Exams are created and structured to assess aptitude, mental stability, technical skills, physical fitness, and other factors. These exams are given verbally, online, on paper, or in a format that requires the test taker to demonstrate a specific set of skills to pass. Thousands of tests are held in India each year; the majority are simple to pass, but a select number are considered the most difficult. The top ten most difficult exams in India are detailed in this article.

Top 10 Toughest Exams in India

The parts are organised to learn everything you need to know about a specific exam. So, here are India’s top ten most difficult exams without further wait.

  1. UPSC
  2. JEE Main
  3. GATE Exam
  4. CAT Exam
  5. NDA
  6. NID Entrance Exam
  7. NEET
  8. UGC- NET 
  9. CLAT
  10. Chartered Accountant (CA) Exam

1. UPSC Civil Service Entrance Examinations (IAS)

The UPSC IAS exam is one of India’s most rigorous and competitive tests nowadays. Aspirants must cover a broad curriculum, with Indian history, geography, and human rights laws introductory courses. How many candidates apply to take the IAS examinations, if you were to guess? You’d be correct if your answer were within Rs. 8-10 lakhs.

There are three levels to the exam:

  • Level 1: The Preliminary Exam
  • Level 2: The Main Exam
  • Level 3: Personality Test or Interview


  • Every year, about 8 lakh candidates take the IAS exams, with around 10 lakh people taking the exams in 2017 and 2018. Unfortunately, just 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent of candidates pass the exam. For a specific year, here’s some extra information.
  • Approximately 10 lakh individuals apply for the preliminary exams, according to the 69th Annual Report. However, only over 5 lakh applicants registered for the Prelims, and only about 13,000 of them advanced to the Level 2 exam, the Main exam. Only about 3000 candidates were able to move to level 3 after that. This step funnelled the candidates even more, with only half chosen for processing. The final vacancies, on the other hand, were listed as 796. This exemplifies their tough selection procedures.


Working in central government services like the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service, and the Indian Police Service, for example, necessitates a wide range of abilities, extensive knowledge, and a high level of resilience. This is why the UPSC IAS tests and their processes are inherently demanding and claustrophobic.

2. IIT JEE Entrance Examination

The IIT-JEE is an engineering entrance exam that permits students admission to India’s best engineering schools. It is regarded as India’s second most difficult exam. JEE Main and JEE Advanced are the two basic stages of the IIT-JEE, used to shortlist students seeking admission to centrally supported technical colleges. To write JEE Advanced, students must pass JEE Main.

Students who pass JEE Main are eligible to apply for undergraduate engineering, architecture, or science programmes at any institution of their choice, except any IIT-based or IISc-based institute, which will only accept successful JEE Advanced students. It’s done by submitting their All-India Rank (AIR) number in the exam; the higher your AIR, the greater your chances of getting into college.


  • So far, only one out of every 45 candidates has passed the exam. If we use this to calculate prospects, we can estimate that only 2,200-10,000 individuals out of a total of 1 lakh will pass the exam. Every year, around 12 to 14 lakh students take the JEE Main exam, with only over 2.2 lakh qualifying for JEE Advanced. However, only 11,000 students out of the 2 lakh qualified to make it to India’s top engineering colleges.
  • The new JEE Main 2019 amendments allow applicants to take the entrance exam twice the same year. For the ranking system, the best scores from the two exams will be used as laid down by authorities.

3. GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering)

The GATE exam is used to choose candidates for master’s and doctoral programmes in Engineering, Technology, Architecture, and Science. And it’s a good criterion for getting into government engineering schools like IITs and NITs.

Once received, the GATE score is valid for up to three years from the announcement date. Selected government PSUs also take it (Public Sector Undertakings). However, several qualifying requirements must be completed before taking the exam.

Although there is no upper age limit, at least one of the following criteria must be met:

  • At least a Bachelor’s degree in a reputed Engineering or Science discipline is required.
  • At least a Master’s degree in Mathematics, Science, Statistics, or Computer Applications is required.
  • Students in their last year of pursuing a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

4. CAT (Common Entrance Test)

The CAT is an entry-level exam that serves as an excellent springboard for admissions to India’s top management and business schools. Candidates are judged on their ability to communicate in English, math, and logic.

All IIMs and similar colleges and universities that offer MBA programmes recognise CAT entry scores. However, only about 1,500 students out of 2 lakhs are accepted into IIMs each year. If we had to calculate the rate of success in percentage, we’d conclude that it’s only about 2%.

Most candidates believe that if they fail, they will be doomed. While the data suggests that the CAT is one of India’s most challenging admission tests, it indicates that failure is all too typical. So, if you’re planning to abandon your ambitions after the first setback, please don’t. Rather, you should think about what you can learn from the experience, how you can improve your preparation for the next time, and how you might try again.


Students who wish to write CAT tests must complete the following requirements:

  • Obtain a Bachelor’s degree with a CGPA of at least 50 percent (45 percent for other categories) or higher.
  • Obtain a degree from an institution accredited by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) under the University Grants Commission (UGC) Act of 1956.

Anyone in their last year of a bachelor’s degree programme is eligible to apply. If accepted, participants must provide a transfer certificate from their prior institution’s headmaster/principal to begin the programme.

5. NDA (National Defence Academy)

NDA examinations are used to entice people to join the Army, Air Force, or Navy. A written exam, psychological aptitude test, intelligence test, personality test, and interview are used to choose candidates. In April and September of each year, this exam is given.


