10 Hardest Exams In The US & How To Pass Them

Some of the most challenging exams in the US are MCAT, GRE, Mensa International, and many others. In this blog post, all of these hard examinations have been reviewed with tips on how to pass them if you happen to be taking any of them. Let’s get started.

Examinations are commonly used worldwide, especially by academic institutions, to test an individual’s intelligence and learning capabilities. With the results from the assessment taken, it is determined whether that individual is fit to enter a level or not.

Although exams are not a true test for knowledge, as is commonly stated, but it is still commonly practiced in the United States. There are different kinds of exams for different people set up for different purposes.

For instance, if you are considering a career in civil service or are already a civil servant seeking promotion, you should prepare for a civil service exam because you are very likely to take it. If you are also a college aspirant seeking financial aid, you should also prepare for a scholarship exam because most schools set this exam before giving out scholarships.

That being said, in this article, I have discussed the hardest exams in the US with tips on how to pass them. These tough exams are taken and passed by many people and you too can, with the right dedication and lots of preparation. We understand that exams come with a lot of pressure, stress, and anxiety, but with this guide, you can be able to keep your health and be at ease as the exam date draws close.

Now, let’s dive into the main topic…

hardest exams in the US

10 Hardest Exams In The US

Curated in no particular order, the top 10 toughest exams in the United States are:

  • Mensa International
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  • California Bar Exam
  • Chartered Financial Analyst Exams
  • The United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)
  • Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert Examination
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Designation
  • SAT

1.     Mensa International

On our first list of hardest exams in the US is the Mensa International examination. Mensa is an organization that was founded in 1946 by a scientist and lawyer to create a society where politics, race, and religion are irrelevant. The only relevant thing in Mensa is your high IQ and to be a member, you must score within the upper 2% of the general population on an approved intelligence test.

The exam consists of a two-part test that includes questions on logic and deductive reasoning. There are over 145,000 members of Mensa from different parts of the world with branches in all continents except Antarctica. By joining Mensa, you will be open to a new world of exciting social, cultural, and intellectual opportunities.

2.     Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

The GRE is an exam that is popular among aspiring graduate students. If you want to enter a master’s program, especially for an MBA degree, you must take the GRE and it is not just a requirement in the US alone but all over the world. However, the GRE is ranked among the hardest exams in the US and the top 20 toughest exams in the world.

GRE is an exam that tests verbal reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills in candidates. There is usually a cut-off mark set by the school and it varies from school to school. Candidates who pass the exam and meet the cut-off mark are admitted into graduate school. If you want to enter a graduate degree in the US, there is a high possibility that a GRE test score would be required.

3.     Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is one of the hardest exams in the US, it is used for assessing aspiring medical students who want to enter med school. The test assesses the candidate’s problem-solving skills, critical thinking abilities, and knowledge of natural, behavioral, and social science concepts and principles required for medical studies.

MCAT is administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and has been operating since 1982.

4.     International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

The IELTS is an internationally recognized test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers. If you are looking to study abroad in the US, you will be required to take this test and submit your score during college application. This exam is one of the toughest in the US because if you do not meet the cut-off mark, you will be denied admission even though you met all other requirements.

The IELTS exam aims to evaluate candidates’ listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills in the English language. You can find many IELTS materials and practice tests online that you can use to prepare and get ready for the main test.

5.     California Bar Exam

The California Bar Exam is one of the hardest exams in the US and passing it is one of the requirements to become a law practitioner in California. Topics covered in the exam include civil procedure, community property, criminal law and procedure, trusts, constitutional law, and business associations.

The exam is held twice per year and given over two days. It consists of five 1-hour essay questions, one 90-minute performance test, and the Multistate Bar Examinations of 200 multiple-choice questions. You can find materials for the California Bar Exam online and some helpful expert tips to prepare for bar exams.

6.     Chartered Financial Analyst Exams

The Chartered Financial Analyst exam is for those who have completed the CFA program. It is among the toughest exams in the US and consists of three parts that cover topics on investment tools, valuing assets, portfolio management, and wealth planning.

Some of the world’s prominent finance and investment professionals are CFA-qualified and if you want to be among them and get that big break in your career, then you should consider going for the CFA program and taking the exam. According to Investopedia, candidates study for over 300 hours for this exam to increase their chances of passing.

