Top 15 Hardest Exams in the US

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The exams listed in this article for you are the hardest exams in the US that require a great deal of effort to pass.

Examinations are a common way of assessing an individual’s knowledge and intelligence. In the United States, several exams are considered to be among the toughest in the world. These exams are designed to test the limits of an individual’s mental and physical capabilities and passing them is no easy feat.

In this article, we will take a look at the top 15 hardest exams in the US, along with some tips on how to prepare for them.

Ways to Prepare for Exams in the US

  1. Create a study schedule: Allocate enough time for each task and prioritize your study plan accordingly.
  2. Organize your study space: Ensure that you have enough space to spread your textbooks and notes out and that your study space is free from distractions.
  3. Use visual aids: Visual aids such as flow charts and diagrams can be helpful when revising.
  4. Practice past exams: Practicing past exams can help you get used to the format of the questions and can also be good practice for making sure you spend the right amount of time on each section.
  5. Take breaks: Take breaks periodically to help you focus.
  6. Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for your brain to function properly.
  7. Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water can help you stay alert and focused.
  8. Exercise: Exercise can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
  9. Eat healthy: Eating healthy foods can help you stay focused and energized.
  10. Join a study group: Joining a study group can help you stay motivated and learn from others.

List of the Top 15 Hardest Exams in the US

Below is a list of the top 15 hardest exams in the US:



The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that is widely used for admission to graduate and business schools worldwide. The test is developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is available in both computer-based and paper-based formats.

The GRE measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. The test is divided into three sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing. The Verbal Reasoning section assesses the ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it.

The Quantitative Reasoning section measures problem-solving ability, focusing on basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. The Analytical Writing section measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills, including the ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively.

The GRE is a computer-adaptive test, meaning that the difficulty level of the questions adapts to the test-taker’s performance. The test is scored on a scale of 130-170 for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, and 0-6 for the Analytical Writing section1. The scores are valid for five years.


The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a standardized computer-based exam that assesses the knowledge and skills of prospective medical students in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Caribbean Islands.

The test is designed to evaluate the candidate’s aptitude for problem-solving, critical thinking, and knowledge of social, behavioral, and natural science principles necessary for medical study. The MCAT has been in operation since 1982 and is managed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

The exam is divided into four sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems, Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems, Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior, and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.

The test is scored on a scale of 472 to 528, with the average score being 500. The MCAT is one of the most challenging exams in the US, and it is used to evaluate prospective medical students before they apply to medical schools.


IELTS is a test of English language proficiency widely accepted for non-native English speakers. If you are interested in studying abroad in the US, you will need to take this test and present your score as part of your college application.

It is one of the hardest tests in the US, and you will be rejected from admission even if you complete all other standards and do not pass the exam. The IELTS test evaluates the reading, writing, listening, and speaking abilities of candidates in the English language.

The test is available in two formats: Academic and General Training. The Academic format is suitable for those who want to study at the undergraduate or postgraduate level, while the General Training format is suitable for those who want to work or immigrate to an English-speaking country. The test consists of four sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.


Mensa International is a society that was founded in 1946 by a scientist and a lawyer to create a community that is free from the influence of politics, race, and religion. To become a member of Mensa, you must have an IQ score that ranks in the top 2% of the general population, which is the only criterion for membership.

The Mensa admission test consists of two parts, which include logic and deductive reasoning questions. Mensa has branches in every continent except Antarctica, and it has over 150,000 members from various countries. Joining Mensa provides you with a platform to engage in social, cultural, and intellectual activities with like-minded individuals.

Mensa International’s admission test is known to be challenging, and it is considered one of the hardest exams in the US. If you are interested in testing your cognitive abilities, you can take the Mensa IQ Challenge, which consists of 35 puzzles that you must solve in 25 minutes. The test provides an estimate of your IQ score, but it is not a substitute for professional IQ tests, and it does not qualify you for Mensa membership.


The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is a standardized test for college admissions in the US. It was created in 1926 and has undergone several name changes since then.

The SAT is designed to assess a student’s readiness for college by measuring their literacy, numeracy, and writing skills. The exam covers everything you learned in high school and a few more sophisticated ideas for good measure.

The SAT is considered one of the hardest exams in the US, and it presents a challenge to students in that it asks questions differently than traditional classroom exams. 

