Updated at: 28-02-2023 - By: Eden Wise


The tests detailed here are among the most challenging in the United States. When we say “a lot of work,” we mean lots of planning, lots of time, and maybe some luck, if you believe in that sort of thing.

Exams, however, are often argued to be a poor proxy for a student’s actual level of knowledge. However, the test is widely used in the United States as a means of determining whether or not an individual possesses the requisite knowledge and skills to proceed to the next level.

It is reasonable to assume that the United States has grown accustomed to the testing and grading system based on test scores over the course of history. Certain people, especially students, experience an overwhelming feeling of dread just before major exams. Some people see it as a challenging but necessary stage of development.

Therefore, in this article, we will examine the Top 10 Toughest US Exams.

Top Hardest Exams In The Us

Top hardest exams in the us


Unrecognizable medical student writes in class workbook

Take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to increase your chances of getting into medical school in the United States, Canada, Australia, or the Caribbean. The test is multiple-choice and evaluates your knowledge and understanding of topics from the natural and social sciences, as well as your ability to solve problems and think critically. Some students dedicate their entire lives to preparing for the 7.5-hour test.


The SAT tests students’ knowledge of concepts taught in their first two years of high school. Therefore, there is little chance that you will gain any useful knowledge by taking the SAT in your junior year. The most difficult aspects of the SAT test are getting used to the format of the questions and realizing how different it is from regular classroom tests. The best ways to overcome SAT difficulties are to study for the types of questions that will be on the test and to become familiar with the test’s format.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Designation

If you want to work in the investment or wealth management industries, earning your CFP certification is a must. The financial planning industry, which includes both the ultra-high-net-worth and mass-market categories of investment management, is the primary focus of this certification. Although the CFP exam covers a wide variety of wealth management-related topics, its narrow focus makes it less relevant to other careers in finance.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

This test, more commonly known as the GRE, has consistently been ranked as one of the most challenging in the world. The test is administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service) and measures verbal reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills. Those who do well on this test will be accepted to U.S. graduate programs.

California Bar Exam

Top Hardest Exams In The Us-California Bar Exam

One of the requirements for practicing law in California is passing the California Bar Exam, which is given by the State Bar of California.

One of the longest and most difficult bar exams in the country, with a pass rate of less than 47% in the most recent exam sitting.

The California Bar Exam spans multiple days and covers a wide range of legal topics, including business associations, civil procedure, community property, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, professional responsibility, real property, remedies, torts, trusts, wills, and succession.

Chartered Financial Analyst Exams

Those who have put in the time and effort to complete the CFA Program and gain the necessary work experience are awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst charter.

Asset valuation, portfolio management, and financial planning are the three pillars upon which the CFA Program is founded. Those who already have a degree in a related field, such as finance, accounting, economics, or business, have a better chance of finishing the CFA Program.

On average, candidates spend over 300 hours studying for each of the Institute’s three exam phases. The benefits of passing the exam are substantial, as they will establish you as one of the world’s leading financial and investment experts.


Your ability to read, write, speak, and listen are all tested during the IELTS. All aspects of the examination, such as its duration, its structure, the kinds of questions and tasks it contains, its method of correction, and so on, are uniformly applied to all candidates.

That merely denotes that each test taker encounters the same conditions and that the test’s question types are predetermined. It’s reliable and shouldn’t be worried about. Resources for the IELTS, including sample exams, are easily accessible.

Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Designation

If you want to work in the investment or wealth management industries, earning your CFP certification is a must.

The financial planning and retail investment management markets are the primary areas of study for this credential. Although the CFP exam covers a wide variety of wealth management-related topics, its narrow focus limits its applicability to other finance-related professions.

There are two levels to this accreditation, each with its own set of exams. Obtaining a Level 1 certificate from the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) is a requirement of the CFP process.


Mensa is a prestigious organization that attracts brilliant individuals from all walks of life. The group’s mission is to “find and cultivate human intelligence for the good of humanity.”

Members of this exclusive club must rank in the top two percent on a widely recognized intelligence test if they hope to be accepted. In order to attract only the brightest minds, the American Mensa Admissions Test was designed to be challenging.

Both parts of the test contain logical reasoning and deduction questions. American Mensa offers a specialized non-verbal test that evaluates the ability to make connections between figures and forms for those who are not native English speakers.

Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert

Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert

Not only is it very expensive (around $450) to take this test, but it is also very challenging to pass. Cisco Networks runs the exam for becoming a Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert (CCIE).

Multiple parts were written at different times. To move on to the second stage, which takes place over the course of more than eight hours on the same day, candidates must first pass the first stage, which is a written examination.

Only about one percent of those who apply are chosen for the next round.


The USMLE, or United States Medical Licensing Examination, is a three-part test required to practice medicine in the United States.

Essential in health and disease, and providing the foundation for safe and effective patient care, the USMLE tests a physician’s ability to apply knowledge, concepts, and principles, as well as demonstrate fundamental patient-centered abilities.

There are many difficult tests along the way to becoming a doctor. US medical licenses are available to those who have passed the USMLE.

The USMLE has three parts and takes well over forty hours to finish.

After the second or third year of medical school, students take Step 1, while Step 2 is taken after the third year is complete and Step 3 is taken after the intern year.

Knowledge and understanding gained in medical school and residency are put to the test on this exam.


The Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering is a reading comprehension exam taken by undergraduates in India who are seeking admission to master’s degree programs or who wish to pursue careers in the field of engineering. The GATE is a significant test because it reveals how well a student has grasped the fundamentals of engineering and science at the undergraduate level. This is a very challenging test, even by Indian standards. There are a total of 65 multiple-choice and numerical-answer questions on the three-hour computer-based exam.


The Union Public Service Commission (USPC) of India administers the Civil Services Examination to candidates interested in working for the Indian government in fields like the Indian Foreign Service and the Indian Administrative Service. There are three stages to the examination, and finishing it will take several months. Pass rates are well below 1 percent, making this exam one of the most difficult in the world.


The Law National Aptitude Test (LNAT) in the United Kingdom has quickly become one of the most difficult exams despite its relatively recent inception (2004 vs. earlier for some of the other exams on our list). It’s nearly 2.5 hours long, includes a reading section and an essay section, and has both multiple choice and short answer questions. Leading UK law schools use it as a criterion for admission. The evidence is clear.


Are UK tests harder than US?

Courses and exams in the United States are less challenging than their British counterparts. Any reputable university will require a large number of challenging courses and extra credit hours from prospective students.

What are the hardest test exams in America to pass?

Exams like Mensa, the California Bar, the Chartered Financial Analyst exams, the USMLE, the GRE, the CCIE (Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert) exam, the SAT, and the IELTS are considered to be among the most challenging in the United States.

Is SAT exam tough?

Indian students who have prepared for the SAT in advance should have no trouble with the exam. Some people may find the test challenging because of time constraints, unfamiliar concepts, or a lengthy reading passage. The SAT is less challenging than other standardized tests because of its predictable patterns, lack of memorization requirements, and multiple-choice questions.

What are the most difficult professional exams in the US?

Most difficult professional exams in the United States include the California Bar Exam, the Certified Public Accountant exam, and the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert exam.


No matter what field of study or profession you pursue, you can expect to encounter challenges along the way.

In order to practice a high-stakes profession like law, medicine, or engineering, you will likely need to take a battery of tests that are designed to test your mettle in areas like critical thinking, problem solving, and verbal and written communication.

The tests mentioned are the most difficult ones offered in the USA. Which of these two do you find more difficult to accomplish? Leave your feedback in the remark section.