  • Various National Defence Wings have different eligibility requirements. However, any student who has completed or taken their class 12 test can prepare for and take the NDA Test. The interview is conducted by the SSB or the Ministry of Defence’s Services Selection Board. Students must have passed all previous tests in order to be considered for the interview. However, this is where things become complicated.


  • Around 4 lakh people applied for the test, but only 6,000 people were chosen for the SSB interview. This explains why 66.7 percent of students failed the examinations. It’s possible that the arduous SSB interview, which lasts a total of 5 days, is to blame for the high failure rate rather than the examinations themselves.

6. National Institute of Design (NID) Entrance Examination

The National Institute of Design Entrance Examination, often known as the NID Design Aptitude Test, is an aptitude-based design assessment test administered by the NID Admission Committee. Its purpose is to assess the candidates design innovation. The NID ranks are given out based on how well they performed on the test. However, the test is held in all major Indian cities on a regular basis.

The NID entrance exam is held to provide design course admission to the following students.

  • Bachelor of Design (B.Des)
  • Master of Design (M.Des)
  • Graduate Diploma Programme in Design (GDPD)

However, if you wish to enrol in design programmes, you must pass the following two tests.

  • NID DAT Prelims
  • NID DAT Mains

Candidates are eligible to take the NID DAT Mains after passing the NID DAT Prelims. The NID Prelims is a typical pen-and-paper exam, but the Mains is divided into two parts: a studio test and a personal interview.

NID DAT Prelims

Prelims are used to assess a candidate’s design qualities and traits. It involves assessing the participants’ knowledge and comprehension and their analytical and creative thinking processes and visualisation abilities. 

After that, qualifiers can take the Mains exam.

The exam lasts about three hours and is worth 100 points. Although the paper is separated into objective-type and subjective-type questions, the subjective-type questions can be the most difficult to crack due to their subjective nature.


Mains is mostly a studio test influenced by the candidate’s chosen specialism. The faculty or the official head of their respective expertise conducts the interview. There’s a lot of pressure because only 100 seats for B.Des in Industrial Design, Communication Design, Textile, or Apparel & Lifestyle Accessory Design are awarded based on merit.

The number of candidates applying for these programmes is far too small. It implies that the elimination process will most likely be rigorous.

7. NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test)

Candidates must pass the NEET exam to be admitted to MBBS and BDS programmes in India’s government and private medical institutes. The exam takes place once a year (in May). So, if a student wants to enrol in one of those programmes, they must pass the NEET exam to be admitted to a medical school in India. So, what makes it so difficult? Let the numbers speak for themselves.


  • According to the most recent data, 15 lakh individuals enrolled for the NEET exam, but only 13 lakh participants showed up. As a result, around 7.7 lakh people qualified for the exam. This puts us at approximately 56.5 percent of students passing their tests.
  • Add to that the difficulty of acquiring seats at other colleges (where the seat allocation is only in the ten-thousands range). Finally, students may face a ranking issue; candidates, regardless of their scores, will need to rank higher to secure places. NEET is one of the most difficult tests on our list due to stiff competition, fewer allocations, and overall test stress.

8. UGC-NET (University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test)

The University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test (UGC NET) is a national-level hiring exam used in Indian universities and colleges to select Assistant Professors and Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) candidates. Candidates who have passed the UGC NET exam can teach in Indian universities and colleges at both the high school and college levels.


  • To be eligible for the UGC NET, a candidate must have received at least 55 percent in their master’s degree examination (in any discipline) and have graduated from a UGC-recognized college or university.


  • The exam is complicated enough that applicants who attempt it for the fourth or fifth time may fail. As a result, only 6% of them thrive on these exams. Furthermore, these successful candidates are subjected to a category-based reservation policy, which means that candidates are chosen by institutions based on their category. The National Testing Agency (NTA) has been administering the exam since 2018, and it now covers 83 courses in a total of 88 NET Exam-supported cities.

9. CLAT (Common Law Admission Test)

The CLAT exam is now used to decide which applicants are eligible for five-year programmes like Bachelor of Arts (Integrated with Law), Bachelor of Law, or Master of Law (LLM). The results of the CLAT exams in India are accepted by 16 National Law Universities.

However, it does not affect the scoring system; each incorrect response deducts 0.25 points from your final score. This can be a setback to your performance, which is why candidates take such great care in answering correctly.


  • CLAT is taken by 60,000 students every year. Only 5% of those who apply (3,000 candidates) are accepted to National Law University. However, the CLAT exam paper has undergone a structural alteration. The frequency of questions has been reduced from 200 to 150, and a comprehension portion of 300-450-word readings has been added in its place.

10. Chartered Accountant Exam

The CA Foundation Exam is a preliminary exam administered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), founded in July 1949 to regulate the chartered accounting profession in India.

There are three tiers of CA exams offered by the ICAI:

  • CA Foundation
  • CA Intermediate
  • CA Final

The first exam is a national preliminary exam every year in January, June, November, and December. Previously, it was known as the Common Proficiency Test (CA CPT). If a candidate passes the exam, they can enrol for Chartered Accountancy courses through the ICAI. However, if one gives all of the tests, they would be qualified as a Chartered Accountant in India, the most challenging certification in the country.


Thus, according to our research, these were the top 10 toughest exams in India. The competition among the students to achieve higher grades is a crucial motivator for students. An essential aspect is that people become accustomed to competition as early as childhood, making it simpler to confront competition later in life. It expands information beyond what is provided in textbooks, allowing students to get higher exam scores. It also boosts confidence by assessing a candidate’s degree of expertise on a specific issue. The number of modifications required is lower as the studies proceed, enhancing learning skills.

Also Read: Top 10 Best Bank Exams In 2022: PO, Clerk, Office Assistant

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