueling bar exams in various countries, the world hosts a range of formidable trials. Join us as we journey through the top 10 toughest exams in the world in 2024, where the pursuit of excellence knows no bounds.

10. CFA

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam is a rigorous and prestigious qualification for finance professionals worldwide. The CFA Institute administers it and consists of three levels, each requiring a distinct examination.

Here’s an in-depth look at the CFA exam:

  • Level I: This level focuses on fundamental knowledge and comprehension. It covers ethics and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, portfolio management, and wealth planning. Level I involves multiple-choice questions and requires a deep understanding of core financial concepts.
  • Level II: This level delves into asset valuation. It focuses on applying the knowledge gained in Level I and requires candidates to analyze and value assets. The exam includes vignettes and item sets, testing candidates on real-world scenarios.
  • Level III: The final level emphasizes portfolio management and wealth planning. It involves constructing and managing portfolios, and it also includes built-response (essay) questions along with item sets.

The CFA exams are known for their low pass rates, making them one of the most challenging financial exams in the world. To prepare, candidates typically spend hundreds of hours studying and often take several years to pass all three levels. Achieving a CFA charter demonstrates a high level of expertise in the field. It unlocks many career opportunities in finance, investment banking, and asset management.

The CFA designation is highly regarded by employers and clients alike, making it a valuable investment in one’s financial career. However, the dedication and commitment required to obtain it reflect the rigor and prestige of this globally recognized qualification.

9. Mensa International

A Glimpse into the High IQ Society Mensa International is a unique and globally recognized organization that brings together individuals with exceptionally high IQs. Founded in 1946, Mensa aims to foster intellectual and social interaction among its members while celebrating their remarkable cognitive abilities.

Membership in Mensa is open to persons who score in the top 2% of the population on an approved intelligence test. The society provides a platform for high-achieving minds to connect, engage in intellectual discussions, and participate in various events and activities.

Mensa members come from diverse backgrounds and professions, which creates a vibrant and stimulating community. The organization organizes regular gatherings, seminars, and special interest groups, allowing members to exchange ideas and pursue shared passions.

Beyond intellectual camaraderie, Mensa is committed to promoting educational and charitable activities. It offers scholarships for gifted students and supports various local and global philanthropic initiatives. Mensa’s famous logo, the “Mensa Mind,” symbolizes the society’s commitment to promoting the development and application of

intelligence. While Mensa may not be for everyone, it serves as a testament to the importance of recognizing and nurturing extraordinary intellectual talent and fostering a community where the pursuit of knowledge is celebrated.


The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) program is a renowned and highly respected certification in networking and information technology. Offered by Cisco Systems, the CCIE certification is recognized globally. It is considered one of the most prestigious credentials for networking professionals. A CCIE certification demonstrates an individual’s expertise in designing, implementing, managing, and troubleshooting complex network infrastructures.

Cisco offers several tracks within the CCIE program, including Routing and Switching, Data Center, Security, Collaboration, and more. Each track focuses on specific aspects of networking technology, allowing professionals to specialize in their areas of interest. The CCIE certification process is known for its rigor. It includes a written qualification exam, followed by an intensive hands-on lab exam. The lab exam is particularly demanding, requiring candidates to configure, diagnose, and troubleshoot complex network scenarios. Achieving a CCIE certification is a significant accomplishment, and it is often considered a career milestone for network engineers and IT professionals.

Employers highly seek CCIE-certified individuals, as they possess the skills and knowledge needed to design and maintain intricate network infrastructures, ensuring the reliability and security of data communications. The CCIE program’s global recognition and challenging nature make it a benchmark for excellence in networking, attracting professionals who aspire to be at the forefront of technology and innovation.

7. ICAI CA Exams

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) Chartered Accountancy (CA) exams stand as the gateway to one of the most esteemed and sought-after professions in the country. The ICAI CA exams are a rigorous series of assessments that challenge candidates academically and professionally.

Here’s an in-depth look at these exams:

  • Foundation Course: The journey begins with the Foundation Course, designed for students fresh out of high school. It lays the groundwork in four subjects: Accounting, Mercantile Laws, General Economics, and Quantitative Aptitude.
  • Intermediate Course: This is a significant step, dividing into two groups. The first group covers Accounting, Corporate Laws, Cost and Management Accounting, and Taxation, and the second group includes Enterprise Information Systems, Advanced Accounting, Auditing and Assurance, Strategic Management, and Financial Management.
  • Final Course: The final phase encompasses two groups again. The first group focuses on Advanced Auditing and Professional Ethics, Financial Reporting, Strategic Financial Management, and Corporate and Economic Laws. In contrast, the second group dives into Direct Tax Laws, Advanced Management Accounting, Information Systems Control and Audit, and Indirect Tax Laws.

