Top 10 Toughest Exams in India List (2022 Update)

Every year in India more than a thousand big level and small-level exams are conducted, some are easy and some are hard. According to Wikipedia and Statista as of 2021, There are more than 1000 universities and 40,000 colleges running in India. The majority of colleges take admission on the basis of entrance exams. So you can guess how many exams are held every year.

An examination is one of the best ways to identify talented and knowledgable people because it filters or measures high knowledge, ability, acumen, and skills in people i.e. People who score high are more knowledgeable than people who score low. Different types of exams are taken for different areas some exams are written-based, and physical-based and some exams are oral-based which is also called interview exams. In some cases, all three types of exams are taken like in the UPSC and NDA exams.

It is difficult to crack some of the exams in India because they required a lot of knowledge. Aspirants, prepare for many months to crack their exam because passing the exam is one of the most important and difficult parts of their life. So, it is quite challenging to crack some of the exams. In this article, I will tell about the list of the top 10 toughest exams in India out of them all.

Top 10 Toughest Exams in India 2021

These are the top 10 difficult exams to crack in 2021 because very few people are able to clear the exam and get selected for the respective course or job.

  1. UPSC Civil Services Exam
  2. IIT JEE Entrance Exam
  3. GATE
  4. NEET
  5. Chartered Accountant Exam
  6. NID Entrance Exam
  7. UGC-NET
  8. Common Entrance Test (CAT)
  9. SSC CGL
  10. Common-Law Admission Test (CLAT)
Top 10 Toughest Exams in India
Top 10 Toughest Exams in India

Let’s discuss these examinations in detail.

UPSC Civil Services Exam (CSE)

UPSC Civil Services Exam is one of the popular exams in India in which more than 10 lakh people fill the form every year. Every year the UPSC exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission to recruit proper contestants for top administrative posts in the government of India. UPSC exam covers a wide variety of syllabi including History, Polity, Geography, General Studies, Management, Development, etc. You can give UPSC exam in only two mediums i.e. Hindi or English. The UPSC exam is conducted in three phases:

Preliminary Examination:- It is also known as prelims. It is the first phase of the UPSC civil exam which consists of 2 compulsory papers i.e. GS paper I and GS paper II which are held on a single day and are divided into two sessions. The nature of both papers is objective type (MCQs). The duration of each paper is 2 hours and contains each paper a total of 200 marks. 1/3 mark is deducted for each wrong answer.

Main Examination:- The main exam is the second phase, which consists of 9 papers that are conducted over a duration of 5 to 9 days.

Interview Round:- An interview is the final and hardest section in UPSC for most of the aspirants because aspirants have to give an oral examination.

Conducted BodyUnion Public Service Commission
Minimum QualificationGraduation
Age Limit21-32 (General)
21-35 (OBC)
21-37 (SC/ST)
Exam TypePost Graduate
Exam LevelAll India Level
UPSC Exam Date 20225th June 2022
Official Websitewww.upsc.gov.in

According to 2019 data, approx 8 lakh candidates applied for the UPSC exam and out of them only 11845 candidates qualified for the main exam. After that only 2034 candidates appeared in the interview and only 829 candidates got selected for civil services posts. That’s why the UPSC exam is called the toughest exam.

Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)

GATE is a post-graduate level examination that is organized for taking admission to postgraduate courses in colleges like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Science (IISc). The GATE exam offer candidates to enter into the discipline of engineering, architecture, science, and technology. The GATE exam is conducted by IISc and several IITs. Marks obtained in the GATE exam are valid for three years from the date of declaration of result.

GATE is an all-India level online-based (CBT) examination having a total of 65 questions consisting of a total of 100 marks whose syllabus comes from your 4-year bachelor’s degree course. GATE exam contains Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ), Multiple Select Questions (MSQ), and Numerical Answer Type (NAT) Questions. The duration of the GATE exam is 3 hours.

Conducted BodyIISc and IITs
Minimum QualificationGraduation (Engineering/Science)
Exam TypePost Graduate
Exam LevelAll India Level
Exam ModeComputer Based Test (Online)
GATE 2022 Exam Date5th to 13th February 2022
Official Websitegate.iitkgp.ac.in

GATE is one of the toughest exams in India as more than 8 lakh candidates apply for the GATE exam every year. On average around 10 to 20 per cent of the total candidates qualify for the GATE exam.

IIT JEE Entrance Examination

The JEE is an Engineering entrance examination that offers courses like B.Tech/B.E, B.Arch/B.Plan in many disciplines. IIT JEE is considered the second toughest exam in India. Students get a chance to study in India’s top IITs and NITs after 12th by qualifying for an entrance exam called IIT Joint Entrance Examination. Questions in JEE exam come from Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics subjects. 12th passed or appearing is the minimum qualification that is required to apply for the IIT JEE exam. Candidates must have taken science discipline (with Maths or Biology) in 10+2.

The exam is conducted in two rounds, JEE Main and JEE Advanced.

JEE Main Exam:- Candidates first have to appear in the main examination. The duration of the exam is 3 hours and the exam is conducted in online mode through a computer-based test. The exam has 3 sections Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. Candidates are eligible to get NIT college after passing the JEE main exam but candidates cannot get IIT college because for getting IIT college, candidates have to clear JEE Advanced exam.

