Top 10 Toughest Exam in India That Needs Sincere Preparation to Crack

Top 10 Toughest Exam in India That Needs Sincere Preparation to Crack

Our education system is segregated into numerous segments and exams are one of the significant parts. Exams not only test the student’s knowledge and ability but also instil core skills like discipline, time management, and patience. Whether you want to get admission to a reputed university or you want to get a job, exams are a vital part of the selection process.

Some of the exams in India are so tough that they are considered one of the toughest exams in the world. Few exams include descriptive questions whereas some include multiple-choice questions. Whatever the type of question may be without strategic planning, and proper guidance, one can’t crack the exams. There comes the role of career experts who guides you in the best possible way. 

SeekEx Provides you access to the toppers of the relevant exams as career experts so that they can share their secret strategies to crack the exam. In this blog, we shall discuss the toughest exams in India and how a student can prepare and crack it.

List of Top 10 Toughest Exams in India

1. UPSC Civil services exam

UPSC civil services exams are not only the most prestigious but also one of the toughest exams in India. The purpose of the exam is to recruit the top administrative positions in the central government of India. This exam recruits candidates for various services like IAS, IPS, and IFS. 

UPSC consists of three main exams: preliminary exam, main exam, and interview or personality test.

What makes UPSC the toughest exam in India?

It can be said that a candidate has to put in lots of serious effort and hard work to crack the toughest exam in India. As the syllabus is also vast and encompasses a wide range of subjects which makes it more difficult to crack. Besides that, numerous candidates appear for the exam and that makes competition in this exam even tougher. 

Eligibility Criteria of UPSC

Below are the parameters that are required to be eligible for the UPSC civil services exam. Your age limit should be between 21 to 32 years. There are some criteria for age relaxation that depend on the category. The number of attempts available for the exam is another reason that it is considered one of India’s toughest exams. General category students get only 6 attempts whereas OBC candidates have 9 attempts and SC/ST candidates get attempts till they have the age limit to appear for the exam. The educational qualification to appear in the UPSC exam which is one of the toughest exams in India is graduation in any stream. 

Stages of UPSC exam

  • Preliminary Examination: In the prelims exam of UPSC, there are two exams namely, that are General studies I and general studies II(CSAT). Only after clearing this exam, one can proceed to the mains of UPSC, the toughest exam in India.
  • Mains Examination: The UPSC Mains exam consists of nine papers that are two language papers, one essay paper, and two optional papers. The two language papers are qualifying in nature. This stage of the UPSC is the hardest part of this exam. 
  • Personality test or interview: The personality test or interview round is the final round of the UPSC exam. After this stage is conducted the final result is declared. The cumulative score of the UPSC Main exam and interview is considered to conclude the final result.

2. Chartered Accountant

The Chartered accountant exam is conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. This exam has multiple tiers and the students consider it one of the toughest exams in India. The entire course consists of a rigorous pattern and upon qualifying in all the exams a student can have a successful career with a lucrative salary. The CA course exams are among the top 10 toughest exams in India. Basically, it is a 3 tier exam that comprises common proficiency test(CPT), an Integrated professional competence course, and the CA final examination. 

Why are CA exams the toughest exams in India?

One of the main reasons that makes CA course exams tough is that it is conducted in different tiers and includes a vast syllabus. The sections of exams are the foundation, intermediate and final. Usually, in the months of May and November, these three exams are conducted. 

Eligibility of CA exam

Two routes are available by which candidates can appear for the CA exam course. If any candidate wants to get direct entry then they need to be a commerce graduate and score a minimum of 55% marks in aggregate. 

Besides that, the student must be from accounting, Merchant laws, Economics, Mercantile Laws, Auditing, corporate laws, and other areas of commerce. Whereas those who aren’t commerce graduates can also get direct entry to the CA course if they have a minimum 60% aggregate score in the graduation from a recognized university.   

To appear for the CA foundation course which is one of the toughest exams in India, you have to successfully pass the 10th and 12th board exams from a recognised institution with a minimum of 50% marks. However, there’s no age restriction to appear for this course. 