The exams are known for their difficulty and require dedicated preparation. Success in the ICAI CA exams opens doors to various career opportunities in accounting, finance, and business advisory services. Achieving the prestigious “Chartered Accountant” designation is a testament to one’s commitment and expertise in the field, commanding respect and trust in the financial world. The ICAI CA exams, though challenging, offer a rewarding path to those seeking excellence in accounting and financial management.

6. Master Sommelier Diploma Exam

The Master Sommelier Diploma Exam, often regarded as the Holy Grail of wine certifications, represents the apex of wine expertise and service. Administered by various organizations, such as the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Master Sommeliers of America, this examination rigorously assesses candidates’ mastery of all things wine.

  • Four Crucial Components: The exam typically consists of four key components: a theory examination, a practical service exam, a blind tasting of wines, and a rigorous assessment of candidates’ wine knowledge and service skills. The blind tasting is particularly challenging, demanding an unparalleled ability to identify grape varieties, regions, and vintages.
  • Intensive Preparation: Preparing for the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam is a grueling process. Aspiring candidates often dedicate years to studying wine theory, tasting, and perfecting the nuances of wine service. The exam is well known for its low pass rates, and many candidates make multiple attempts before achieving success.
  • Career Advantages: Earning the Master Sommelier designation opens doors to prestigious positions in the hospitality and wine industry, such as wine director roles in top restaurants and hotels. It also establishes credibility and recognition within the global wine community.

The Master Sommelier Diploma Exam stands as a symbol of dedication, passion, and an unwavering commitment to the art and science of wine. Successfully navigating this challenging examination is a testament to an individual’s expertise and a ticket to the upper echelons of the wine world.

Also, Read>> Top 10 Countries with Highest Literacy Rate 2023

5. GRE

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a methodized exam that holds the key to advanced education opportunities worldwide. Aspiring graduate students from various disciplines take the GRE to gain admission to graduate programs in universities across the globe.

Here’s an in-depth look at this influential examination:

  • Structure: The GRE consists of three main sections – Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The Verbal and Quantitative sections assess one’s proficiency in reading comprehension, critical thinking, and mathematical reasoning. The analytical Writing section evaluates a candidate’s ability to construct coherent arguments.
  • Admissions Tool: Many universities use GRE scores as a significant component of their admission criteria. A strong performance can significantly enhance one’s chances of acceptance into competitive graduate programs.
  • Preparation: Success in the GRE requires diligent preparation. Numerous resources are available, including study guides, practice tests, and prep courses, to help candidates maximize their scores.
  • Global Accessibility: The GRE is offered in more than 160 countries, making it accessible to students worldwide. Additionally, the test is available in paper and computer formats, providing flexibility for test-takers.
  • Scoring: The GRE is scored on a scale of 0 to 6 for Analytical Writing and 130 to 170 for the Verbal and Quantitative sections. Scores are typically valid for five years. The GRE is a critical step toward advanced education, a standard benchmark for graduate program admissions. With proper preparation and dedication, candidates can use their GRE scores to unlock doors to various graduate-level opportunities and academic pursuits, shaping their future careers and educational aspirations.


The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) is a prestigious examination key to unlocking opportunities for engineering and science students. GATE is a highly competitive and comprehensive test revered for its role in shaping the future of thousands of aspirants.

Here’s an in-depth exploration of this influential examination:

  • Academic Benchmark: GATE is conducted jointly by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are recognized as one of the most challenging and prestigious examinations in the country. It is an essential benchmark for evaluating a student’s understanding and expertise in engineering and science disciplines.
  • Diverse Disciplines: GATE covers various engineering and science subjects, from electrical and civil engineering to biotechnology and computer science. This diversity makes it a versatile examination, attracting students from diverse backgrounds.
  • Admission to Higher Education: GATE scores are widely accepted by leading Indian universities and institutions for postgraduate and doctoral programs. Successful candidates can pursue Master’s degrees (M.Tech) and Ph.D. programs in their chosen fields.

Research and Career

  • Opportunities: Apart from higher education, GATE scores open doors to research positions, public sector jobs, and lucrative career opportunities in the government and private sectors. Several public sector undertakings (PSUs) consider GATE scores for recruitment.
  • Global Recognition: GATE scores are internationally recognized, enabling students to pursue advanced studies and research opportunities abroad. The GATE exam is a stepping stone to academic and professional success for countless engineering and science enthusiasts. Its competitive nature and comprehensive coverage make it a test of true merit and an invaluable asset for those aspiring to excel in their academic and professional pursuits.

3. UPSC Exam

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination is an esteemed and grueling process, often described as one of India’s toughest competitive exams. It is a gateway to the country’s prestigious civil services, including the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), and other elite positions.

