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Toughest Exam in the World 2024, List of Top-10 Toughest Exams

Examinations are a universal part of academic and professional life, but some tests stand out for their difficulty and rigor. These exams are not merely assessments of knowledge; they are crucibles that challenge the mental and emotional fortitude of those who dare to attempt them. From medical licensing exams to civil service assessments, the world’s toughest exams demand dedication, perseverance, and exceptional intellect. Here, we present a definitive list of the top 10 toughest exams in the world.

World’s Toughest Exams 2024

As of 2024, the world’s toughest exams include the IIT-JEE for admission to India’s prestigious Institutes of Technology, China’s Gaokao determining university placements, the CFA exams for financial analysts, and the UPSC Civil Services Exam in India. The California Bar Exam challenges aspiring lawyers, while Mensa’s IQ Test gauges exceptional intelligence. The JLPT assesses Japanese language proficiency, while the USMLE tests medical practitioners in the United States. These exams demand rigorous preparation and extraordinary skill to succeed.

Toughest in the World 2024

China’s Gaokao, a pinnacle of academic rigor, stands as one of the world’s toughest exams. Administered annually over two days, this National College Entrance Exam is a crucible for high school seniors seeking undergraduate studies. With a staggering 12 million candidates enduring its challenges, Gaokao’s grueling 9-hour duration engulfs the nation. Success in Gaokao promises not just academic advancement but societal status, rendering it a defining moment in China’s educational landscape.

Top-10 Toughest Exams in the World By 2024

Gaokao exam of China which has the duration of 2 days holds the title of the toughest exam in the world followed by IIT JEE Advanced, Civil Services Exam (CSE), GATE, and GRE.

Here is the list of top-10 toughest exams of the world by 2024:

Toughest Exams in the World 2024
Rank Exam Name Country Duration Purpose
1. Gaokao China 2 days College Entrance Exam for high school
2. IIT JEE Advanced India 3 hours Undergraduate admission to IITs
3. Civil Services Exam (CSE) India 2-3 hours Recruitment to administrative posts
4. GATE India 3 hours Post Graduate studies admission, recruitment
5. GRE Accepted Worldwide 3 hours 45 minutes Admission to MBA MS Courses
6. Master Sommelier Diploma USA Varies Certified Sommelier
7. ICAI CA Exams India 2-3 hours Training and certifying Chartered Accountants
8. CCIE USA 2 hours Technical certifications for networking professionals
9. Mensa International Worldwide Society for the top 2% intelligence
10. CFA Worldwide Varies Designation for investment professionals

Toughest Exam in the World – Gaokao

Country: China

Duration: 2 days

Purpose: College Entrance Exam for High School

No. of Candidates: 12 million/year

Regarded as one of the most challenging examinations globally, the National College Entrance Exam (NCEE), also known as Gaokao, stands as a formidable hurdle for high school seniors aspiring to enter college. Administered annually over a span of two days, this pivotal examination brings the entire nation to a halt. Held typically in early June, success in the Gaokao exam opens doors to promising academic and professional opportunities, along with favorable prospects for marriage.

World’s Second Most Tough Exam – IIT JEE Advanced

Country: India

Duration: 3 hours

Purpose: UG Admission to Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)

No. of Candidates: 1,55,538

Ranked among the most challenging examinations in India, the IIT JEE Advanced stands as the country’s second toughest exam. Aspiring candidates vying for admission to the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) must undertake the rigorous IIT-JEE Advanced assessment. This national-level examination serves as the sole gateway for securing admission to undergraduate programs leading to degrees in Engineering, Science, or Architecture. Notably, the admission process for IITs entails a comprehensive selection procedure, requiring candidates to qualify both the JEE Mains and JEE Advanced exams.

Third Most Difficult Exam in the World – Civil Services Exam (CSE)

Country: India

Duration: 2-3 hours

Purpose: Recruitment to administrative posts such as IAS, IPS, and IFS.

No. of Candidates: 10,93,948

Regarded as the third toughest exam globally, the Civil Services Exam, also known as the IAS exam, is a pinnacle for Indian aspirants aspiring to serve their nation in administrative roles. Administered by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), this national-level examination comprises three stages: Prelims, Mains, and a rigorous interview round. Successful candidates secure positions in prestigious services such as the Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS), and Central Civil Services. The significance of this exam is underscored by the fact that IAS officers helm ministries and departments across union and state governments, lending it unparalleled prestige and difficulty.

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Which is the toughest exam in the world?

Gaokao exam of China which has the duration of 2 days holds the title of the toughest exam in the world.

Which is the second toughest exam in the world?

Ranked among the most challenging examinations in India, the IIT JEE Advanced stands as the country's second toughest exam.

Which is the toughest exam in India?

The toughest exam in India is UPSC CSE, held annually by the Union Public Service Commission for recruiting candidates into civil services such as IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS, and associated roles.

Name the top-5 toughest exams in the world.

The top-5 toughest exams in the world are: Gaokao, IIT JEE Advanced, Civil Services Exam (CSE), GATE, and GRE.

About the Author

My role as a content writer specializing in current affairs at Adda247 involves meticulously researching and crafting compelling articles aimed at guiding and informing candidates preparing for National and State Level Competitive Government Exams. With a dedication to educational excellence, I strive to keep our candidates abreast of the latest developments and trends in current affairs. By providing insightful and engaging content, I aim to ensure that aspiring candidates are well-prepared and informed for their examinations.