The Hardest Exams In The World

We’ve all been there. You spend months – or even years – studying for one exam, only to turn over the question paper and discover that you have absolutely no clue about the topic in discussion. After copious amounts of sweating and even tears, the mortal panic starts to subside and familiar words begin to drift into view; the brain whirs into life, and a torrent of crammed knowledge can finally be relieved onto the paper. Here are some of the world’s hardest exams!

1. Indian Engineering Services Examination

The Indian Engineering Services (IES) exam is widely regarded as the toughest in India, never heard of it before? No me either. The number of candidates outweighing the number of available jobs by a staggering margin, for example in 2010 there were over 150,000 hopeful candidates that competed for just 400 vacant positions. The exam itself consists of a two-part written test covering a whopping 12 hours plus a personality test and a formal interview.

2. Mensa Admission Test

Now this I have heard of! However I didn’t know that the youngest member of Mensa is 2 years and 8 months old and the oldest member is 102! Only a select few will do well in the admission test for Mensa, it is well known to be the oldest and biggest high IQ organization on the planet. Though membership does not confer the same benefits or advantages as some of the other exams on our list, individuals get to join an elite and extremely clever club.

3. Chartered Financial Analyst Exam

The Chartered Financial Analyst (also known as the CFA) exam – which has been dubbed as Wall Street’s hardest exam! It currently sees less than a fifth of entrants pass on their first attempt, not to mention that there are actually three separate exams to be taken –  these tests are only allowed to be sat on one specific day of the year!

4. California Bar Exam

We all know law one of the most difficult subjects to compete in, but not only is the exam extremely tough due to gruelling questions and tremendously low pass rate but they were also sued for the exams being ‘unnecessarily difficult’. The actual exam is split over 3 days and consists of over 18 hours of exam style essay questions and performance tests. So how I don’t fancy my chances!

5. Gaokao

This is China’s National Higher Education Entrance Examination, also known as Gaokao (why…I don’t know) if you wish to go to college then this is the only way you are going to be able to. To prove that the test is so important, during the Beijing Olympic Games the Olympic relay torch relay was rerouted to avoid any distractions. The pressure of these exams are so intense that they have been associates wi9th depression, fainting and a mass increase of youth suicide rates in China. According to figures from the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO), 30 percent of the world’s suicides take place in China, where 250,000 people take their own lives annually. In fact 56% of all female suicides worldwide take place in China.

6. All Souls College Examination Fellowship

Comprised of a written exam of four three-hour papers, the Fellowship Examination at Oxford University’s All Souls College is widely observed as one of the hardest examinations in the entire world. The notorious fifth paper is one that strike fear into many, in which candidates were required to write an essay response to a single word. These test are parting built around an exam builder & marking software that is completed online. This element of the exam was dropped in 2010, but the test remains intimidating, with just a shocking two successful candidates from the 50-plus field in any year.

7. Master Sommelier Diploma Exam

The first Master Sommelier Diploma exam took place in 1969 in the U.K. Since then, a mere 202 candidates have made the grade to ascend to the wine world’s highest professional tier – who would have thought that wine would be involved in one of the world’s hardest exams – how ironic!  There are three sections that need to be passed in order to be able to sit the exam and each section costs $795 to enter, and while failed tests can be retaken, all three sections must be passed within a three-year window, otherwise its back to square one.