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List of Top 10 Toughest Exams in India The Hardest Competitions

17 January,2023  |  By Brainwonders

Toughest Exams in India

If you want to be successful in today's era, you need to know that you must be competitive. In India, competition is everywhere, and it can be in every sector or profession. So You should be up to date about what's happening around the universe. It would be best if you kept yourself updated. Then only you can easily tackle the competition in a win-win situation.

We often have to give entrance exams or India's most Toughest exams in pursuing any career profession. In every stream, competitive exams are one of the primary key factors determining whether we are fit for that role or will crack that exam with a good score. The competitive exams test our abilities; it can be problem-solving, decision making, communication, etc. In this blog we have mentioned the top 10 toughest exam in India, which will certainly help you to know which exams are competitive in today’s era.

It becomes hard for you to crack the entrance exams because of the increasing competition. For you, this might sound like a challenging task. Competitive exams are present in every profession. 

There are many toughest exam in India which open the doors for  different career paths. These exams are conducted by many top universities, colleges, and Business Institutions to find the right candidate. They are looking for the candidate you will perfectly fit in the professional role by analysing their competitive exams. India's toughest exams are being competitive primarily because of the number of competitors.

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4 Major factors that determine why the entrance exams are difficult to crack with an excellent score:

  • Number of competitors
  • Number of seats available
  • Competitors calibre
  • Pass trend rates


1. UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)

UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)

You all have heard that UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) is one of India's toughest exams. The UPSC Civil Services Exams, which are considered the most prestigious in the country, are held to choose applicants for top administrative jobs in the Central Government of India. It takes a high degree of seriousness, devotion, and strenuous effort to succeed in the three-tier exam, consisting of the preliminary exam, the main exam, and the interview or personality test. The test covers many services, including IAS, IPS, and IFS.

Few tough points you need to know about the exam:

  • Number of candidates appearing for the exams every year: 8 to 10 lakh
  • Passing Probability: 0.1% to 0.3%. 
  • Syllabus: Vast, covering topics from all domains such as biology, economics, current affairs, etc.
  • Exam levels: preliminary, mains, and interview round.

All you need to know about UPSC exam:

Particulars  Details
Full form Union Public Service Commission Civil Service Examination
Conducting Authority Union Public Service Commission, Government of India 
Frequency  Once a year
Mode of exam Offline
Medium of exam English and Hindi 
Exam Duration  Preliminary: 2 Hours and Mains: 3 Hours
Type of questions Prelims: Objective type questions; Mains: Descriptive type questions 
Official website  www.upsc.gov.in 

2. JEE (Joint Entrance Examination)

JEE (Joint Entrance Examination)

JEE (Joint Entrance Examination) is one of the standardised national level exams to select the 12th standard science students who want to major in the engineering field. This exam consists of two levels, JEE Main and JEE Advanced. You have to clear both the levels, and then only you will get admission to the top IIT( Indian Institutes of Technology) Institutes. JEE scores are recognised by several different engineering institutes and the IITs.

  • JEE is considered as one of the most difficult exams because of its endless syllabus, application based questions for competition.
  • Another factor which makes the exam tough is the peer competition as around 6.35 lakh candidates take JEE every year and only 2.5 lakh students secure the seats in IITs.
Particulars Details
Full form  Joint Entrance Examination
Conducting body National Testing Agency (NTA)
Category Undergraduate
Frequency Twice a year 
Mode of Application Online
Exam duration 3 hours
Total marks 300
Official website jeemain.nta.nic.in

3. NEET-UG (National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test)

NEET-UG (National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test)

This exam is also a centralised national entrance exam for those who want to go to MBBS. Many students give the exam, and because of the growing competition, it has become challenging to crack the NEET with a good score. But then to students who wish to become a doctor and have the calibre are appearing for this exam. In addition, this includes students who will eventually be picked for the prominent Institutes of National Importance (INI) in the nation, such as AIIMS and AFMC, making the test a difficult one to pass. 