To ace the SAT, it would be best if you familiarize yourself with the types of questions that will be asked. The SAT asks questions differently than traditional classroom exams, so it’s important to understand the types of questions that will be asked.


The California Bar Examination is a two-day exam administered twice a year, in February and July. The exam consists of five one-hour essay questions, one 90-minute performance test, and the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), which typically has 200 multiple-choice questions.

The first day of the exam is the written portion, while the second day is the MBE. The exam is taken by approximately 16,000 people each year.

The California Bar Examination is governed by the State Bar of California, which also provides rules and standards for the examination. The examination is designed to test the knowledge and skills required for the practice of law in California. The examination covers a wide range of topics, including contracts, torts, criminal law, and constitutional law.

To prepare for the California Bar Examination, it is recommended that candidates take a bar review course, which provides an overview of the subjects tested on the exam and offers practice questions and exams.


The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program is a globally recognized certification program for investment professionals. It is designed to equip you with the kind of expertise and real-world skills in investment analysis that will help you advance your career.

The program is divided into three levels, each of which requires passing a six-hour exam. The exams are computer-based and are held at designated testing centers. The CFA Program is typically completed by those with backgrounds in finance, accounting, economics, or business.

The CFA Program is designed to provide a strong foundation in advanced investment analysis and real-world portfolio management skills. The curriculum is updated regularly to ensure that it remains relevant and prepares charter holders to enter today’s market.


The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is a three-step examination that assesses the medical knowledge, skills, and patient-centered care of physicians in the United States.

The USMLE is required for medical licensure in the U.S. by all graduates of M.D.-granting American medical schools as well as all graduates of international medical schools.

The USMLE is divided into three steps: Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge (CK), and Step 3. Step 1 is a one-day examination that tests your knowledge of basic science concepts for the practice of medicine. Step 2 CK is a one-day examination that tests your clinical knowledge and skills. Step 3 is a two-day examination that assesses your ability to apply medical knowledge and understanding of biomedical and clinical science essential for the unsupervised practice of medicine.

The USMLE is a rigorous examination that requires thorough preparation. To help you prepare for the exam, the USMLE website provides resources such as content outlines, an overview of test question formats, and sample test questions that can be taken within the Tutorial and Practice Test Items application. Additionally, the website provides answers to common questions on topics such as applying for the USMLE, preparing for your exam, score reports, transcripts, and more.


The Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) exam is a globally recognized certification program that validates the skills of networking professionals. The CCIE certification is offered in six different areas of expertise, or “tracks,” including Routing and Switching, Data Center, Collaboration, Security, Service Provider, and DevNet.

The CCIE certification is designed to make it easier for businesses to recognize the world’s brightest internetworking experts, providing them with accreditation that is recognized across the globe.

To become a Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert, you will have to go through both exams and practical coursework, creating a balance that will appeal to a broad audience.

The CCIE program is constantly updated to ensure that its engineers use the latest tools, technology, and methods. The certification helps IT engineers keep up with the latest developments in their field and is recognized by employers worldwide.


The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP) certification is a professional designation awarded to financial advisors who have passed rigorous coursework and an examination to prove their fluency in all aspects of financial planning.

The certification is generally considered the gold standard in the financial planning industry. CFP professionals meet rigorous education, training, and ethical standards, and are committed to serving their clients’ best interests today to prepare them for a more secure tomorrow.

The CFP certification is managed by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board), which was founded in 1985 as a 501©(3) non-profit organization. The CFP Board sets and enforces standards for the CFP certification, which is the standard of excellence in financial planning. The certification is neither a government designation nor an accredited degree.


The Court of Master Sommeliers administers the Master Sommelier Diploma Examination to raise the bar for beverage services provided by sommeliers, particularly in wine and food pairing.

The exam has three divisions: Service, Theory, and Blind Tasting. It is considered one of the most challenging tests in the world, with only about 200-230 individuals passing it since its inception 40 years ago.

The hardest part of the exam is the Blind Tasting portion, where candidates must recognize a grape variety while being kept in the dark. The item must be identified, and its origin and growing regions must also be mentioned. 