Stages of CA

  • In the first stage of the CA exam, students have to apply for the CPT exam which is also known as the foundation course. 
  • Once the candidates are able to clear the foundation course, they have to apply for the IPCC program which is also referred to as the intermediate program. Those students who have already passed class 12th are eligible to appear for this program. 
  • Once the IPCC exam gets completed, the student has to undergo a CA articleship. This is just like an internship under a chartered accountant. With the help of this, students get the opportunity to understand the way accounts are handled by an experienced chartered account. 
  • The final step to a certified Chartered accountant is to complete the CA final course and crack the exams. 


The joint entrance that allows the students to join various engineering courses at the Indian Institutes of technology is known as the IIT-JEE exam. This exam is considered one of the toughest exams in India. By clearing the two different stages of IIT JEE a student gets a confirmation for admission to the prestigious IITs present across the country. Every year a huge number of students appear for the IIT JEE exams and only a few of them get selected and have the opportunity to study at IIT. The complex syllabus of the IIT JEE exam also makes it one of the hardest exams in India

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Why is IIT JEE the toughest exam in India?

There are two main factors that make the IIT JEE exams toughest. One is the syllabus which is almost endless and includes lots of topics. Another main reason is the competition because a huge number of candidates appear for the exam while the selection rate is quite low in comparison to the candidates appearing for the exam.  

Eligibility Criteria of IIT JEE

  • To appear in one of the toughest exams in India, a general category student must secure 75% marks in class 12 or any equivalent qualifying exam. In the case of SC-ST candidates, the qualifying mark is 65%
  • If not, then the candidate must secure a top 20 percentile in the class 12 board exams.
  • There’s no age limit for appearing in IIT JEE mains exams. 
  • A candidate has 3 attempts to appear for JEE mains exams. They can appear for 3 consecutive years from the year of appearance in class 12. 

Stages of the IIT JEE exam

IIT JEE is a national level toughest exam in India and consists primarily of two stages. The first one is IIT JEE Mains and the second one is IIT JEE Advanced. In the JEE main screening exam, the candidates are selected and only those candidates are eligible to appear for JEE advanced. This is the final exam for getting into the IITs. 

Upon getting selected for this toughest exam in India, a candidate is eligible to do a 4-year B.Tech, B.Pharm, Integrated M.Sc., and courses. Currently, it is an objective type examination that consists of two papers with a duration of three hours. These papers are meant for testing the comprehension and analytical abilities of the candidates. Paper 1 and 2 have three separate sections on the subjects Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics. 

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NEET exam is among the toughest exams in India.  To get admission to medical schools in India, it’s mandatory to qualify in the NEET exam. The national testing agency conducts this examination every year to shortlist candidates for MBBS, BDS, and other courses in different top medical colleges except AIIMS. 

That’s because AIIMS conduct their own entrance examinations to offer admissions in their medical courses. Those candidates who have qualified in their 12th class examinations are eligible to apply for NEET. These days it has become a prominent and toughest examination in India

Why is NEET considered the toughest exam in India?

One of the common reasons why NEET-UG is considered one of the toughest competitive exams is that a huge number of candidates appear for it every year. The available seats in the medical colleges are comparatively lesser than the number of students applying for the NEET-UG exam. Another reason this exam becomes tough is its syllabus which is huge and the students have to start preparing for it from class 12 onwards. 

Eligibility for NEET UG

The eligibility criteria for appearing for this toughest exam in India is you should have passed the class 12th board examination with physics, English, Chemistry, Biology. The minimum aggregate is 50% in class 12 board examinations for the general category. While reserved categories must have 40% to 45% marks. If a candidate has biology as an additional subject in class 12 then also they are eligible to appear for the NEET exam.  