7. the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)

The USMLE is one of the hardest exams in the US and you must take it after completing med school to become a licensed medical practitioner. The exam consists of a three-part examination that assesses knowledge, concepts, principles, and demonstration of fundamental patient-centered skills and takes over 40 hours to complete.

The three stages of the exam are not taken all at once. The first part of the exam is taken after the second in medical school, the second part is taken at the end of the third year, and the third part is taken at the end of the intern year. Overall, the exam measures the doctor’s ability to apply classroom or clinic-based knowledge and concepts.

8.     Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert Examination

To become a Cisco expert, you are required to take an exam that happens to be one of the toughest in the US. Passing the exam earns you the Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert certification. The exam is administered by Cisco Network and divided into several parts but written in two stages.

The examination covers core enterprise infrastructure technologies and a hands-on lab exam that covers enterprise networks through the entire network lifecycle, from designing and deploying to operating and optimizing. You have to pass both the qualifying exam and the lab exam to earn the certificate.

9.     Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Designation

The Certified Financial Planner certification is the standard of excellence in financial planning. To acquire this certificate, you have to be enrolled in the CFP program and then take the certification test which happens to be one of the toughest exams in the US.

The program focuses on financial planning and wealth management. And as part of the CFP process, you will also complete a Financial Planning Standards Council Level 1 certificate.

10.  SAT

And last but not least on our list of hardest exams in the US is the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT which was invented in 1926 as a standardized test used for college admissions in the US. Compared to the other exams on this list, the SAT is easy because you can find an abundance of online SAT prep courses and other online materials that you can use to prepare for the test.

Aside from that, the test covers everything you were taught in high school with some advanced concepts thrown in for good measure. So, it is pretty easy to pass even with minimal preparation. The SAT challenges candidates to understand how the SAT asks questions and that is different from typical classroom tests.

To ace the test, you should prepare yourself for the types of questions that will be asked and get familiar with how the test is structured. The key to this is to spend time taking SAT practice tests.

These are the hardest exams in the US, now, let’s go on to see how to easily pass them

How To Pass Hard Exams In The US

There are up to 10 tough exams in the US but even with their difficulty levels, they are taken annually with a good amount of people that pass them. In this section, we will explore the steps you need to take to pass these tough exams. Let’s dive in…

  • Create A Study Plan
  • Make Your Study Space Organized
  • Take Practice Exams Online or Offline
  • Organize Study Groups With Friends
  • Plan Your Examination Day

1.     Create A Study Plan

Creating a working study plan that fits well into your schedule gives you adequate time to study and helps you prepare best for the exam. Your study plan should include a list of how many exams you have, how many pages you will be learning, and how many days you have left to study before your exam starts. Also, organize your study habits accordingly.

2.     Make Your Study Space Organized

Books were thrown around, an occupied desk, a poorly lit room, and an uncomfortable chair will not let you study well. Therefore, you need to ensure that your study space is well-organized and that means the study space is well-lit and your desk has enough space for your reading materials.

Take away any distractions from your study space and welcome anything beneficial to your study, this could either be music for some or silence for others. Pleasant study space will improve your concentration and help you study better.

3.     Take Practice Exams Online or Offline

There are various study materials online, true, but there are also practice tests for almost every kind of exam which you can easily find online, thanks to the internet. Practicing with old exams and mock exams will help prepare you for almost any exam, you will get used to the exam format so that it doesn’t look new to you at the exam hall.

4.     Organize Study Groups With Friends

Organizing study sessions with friends who also want to take the same exam as you is a sure way to make any tough exam easier. As a study group, you can share ideas, answers, and questions with each other and learn new ways to tackle questions. Also, a study group will help you get the answers you need and complete tasks faster.

5.     Plan Your Examination Day

And finally, you should plan your exam day and consider almost everything from the weather to the distance of the exam venue and how long it will take you to get there. This will help set your mind for D-day and eliminate or reduce the chances of you getting to the venue late.

These are the 5 steps and guidelines you should take to help make any tough exam easier. From your exam day, you should know when to start implementing these steps and following the guides. Good luck with your exams.