NEET exam is tough because of the following reason:

  • Biology, Chemistry, and physics are hard to comprehend. Students find physics the toughest out of all three subjects.
  • Lakhs of students appear for entrance exam and the medical seats are numbered in thousands which makes the exam more typical.
Particulars  Details 
Full form National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test 
Conducting Authority  National Testing Agency 
Frequency  Once a year
Category  Undergraduate 
Languages  English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, kannada, Assamese, Marathi, Odia, Tamil, and Urdu 
Official website  neet.nta.nic.in

4. CAT (Common Admission Test)

CAT (Common Admission Test)

CAT (Common Admission Test) is considered one of India's toughest exams. Many CAT Aspirants go for many attempts to get admission into top IIMs (Indian Institute of Management). This exam is conducted once a year, mainly at the end of November. After cracking this exam, a student with the highest percentile gets the call from IIMs for an interview and Group Discussion. After completing this procedure then, the students get selected.

CAT exam is tough because of the below mentioned reasons:

  • CAT exam is time restrained in which students have to answer 100 questions in 180 minutes.
  • Moreover, maths and comprehension section are tough.

CAT Highlights:

Particulars  Details 
Full form  Common Admission Test 
Conducting Authority Indian Institute of Management
Category  Postgraduate
Application mode Online 
Frequency  Annual
Medium of the exam English 
Official website iimcat.ac.in

5. CLAT (Common Law Admission Test)

CLAT (Common Law Admission Test)

CLAT is one of India's most challenging exams for students who want to pursue their career in law. This national level exam is administered under the Consortium of National Law University to grant admission for law courses at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. While appearing for this exam, you need to be aware of the economic and legal affairs. Questions related to current affairs are mainly asked.

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CLAT exam is tough because:

  • Sixty thousand students participate in the exam where the passing probability is 5%.
  • Limited seats and peer pressure makes the competition more tough.
Particulars Details
Name of the exam Common Law Admission Test (CLAT)
Conducting body The Consortium of National Law Universities (NLU)
Mode of exam Pen and paper mode
Number of questions
  • 150 for UG
  • 120 for PG
Number of seats
  • 2538 seats for BA LLB program
  • 742 seats for LLM program
Participating NLUs 22
Purpose of exam Admission to BA LLB, BSc LLB, BCom LLB, BBA LLB, and LLM.

6. UGC NET: (University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test)

CLAT (Common Law Admission Test)

The National Testing Agency conducts the UGC NET exam to hire assistant professors and Junior research fellowship candidates in Indian colleges and Universities. No negative markings for incorrect responses in the exam.

UGC NET exam is considered difficult because: 

  • Only 6% of the students crack the exams category-wise.
  • The number of attempts reduces the chances of selection.

UGC NET highlights:

Particulars Details
Full form University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test 
Conducting body National Testing Agency
Exam mode Online
Language English or Hindi
Exam duration Two papers each of 90 minutes 
Courses offered Junior Research Fellowship and Lectureship
Total marks 300
Official website ugcnet.nic.in

7. National Institute of Design Entrance Exam:

The National Institute of Design Entrance Examination is conducted by the NID Admission Committee. It is a design assessment test focusing on aptitude.

Candidates must be class 12th pass to apply for the undergraduate program, and they must be graduated to apply for postgraduate courses.

This exam is conducted for the admission process in:

  • Bachelor of Design 
  • Master of Design 

NID Highlights:

Particulars Details
Exam Name National Institute of Design - Design Aptitude Test
Conducting body National Institute of Design
Frequency of the exam Once
Exam level National-level exam
Mode of exam
  • Prelims: Offline
  • Mains: Online
Medium of exam English
Types of questions Objective type

8. NDA  (National Defense Academy)


The NDA (National Defense Academy) exam is conducted to select candidates from the Army, Naval, and Air Force. This exam is conducted twice a year to select the brave and honest candidates for the country's most exceptional defence academy. It is mandatory for students who have appeared in JEE Mains to be eligible for NDAs technical entry system.