Exam pattern of NEET UG

In the year 2021, the number of questions asked in the NEET exam was revised to 200 from 180. Each subject in this exam is divided into 2 sections; A and B and each have 35 and 15 questions respectively. The subjects are namely physics, chemistry, zoology, and Botany. Here is the changed pattern of the NEET exam, one of the toughest exams in India:

  • In the internal choice of section B, out of 15 questions, candidates have to attempt any 10.
  • Malayalam and Punjabi have been added to the language option increasing the count of language options to 13. 
  • The marking scheme remains the same that is 4 marks for each correct answer and 1 mark will be deducted for every incorrect answer. 

5. Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE)

The main purpose of the GATE exam is to enable engineering students to get admission to postgraduate courses at IITs. Among various other engineering entrance exams, it is considered one of the toughest exams in India. Indian Institute of science conducts the exam. The questions asked in GATE are mainly related to the concepts taught in the 4 years of the Undergraduate degree. Nowadays, this exam is conducted online. 

Why is GATE the toughest exam in India?

A huge number of candidates appear for GATE annually, but the seat to get admissions in the post-graduate courses is limited. That’s the reason GATE becomes one of the toughest exams in India. Besides that, the exam is completely dependent on the B.Tech and B.E curriculum so having complete knowledge of the concepts taught in it is mandatory. 

Eligibility for GATE

There’s no age limit for appearing for the GATE examination. However, the other eligibility criteria include the candidates must be Indian. Candidates from other countries can apply if they meet other eligibility criteria. There’s no requirement for a minimum pass percentage in the qualifying degree. 

Only those students are eligible to apply for this toughest exam in India who have either passed or are in the final year of a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or technology or have completed a postgraduate degree in any relevant science subject. If a candidate wants to pursue a qualifying degree from other countries then in that case they should have completed their Bachelor’s degree. 

Exam Pattern of GATE

The exam pattern of GATE makes it the toughest exam in India. Nowadays, it is a computer-based test that is conducted online. It is a three hours exam and consists of 29 papers. Basically, there are two sections one is general aptitude and the other one is candidate selected subject. The type of questions asked is multiple choice questions, multiple select questions, and Numerical answer type questions. 

6. National Defence Academy(NDA)

The NDA is not only the toughest exam in India but it is also one of the most vital exams. The services selection board conducts the NDA exam for recruiting the candidates in Army, Navy, and Airforce. Twice a year the exam is conducted and the best candidates are screened from the huge number of candidates who have appeared for the exam. Those who are selected get the opportunity to study in a defence academy. 

As per the exam pattern of NDA, there is a written test followed by an interview that consists of outdoor activities. The outdoor activities help in evaluating the candidate on the basis of the on-ground performance skills. A candidate is eligible to study only when he/she clears all the stages of the examination.

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Why is the NDA the toughest exam in India? 

NDA is the most difficult exam in India because the syllabus of the written exam is vast. Apart from the written exam, there is also a psychological aptitude test and an intelligence test. These tests make the exam even tougher. Moreover, candidates need to remain fit for getting admission after clearing the written tests. 

Eligibility for NDA exam

The candidate must be a citizen of India or a subject of Nepal or Bhutan or a Tibetan refugee who came to India to completely settle before January 1, 1962. If a candidate is not an Indian citizen then they must have a certificate of eligibility issued by the Government of India. The education qualification required to get admission in NDA is a 12th pass or equivalent from a recognized board.

 Although different academies of NDA have different requirements for educational qualifications. One of the important eligibility criteria to appear for the NDA exam is that the candidate should not be married. Unlike other toughest exams in India, NDA requires you to qualify in terms of physical standards as well. The minimum height requirement is 157 cms and for the air force, it is 162.5cms. Depending on the location of residence, there are few exemptions provided to the candidate, 

Stages of NDA exam

1. Written Exam: The first stage of the NDA exam is a written exam that is a 900 marks test. It includes two sections that are Mathematics and General Ability. It is held for a duration of 3 hours and the questions asked are objective types MCQs. To clear this toughest exam in India, you must secure the minimum cut-off marks. 