The Chartered Accountant (CA) exam is a professional certification exam that is divided into three levels: CA Foundation, Intermediate (IPCC), and Final. The CA exam is administered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

The CA exam is a highly respected professional qualification that requires students to complete at least three years of on-the-job training while passing a series of exams. Most students frequently begin CA applications after graduation to obtain a good start on the preparatory process.

The first stages of the CA exam appear tolerable to applicants, but the last component, the CA Final, is the hardest to pass. As one of the hardest exams in the world, students frequently struggle to pass the final paper in one sitting.

The CA exam is not only recognized in India but also globally. The ACA qualification is valued by businesses worldwide, with more than 5,000 employers currently training ACA students. Completing the ACA qualification enables you to use the title ‘ICAEW Chartered Accountant’, offering a way to stand out from the crowd by providing employers with a specified, certified skillset.


The NVIDIA exam is highly challenging and unique in the US. NVIDIA is a company that specializes in developing graphics processing units for the video gaming industry and mobile computing platforms on a semiconductor package.

The NVIDIA certification program enables professionals to demonstrate their skills and expertise in the field of accelerated computing. The certification program offers various certifications, including the NVIDIA Certified Associate AI in the Data Center and NVIDIA Certified Professional InfiniBand.

The NVIDIA exam consists of two parts: the experimental stage and the technical interview. The experimental stage is the first part of the exam and covers concepts such as pipelines, final state computers, cache control, virtual CMOS development, and C programming fundamentals. The technical interview is the second part of the exam.


The Astronaut Candidate Program is a rigorous selection process for individuals who aspire to become astronauts at NASA. The program is also known as ASCAN and is conducted at the Johnson Space Center. Candidates who are selected for the Astronaut Corps by NASA are known as ASCAN.

The program includes a series of training sessions that are designed to prepare candidates for space missions. To be considered for a NASA astronaut position, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree in any science field such as biology, physics, mathematics, engineering, or computer science. Additionally, they must have 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command experience in jet aircraft or three years of experience.

The selection process for the Astronaut Candidate Program is highly competitive, with thousands of applicants vying for a limited number of spots. The program is designed to identify individuals who possess the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to become successful astronauts. The training sessions are designed to prepare candidates for space travel’s physical and mental challenges, including weightlessness, isolation, and confinement.

15. Navy Sea-Air-Land Exams

The Navy Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) exam is a rigorous test that assesses the physical and mental capabilities of candidates who aspire to become a Navy SEAL. The exam evaluates the candidates’ endurance, strength, and ability to work under pressure in extreme conditions.

The exam consists of a series of tests that include swimming, running, push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups. The candidates must also pass the ASVAB test, which is a standardized test that measures their aptitude in various subjects such as mathematics, science, and reading comprehension.

The SEAL exam is divided into several phases, each of which is designed to test the candidates’ physical and mental abilities. The first phase is the Physical Screening Test (PST), which is designed to assess the candidates’ physical fitness. The PST consists of a 500-yard swim, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and a 1.5-mile run.

The candidates must meet the minimum standards to be considered for further training. The second phase is the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, which is a six-month-long program that is designed to test the candidates’ endurance, strength, and mental toughness. The candidates must pass the BUD/S training to be considered for the SEAL program.

The third phase is the SEAL Qualification Training (SQT), which is a 26-week-long program that is designed to teach the candidates the skills required to become a Navy SEAL. The candidates must pass the SQT to be considered for the SEAL program.

The final phase is the SEAL Team Training, which is an 18-month-long program that is designed to teach the candidates the skills required to become a member of a SEAL team. The candidates must pass the SEAL Team Training to become a Navy SEAL.

Frequently Asked Question

How can I prepare for these exams?

In the article, there's a dedicated section offering general tips for exam preparation. Tailor your study approach to the specific requirements of each exam, focusing on effective time management and comprehensive content coverage.

Do these exams only impact academic pursuits, or do they have real-world implications?

Success in these exams often opens doors to advanced educational opportunities and can significantly influence career trajectories.

Can I share my thoughts or experiences with these exams?

Absolutely! Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences in the comments section. Your insights and stories can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of these exams.


The exams listed in your article are some of the most challenging tests in the US. They require a great deal of preparation, hard work, and dedication to pass. However, with the right mindset, study habits, and guidance, anyone can overcome these challenges and achieve their goals.

It is important to remember that these exams are not the only measure of success and that there are many paths to achieving one’s dreams.

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