JEE Advanced Exam:- Only those candidates who have qualified in JEE Main and qualify for JEE Advanced are eligible to appear in JEE Advanced exam. JEE advanced exam is toughest than the JEE main exam. The duration of the JEE advanced is also 3 hours and it is also conducted in online mode. Only those candidates who qualify for the advanced exam are eligible to get admission to ITI colleges.

Conducted BodyNational Testing Agency (NTA)
Minimum Qualification12th (Science with a Minimum of 75%)
Exam TypeUnder Graduate
Exam LevelAll India Level
Exam ModeComputer Based Test (Online)
JEE Main Exam Date 20224th Week of February 2022 (1st Session)
Official Websitejeemain.nta.nic.in

On average, every year more than 12th lakhs candidates appear in JEE main exam, and from that only 2-2.5 lakhs are qualified for JEE advanced exam. After that only 20 to 25 thousand are passed in JEE advanced exam and out of which only 10 thousand candidates get success in getting seats in IITs.

Related Read:- Courses after 12th

National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET)

NEET is a medical entrance examination that is conducted by NTA. Students who want to study medical courses like MBBS, BDS, BAMS, and BHMS from a medical school in India must have to qualify for the NEET entrance exam. It is one of the toughest medical exams in India. Candidates having passed in 12th standard from a science stream with biology as the main subjects are eligible to apply for the NEET exam. The exam is conducted in pen and paper-based mode and the duration of the exam is 3 hours.

The NEET exam contains 200 Multiple Based Questions (MCQs), out of which candidates have to attempt only 180 questions. The syllabus of the NEET exam has come from Biology, Chemistry, and Physics subjects. The NEET question paper is divided into 4 sections i.e. Physics, Chemistry, Zoology, and Botany. The marking pattern of the exam is like 4 marks for each correct answer while 1 mark will be deducted for every incorrect answer.

Conducted BodyNational Testing Agency (NTA)
Minimum Qualification12th (with Biology)
Exam TypeUnder Graduate
Exam LevelAll India Level
Exam ModePen and Paper (Offline)
NEET Exam Date 20222nd May 2022
Official Websiteneet.nta.nic.in

More than 15 lakhs students registered for the NEET examination and the good news is that more than 50% of the candidates have qualified for the exam every year but very few candidates get seats in top medical colleges in India.

UGC-NET

UGC-NET stand’s for University Grants Commission-National Eligibility Test is a national-level entrance exam conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA) to assign candidates who are eligible for the post of Assistant Professor and Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) at various universities and colleges in India. The UGC-NET exam is conducted twice a year, in the month of June and December.

The duration of the UGC-NET exam is 3 hours and it comprises of total two papers – paper 1 and paper 2 that will be held consecutively without any break. The UGC-NET exam contains a total of 150 questions, 50 questions in paper 1 and 100 questions in paper 2. Every correct answer candidate will get 2 marks and the good news is that there is no negative marking for incorrect answers.

Conducted BodyNational Testing Agency (NTA)
Minimum QualificationMaster Degree (Minimum 55%)
Exam TypePost Graduate
Exam LevelAll India Level
Exam ModeComputer Based Test (Online)
UGC NET Exam Date 20221st Week of June 2022
Official Websitehttps://ugcnet.nta.nic.in/

Every year 8 to 8.5 lakhs students are appearing in the UGC NET exam including Assistant Professor and Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and only around 5% to 10% of students qualify for the exam successfully. Due to this, it is very difficult to crack this examination.

Common Admission Test (CAT)

The Common Admission Test or CAT is a post-graduate entrance exam for candidates who want to do management and business courses like MBA, PGDM from national-level management colleges or universities like IIMs. 2021 CAT exam has been assigned to be conducted by IIM Ahmedabad. The CAT exam is conducted across 354 centres all over India.

According to the 2021 exam pattern, the CAT exam contains MCQs and subjective types of questions. The duration of the exam is 2 hours and it’s containing a total of 76 questions. Every correct answer gives 3 marks while every incorrect answer deducted 1 mark. CAT exam consists of 3 sections – Verbal and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA).

Conducted BodyIIMs
Minimum QualificationGraduation (50%)
Exam TypePost Graduate
Exam LevelAll India Level
Exam ModeComputer Based Test (Online)
CAT Exam Date 2022Last Week of November 2021
Official Websitehttps://iimcat.ac.in/

The reason why CAT is one of the toughest exams in India is that according to 2019 data only 2% to 3% of candidates are qualifying for the examination out of 2.10 lakhs candidates.

Common-Law Admission Test (CLAT)

Common-Law Admission Test is a national level entrance exam that is conducted for students who want to study LLB, LLM, and Law courses from India’s top law schools/universities. 16 National Law Universities in India admit the marks/scores obtained from the CLAT exam. Several private law colleges in India also use the score of CLAT during admission. The CLAT exam is conducted by the National Law Schools/Universities.