Here’s an in-depth exploration of the UPSC exam:

  • Comprehensive Stages: The UPSC examination consists of three stages: the Preliminary Examination, the Main Examination, and the Interview (Personality Test). Each step rigorously evaluates candidates’ knowledge, analytical skills, and personality traits.
  • Extensive Syllabus: The UPSC syllabus encompasses many subjects, including history, geography, economics, politics, and more. It also tests candidates on their general knowledge and current affairs awareness.
  • Competitive Nature: The UPSC exam witnesses intense competition, with thousands of aspirants from diverse backgrounds vying for a limited number of prestigious positions. The selection process is marked by its low success rate, making it one of the most challenging exams in India.
  • Preparation Journey: Aspiring civil servants often embark on a multi-year preparation journey involving exhaustive study, coaching, and practice tests. Success in the UPSC examination requires not only knowledge but also strong decision-making and problem-solving abilities.
  • National Impact: Those who pass the UPSC exam play vital roles in the governance and administration of India. They become the custodians of public welfare, entrusted with the responsibility of shaping and implementing policies at various levels of government.

In conclusion, the UPSC examination is not just an academic challenge; it is a national aspiration. Success in this exam reflects dedication, commitment, and the ambition to serve the nation. It serves as a beacon for individuals determined to make a difference in India’s governance and public service.

2. IIT JEE Advanced

The Indian Institutes of Technology Joint Entrance Examination (IIT JEE) is an academic rite of passage, a grueling journey undertaken by countless engineering aspirants across India. Widely recognized as one of the toughest and most competitive exams globally, the IIT JEE holds a special place in the hearts of those aspiring to gain admission into India’s premier engineering institutions. Here’s an in-depth exploration of this formidable examination:

  • Structure: The IIT JEE is divided into two levels – JEE Main and JEE Advanced. The JEE Main serves as a qualifying round for the JEE Advanced, which is the final gateway to the prestigious IITs. The exam comprises three sections – Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics, testing candidates on their depth of knowledge and problem-solving skills.

  • Fierce Competition: The IIT JEE witnesses fierce competition, with lakhs of students struggling for a limited number of seats in the IITs. The exam’s low acceptance rate underscores its difficulty and the intense preparation required for success.

  • Academic Prestige: A successful performance in the IIT JEE not only grants access to the IITs but also opens doors to top engineering and technology institutes across India. It symbolizes academic excellence and a testament to a student’s problem-solving abilities.

  • Dedicated Preparation: Aspirants often dedicate years to prepare for the IIT JEE, with access to many study materials, coaching institutes, and mock tests. The preparation journey is grueling and challenging but ultimately rewarding for those who succeed.
  • Global Recognition: The IIT JEE is not only renowned in India but also commands respect and recognition globally, making IIT alums highly sought after in various industries and academic institutions.

In conclusion, the IIT JEE exam is a monumental test of knowledge, skill, and determination. It is a ticket to the world of engineering and technology, where innovation and excellence are celebrated. Succeeding in the IIT JEE is not just an academic achievement; it is a life-changing milestone that propels students toward a future brimming with possibilities.

1. Gaokao Exam

The Gaokao, or the National College Entrance Examination, is a quintessential rite of passage for millions of Chinese students. This rigorous standardized test is renowned for its intensity and importance in determining a student’s educational and professional future.

Here’s an in-depth exploration of the Gaokao exam:

  • Academic Crucible: The Gaokao is a two to three-day examination that covers a range of subjects, including Chinese, mathematics, foreign languages, and sciences. It is the primary criterion for college admissions in China, making it a high-stakes ordeal.
  • Competitive Nature: With millions of students participating each year, the competition for top scores and coveted university placements is fierce. The Gaokao’s significance is reflected in the number of participants and the limited slots available in prestigious institutions.
  • Preparation: The Gaokao requires meticulous and extensive practice. Students often dedicate years to studying, attending preparatory classes, and taking mock exams to enhance their chances of success.
  • Societal Impact: The Gaokao not only determines a student’s college placement but also shapes their future career prospects. Success in this exam is often perceived as a gateway to better job opportunities and social status.
  • National Symbol: The Gaokao is more than just an examination; it is a national symbol of academic excellence and opportunity in China. It underscores the value of education and its role in personal and national advancement. In conclusion, the Gaokao exam is a defining experience for Chinese students, symbolizing their dedication, hard work, and aspirations for a brighter future. It’s not merely an academic evaluation; it is a life-altering event that influences a student’s trajectory and underscores the immense significance of education in Chinese society.


As we conclude our exploration of the top 10 toughest exams in the world in 2024, we hope you’ve found this journey through the crucibles of knowledge and skill both enlightening and inspiring. Whether you’re a student looking to conquer these challenges or simply curious about the feats of human intellect, these toughest exams represent the pinnacle of dedication and determination.

We hope you get to know what is the toughest exams in the world right now. If you have personal experiences or thoughts to share about these exams or any others, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments and insights below. And if you’ve found this article informative, remember to share it with friends, family, or enthusiasts. Together, we can celebrate the pursuit of excellence and the indomitable human spirit.

⚠ 𝗡𝗢𝗧𝗘 The list is subject to change in the future. We will update it accordingly.

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