In today’s world, with millions and billions of people, the competition for a higher education from a premier institute is cutthroat. There are various prized universities, and many dream offers which accompany it. A bright future is certain if you have an engineering degree from MIT or a law degree from Harvard. But, ever notice all the good stuff always comes when it’s been assumed you actually are in the institute? What about the part where you get admitted into such an institution? Nobody tells you that, because this is where one has to bear the brunt. From the JEE advanced in India to the All Souls prize exam in London, here is a list of the fifteen most difficult exams all over the world.
15. IES (Indian Engineering Services)
This is a four-stage, combined competitive exam held in India, conducted by the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). The four stages comprise of a General Aptitude Test, an Objective Technical paper, Conventional Technical paper, and an Interview. The number of engineers has also seen a huge bump, as a total vacancy of 434 in 2010 has increased to 763 vacancies in 2013. This is one of the most sought after exams to be cleared, as the jobs offered are extremely lucrative.
14. GRE (Graduate Record Exams)
This is a standardised exam held by the ETS (Educational Testing Services) since 1949, and is required to be cleared for admission in many different universities in the US. The exam aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study. The ETS significantly overhauled the exam process in 2011, splitting the exam into sections which gauge the performance of applicants in the first round of verbal and math skill, and present the second section accordingly. It retained most of the characteristics of its predecessor. They also changed the scoring scale from 130 to 170. This is one of the major exams for many graduate students across the world.
13. USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination)
The USMLE is a multi-part examination held in the United States. This examination grants a Physician with an M.D. to practice medicine in the country. It is conducted by the FSMB (Federation of State Medical Boards) and the NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners). The exam is a three-part process, which tests the knowledge and ability to apply medical knowledge in medicine. This is by far one of the toughest exams conducted in the US, with the applicants facing a huge amount of pressure in the ordeal to succeed in this exam.
12. LNAT (National Admissions Test of Law)
This is an admissions aptitude test conducted in the UK for law, with nine participating universities. The test is 2 hours 25 minutes long, and is aimed at measuring reading comprehension and logical reasoning skills. There is a reading portion, followed by an essay. It is a very prestigious exam, with the average score of entrants being 22.3/42 in the exam conducted in 2014/15. Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
11. CCIE (Cisco Certified Inter-networking Expert)
The CCIE is a certification offered by Cisco to network engineers based on their ability to plan, operate and troubleshoot complex, converged network infrastructures on a wide variety of Cisco equipment. Though it is a technical certificate, this is one of the toughest exams to pass. Cisco claims less than 3% of their own engineers and less than 1% of the network engineers worldwide receive this certification. The process to obtain this certificate is costly and time consuming. An engineer obtains this certificate upon passing a written qualification test, followed by a hands=on lab exam. All in all, this is an expensive exam which tests the limits of the knowledge of network engineer. Sounds fun,
10. GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering)
The GATE exam is held all over India, which is required to be passed for admission in an ME or M.Tech in various premier colleges in India. It is jointly conducted by seven IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) and IIS (Indian Institute of Sciences). The examination is extremely tough, a fact which is evident as the PSU (Publis Sector Undertaking) use an applicants GATE score to shortlist the number of entrants. Out of 8,04,463 people who took the exam, only 1,21,060 got through (15.05% of the total applicants). Undoubtedly, this is one of the toughest exams all over the world.
9. GAOKAO or NCEE (National College Entrance Exam)
The NCEE is an annual academic examination held in China. This exam is the sole obstacle between a student and most of the colleges at the undergraduate level. Since 2001, age restrictions to take this exam has been lifted. Most students, however, take the exam during the last year of their high school. The process varies across the different provinces in China. In 2006, a staggering 8.8 million people took admissions in institutes through the exam, the total intake in colleges being 9.5 million. These statistics prove the difficulty of this exam, and also gives an idea of where the stereotypical (and slightly racist) Asian memes come from.
