Entrance exams are a way to assess an individual’s intelligence, memory, comprehension and aptitude. Ability to deal with stressful situations is another thing that gets automatically measured during entrance exams. These exams ensure that only the best and most capable candidates get admission.
With limited number of seats, it is apparent that there’s huge competition to qualify in entrance exams. While thousands may take part in entrance exams, only a small percentage get admission. If you think you have the brains and skills, here are some of the toughest entrance exams in the world that you can aim for.
Gaokao – Held in mainland China, Gaokao is a standardized college entrance exam. It is officially known as National College Entrance Examination (NCEE). Entrance to almost all undergraduate level educational institutions is conducted through Gaokao. Depending on the province, this entrance exam is conducted over a period of 2-3 days. Total time spend is around nine hours. Gaokao is known for asking some very complex questions to candidates.
Master Sommelier Diploma Exam – Instead of mathematical and analytical skills, this test measures the candidate’s abilities in the field of wine and food pairing. This exam is conducted by UK-based Master Sommelier Diploma Exam. It is taken by candidates looking for a professional career as a sommelier or wine steward. The highest level attainable is Master Sommelier diploma, which only around 300 people have achieved over a period of more than four decades.
CCIE Certification (Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert) – This exam is conducted to create a strong workforce of highly knowledgeable internetworking experts across the globe. This certification is provided by Cisco Systems. CCIE Certification exam includes 120 minutes written exam and 8 hours lab exam. It is considered as one of the toughest exams, as only around 1% of the candidates are able to pass this exam.
Mensa – This is an organization of people with high-IQ. Candidates are required to score equal to or above 98th percentile in specific standardized IQ tests. For example, in Stanford–Binet Intelligence Scales, minimum score to become a member of Mensa is 132. Similarly, score should be 148 for Cattell and 130 for Wechsler tests (WAIS, WISC).
IIT-JEE – In terms of numbers and pass percentage, IIT-JEE is one of the toughest exams in the world. It is taken by candidates who want to enter the prestigious IIT engineering colleges. Qualifying percentage varies every year and was 26.17% in 2022. Entrance to IITs is considered as a ticket to a rewarding career. Many IIT graduates have also taken up entrepreneurial ventures.
All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam – This exam is conducted by Oxford University. It is considered as one of the toughest exams for humanities students. No math or science is involved in this exam. Instead, candidates are asked to write essays on specific topics related to humanities. Only around one or two candidates pass this exam every year. The fellowship program is spread over a period of 7 years.
CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) – This is usually taken by candidates who want to boost their career prospects in business and finance sector. As pay package for CFA professional is quite good, thousands of candidates attempt this exam every year in several countries. CFA exam comprises 3 levels, with each having 6-hour exams.