NDA exam is considered one of the toughest exams because:

  • Vast amount of syllabus
  • Extensive written exam
  • Group Discussions
  • Interview
  • Medical checks
  • Physical and mental test
  • The competition by students for securing the seats in colleges.
Particulars Details
Full form National Defence Academy and Naval Academy Exam
Category  Undergraduate
Conducting body UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)
Mode of the exam Offline
Frequency  Twice a year
Required Marital status Unmarried
Official website www.upsc.gov.in

9. CA (Chartered Accountant)


Chartered Accountant is a professional course. It is also one of India's Toughest exams. If you aspire to become a CA, you should first get administered under the ICAI (The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India). CA competitive exam consists of three levels:

  1. CA Foundation
  2. CA Intermediate
  3. CA Final

Students mainly after 12th go for CA foundation. Some prefer to do CA after graduation. If someone pursues CA after graduation, they don't need to go for the CA foundation. They need to complete the following 2 competitive levels. Apart from the CA exams, you must complete your 3 years of Articleship training. Then only you will become a CA.

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CA exam is tough because of:

  • Vast syllabus 
  • In-depth knowledge of every subject
  • Facepalm moments that every student has to face while completing this course.

CA Overview:

Particulars Details
Conducting Authority Institute of Chartered Accountancy
Exam mode Offline
Languages English or Hindi
Levels CA foundation, Intermediate, and Final
Frequency  Multiple times in a year
Category Undergraduate
Official website icai.org

10. GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering)


GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) is an All India centralised exam and ranks among India's toughest exams. When it comes to those who specialise in the engineering and scientific fields, GATE is a name that requires no introduction. It is considered one of the most prestigious tests in India, and it provides several advantages.

  • GATE exam is tough because it checks the undergraduate knowledge along with the general aptitude of the students.
  • It is also tough because of its vast syllabus and mathematical concepts.
Particulars Details 
Full form Gratitude Aptitude Test in Engineering
Conducting body IIT Kanpur
Exam mode Online
Language English
Duration 3 hours
Official website gate.iitkgp.ac.in

Apart from the above-mentioned exams two more exams are found to be the toughest for students preparing for entrance exams. These exams include: ACET and ISI.

Let us look at these exams in detail.

11. ACET (Actuarial Common Entrance Test)


Have you ever heard of Actuarial Science? Actuarial science studies the applications of statistical, mathematical, and analytical skills to commercial and business problems. For that, you have to give the university-level ACET entrance exam. ACET (Actuarial Common Entrance Test) is a competitive entrance exam for those who wish to become an expert in Actuarial Science. After cracking this exam, only you will be able to get admission into top institutes of IAI (Actuarial Institutes of India).

  • ACET exams are difficult because the concept gets harder as the candidate progresses through them.

ACET Highlights:

Full form  Actuarial Common Entrance Test
Exam Conducting body The Institute of Actuaries of India (IAI)
Purpose Entrance for Actuarial science course 
Level of Exam National 
Exam frequency Thrice a year 
Mode of exam Online
Exam duration 3 hours
Number of Questions 70 MCQs

12. ISI (Indian Statistical Institute)


ISI (Indian Statistical Institute) Admission Test is a national level. It is considered to be India's Toughest Exam. The exam is held once a year, and it grants admission into several courses like B.Maths, B.Stats, M.Stats, and M.Tech degree programs at ISI. Selected students get admission into one of the most reputed and prestigious Indian Statistical institutions.

  • The ISI Exam is tough to crack because it contains only mathematical questions.
  • It is also difficult because of the addition of new concepts such as calculus.

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ISI Exam Highlights:

Particulars Details 
Mode of exam Offline 
Number of Papers 1
Number of sections 2
Question paper type
  • Section 1: objective type
  • Section 2: descriptive type
Exam duration  2 hours for each section
Exam language  English 

Frequently asked questions on Toughest Exams In India

Q.1 Which exam is most difficult in India?
Ans: UPSC is the most difficult exam in India. The UPSC examinations assess applicants' knowledge, aptitude, and intellectual capacity. Those who pass the exam will gain access to a selection of prestigious government careers that offer excellent employment opportunities.

Q.2 Which is the most difficult exam in the world?
Ans: Gaokao is the most difficult exam in the world. It represents a significant milestone in the academic journey of any student and requires extensive preparation, dedication, and hard work to pass. Those who can successfully pass the Gaokao have demonstrated immense intellectual aptitude, discipline, and determination that will serve them long past the exam duration.

Q.3 Is IIT-JEE the most difficult exam in India?
Ans: The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examinations are renowned for being one of India's most challenging and demanding exams. Similarly, the IIT-JEE exam is among the toughest tests available to students aspiring for engineering careers.

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