The duration of the CLAT exam is 2 hours and its consists of a total of 150 multiple-based questions (MCQs). Every correct answer contains 1 mark while every incorrect answer deducted 0.25 marks. CLAT exam comprises five sections – Logical Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, Legal Aptitude, Verbal Ability, and General Knowledge.

Conducted BodyNational Law Schools/Universities
Minimum Qualification12th with a Minimum 45% (UG) or 3 Years LLB with a Minimum 50% (PG)
Exam TypeUnder Graduate/Post Graduate
Exam LevelAll India Level
Exam ModePen and Paper (Offline)
CLAT Exam Date 20222nd Week of May 2022
Official Websitehttps://consortiumofnlus.ac.in/

Every year in India, more than 60 thousand students appear on the CLAT exam. Out of which only around 3 to 4 thousand students qualify for the CLAT exam and only a few hundred students are selected in top law schools in India.

Chartered Accountant Exam

The chartered accountant exam is conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for students who want to become Chartered Accountants. It is one of the toughest exams in India. The exam is conducted across 192 cities in India and the medium of paper is English. The exam is conducted on 3 levels:

  1. CA Foundation
  2. CA Intermediate
  3. CA Final
Conducted BodyInstitute of Chartered Accountants of India
Minimum Qualification12th (Minimum 60%)
Exam TypeUnder Graduate
Level of ExamAll India Level
Exam LevelFoundation, Intermediate, and Final
Exam ModeComputer Based Test (Online)
CA Exam Date 2022June 2022
Official Websitehttps://icaiexam.icai.org/

It is very difficult to clear all the levels of the CA exam. More than 4 lakhs students appear in the CA exam and only 5% to 8% of students successfully qualifies the exam.

Staff Selection Commission – Combined Graduate Level Exam (SSC CGL)

SSC CGL is a postgraduate entrance exam conducted by the Staff Selection Commission of India. It is one of the largest government exams in India because every year more than 30 lakhs of students fill out the SSC CGL application form. SSC CGL is for those students who want to get a job in the government department i.e. in the ministries under the central government of India. The SSC CGL exam is conducted in 4 stages:

Tier 1:- The tier 1 exam contains a total of 100 questions with a maximum of 200 marks. The duration of the Tier-1 exam is 1 hour (60 Minutes) and its consists of 4 sections – General Awareness, General Intelligence & Reasoning, Quantitative Aptitude, and English Comprehension. Every correct answer gives 2 marks and every wrong answer is deducted 0.50 marks. The Tier 1 paper is conducted in online mode.

Tier 2:- The Tier 2 exam consists of 4 papers – Statistics, Quantitative Ability, General Studies (Finance & Economics), English Language & Comprehension. Each paper is for 2 hours. The English Language and Comprehension contain 200 questions and the rest of each contains 100 questions. Each paper has a total of 200 marks. For the paper English Language and Comprehension 0.25 marks are deducted for each wrong answer and for the rest of each paper, 0.50 marks are deducted for each wrong answer. The Tier 2 paper is also conducted in online mode.

Tier 3:- It contains only 1 paper and the duration of the Tier 3 exam is 1 hour (60 Minutes). It is a descriptive paper in English/Hindi. The Tier 3 exam is conducted in offline mode

Tier 4:- It is basically a practical computer skill test. The mode of the Tier 4 exam is offline.

Conducted BodyStaff Selection Commission of India
Minimum QualificationGraduation
Exam TypePost Graduate
Exam LevelAll India Level
Exam ModeBoth Online and Offline
SSC CGL Tier 1 Exam Date 20224th Week of July – 3rd Week of August 2022
Official Websitehttps://ssc.nic.in/

Why it’s come in the list of top 10 toughest exams in India because the competition is high and only around 10% to 12% of candidates are successfully qualified for the SSC CGL exam.

National Institute of Design (NID) Entrance Exam

The National Institute of Design exam is a design aptitude entrance test for students who want to do UG and PG designing courses like Bachelor in Design, and Master in Design from the National Institute of Design. The entrance exam is conducted by the NID admission committee. The NID exam is conducted in two rounds:

  • NID Prelims
  • NID Mains
Conducted BodyNID Admission Committee
Minimum Qualification12th
Exam TypeUnder Graduate
Exam LevelAll India Level
Exam ModePen and Paper (Offline)
NID Exam Date 2022Likely in the Month of March 2022
Official Websitehttps://admissions.nid.edu/

It is one of the toughest exams in India and it is very difficult to crack because seats are very limited and the competition is very high. There are very few candidates who qualify for this exam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is the exam in Indian navy or airforce?

National Defence Academy (NDA), Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT), and Indian Navy Entrance Test (INET) are one of the toughest defence exams in India.

Which exam is the most toughest exam in India?

UPSC civil services entrance exam is the toughest exam in India.

Is IAS exam is tougher than NEET?

According to many IAS officers, the IAS exam called as UPSC civil services exam is tougher than the NEET exam.

Is CA tough than IIT?

It is very difficult to tell which one is easy and which one is tough because both the examination is for different fields and the syllabus is also very different. So, there is no comparison between these two.

Why CA exam is so hard?

Because there is three-level which candidates have to qualify and the syllabus of CA is very vast. So, it is very difficult to clear the CA exam.

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