8. California Bar Exam
California conducts what is considered the United States’ most difficult bar examination, the California Bar Exam, twice a year (in February and July). The net time of the exam is eighteen hours, spread over three days. The first day has three essay questions in the morning, and a performance test in the afternoon. The second day has applicants answering 100 Multi-state Bar Questions in the morning and afternoon each. The third day follows suit with the first one. This exam has the lowest success rate of any exam held in the US, with a success rate varying between 35-55%. This is enough to grasp the difficulty of this exam.
Mensa is the largest and the oldest high IQ society in the world. The members of this society are the people who score 98th percentile (or higher) on a standardized, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test, such as the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales. Most IQ tests are designed to have an average score of 100, with a standard deviation of 15. According to these digits, the requirement to be a member of this organisation is a 130 on the tests. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.
6. CA-Chartered Accountancy Exam
The CA exam is a three-level exam conducted in India by the ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India). The first level is the CPT (Common Proficiency Test). CPT covers four basic subjects, ie, Fundamentals of Accounting, Mercantile Laws, Economics and Quantitative Aptitude. The second level is the IPCC (Integrated Professional Competence Course). The IPCC has a total of seven subjects which it encompasses, split into groups of four and three. The final exam, unceremoniously called the CA Final Examination, is where all the blood, sweat and tears merge to give forth one of the toughest exam in the world. The success rate of this exam varies from 8-16%
5. JEE (Joint Entrance Examination)
This is an all-India engineering entrance exam which was conducted by the Joint Seat Allocation Authority (2015) in 2015. It is split into two separate exams, which are further divided into two tests. The first level of the exam is the JEE Mains, which encompasses the NITs, IIITs, CFTIs and the IIEST, Shibpur, for its dual degree program. The second tier of the exam is the JEE Advanced. Only the short listed applicants from JEE Mains are allowed to write this exam. The Advanced is required to pass to gain a seat in any one of the IITs and the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad. 13.03 lakh people appeared for the examination in 2015, out of which only the top 1.5 lakh were eligible to give the Advanced exam. This is difficult to clear for the sheer number of applicants and the quota system which is in effect.
4. UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)
The fifth entry from this nation, the UPSC is the body responsible for conducting various exams across India for many government jobs. The exams are typically held in a tier fashion; the first tier being an objective style exam, the second, a subjective one. The final round is the interview. The success rates of these exams are a flimsy 0.1-0.3%, which earns it a spot on this list.
3. CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Exam
The CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) is a professional credential offered internationally by the American-based CFA Institute. A candidate who successfully completes the program and meets other professional requirements is awarded the “CFA charter” and becomes a “CFA charterholder”. The exam has a notorious reputation of being enormously tough, with success rates as low as 32%. An average of four attempts is required to clear this examination. That’s cruel, even by Satan’s standard.
2. All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam
The All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam is conducted by the Oxford University in London. Clearing this exam is necessary to gain a Fellowship in the university. This is widely regarded as being extremely tough due to its vague questions, as essay questions with the topic being a single word was given up until 2010. Each year, only two or less people are granted a Fellowship, making this a shoo in for second place.
1. Master Sommelier Diploma Exam
Till now, this is the toughest exam in the world as per several surveys and researches being made. 40 years ago this exam was first taken in UK and since then only 200 candidates have been selected on the basis of this exam. The authorities select candidates on an unknown basis, which renders people with no tricks upon actually giving the exam. On an average every candidate takes 5-6 attempts of the exam before clearing. The exam is divided into 3 sections: theory, service and blind tasting. The students clear the first two rounds, but fall short in the third round. This is in part due to the questions asked in the round, rumoured to include telling the year and variety of a grape by blind tasting.
So, there it is. Not only confined to students, this list is legitimately every educated person’s instant stress builder. But hey, diamonds are not excavated shiny and brilliant. They are made such through rigorous procedures. Similarly, most of the gems of mankind are made through these tests.