2. Interview: The second stage of NDA is the interview. You are eligible to appear in the NDA process only if you are able to obtain the minimum qualifying marks in the written examination. The interview is taken for around five days and has two sections. One is the officer intelligence test and the picture, perception, and description test. Another stage of the interview is with the interviewing officer, group testing officer, and psychologists. 

3. Final Selection: You will be able to qualify for the NDA exam, one of the toughest exams in India, when the merit list is prepared for the candidates. It is prepared on the basis of the marks obtained in the written test and the SSB interview. 


Unlike NEET, AIIMS UG is organised by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The main purpose of this exam is to select candidates for MBBS degrees from the AIIMS campuses. AIIMS is one of the renowned medical institutions in India so the examination conducted to get admission to it is one of the toughest exams in India. Every medical aspirant dreams of studying at AIIMS so every year a huge number of applications are received. 

Why is AIIMS UG considered the toughest exam in India?

Basically, there are two main reasons AIIMS UG is among the toughest exams in India. One of the obvious reasons is the high number of applicants and a limited number of seats. Apart from the tough competition, the difficulty level of the exams is also increasing so only deserving qualified candidates get selected.

Eligibility for AIIMS UG

The minimum age limit of the candidate for applying for the AIIMS exam is 17 years. The candidate must pass class 12th with Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and English as main subjects and score at least 60% marks. 

Exam pattern of AIIMS UG

  • Currently, the AIIMS MBBS entrance exam which is one of the toughest exams in India is held in online mode. That means it is now a computer-based test. 
  • The exam will last for around three and half hours and the medium of the test in either English or Hindi.  
  • Around 200 multiple choice questions are asked in the exam from the subjects of the qualifying exam including Physics, Chemistry, Biology, General Knowledge, and Aptitude. 
  • Each section carries 1 mark for every correct response, while 1/3rd mark is deducted for each wrong answer. 

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UGC NET is on the list of the hardest exams in India that recruit candidates for the post of assistant professor or junior research fellowship at different Indian Universities and colleges. This exam is conducted in around 83 subjects and 81 centres across the country. The national testing agency conducts the examination. This exam is taken by mostly those candidates who are either in their final year of master’s degree or have completed a master’s degree. 

Why is UGC NET the toughest exam in India? 

More than 6 lakh candidates appear for the UGC NET exam and only 40,000 candidates are able to qualify for it. Besides that, paper 1 of the UGC NET is common for all subjects which makes it more competitive and challenging.

Eligibility for UGC NET 

UGC NET exam comprises two sections one is JRF(Junior research fellowship) and assistant professorship. The upper age limit of JRF is increased from 30 years to 31 years. The candidates applying for JRF must obtain at least 55% marks in their Master’s degree. 

Exam pattern of UGC NET

The National Testing Agency is responsible for conducting the UGC NET exam. This is one of the toughest exams in India also because of its exam patterns. It has two papers one paper-1 and paper-2. The total number of questions asked in each paper is 50 and 100 respectively. For each question, 2 marks are allotted and the total duration of the exam is 3 hours. 

9. National Institute of Design Entrance Exam

These days many students are interested in pursuing design courses. As lots of candidates are appearing for the NID exam, it has also become one of the toughest exams in India. The National Institute of Design is responsible for conducting the exams and selecting candidates for different design courses. These courses include a bachelor of design and a masters of design. 

Why is NID the toughest exam in India?

The creative section of the NID exam makes it one of the top 10 toughest exams in India. The questions asked in the general paper are tricky and subjective questions are asked in the creative section which is time-consuming. This makes the NID exam extremely competitive. 


To get into the bachelor in design courses the candidates must have completed class 12 from any stream and from a recognized board. As the NID exams consist of 3 stages so a candidate is eligible to appear in the next stage only when they get qualified in the first one. 

Stages of NID exam

  1. NID-DAT prelims: It is a written test that includes various sections like communication skills, design theory, nature and geometrical form, creativity, design skills, and a lot more. 
  2. NID-DAT Mains: It is the studio test that includes drawing, sketching, group discussions, and presentations. 
  3. Interview: The final stage of the NID exam which is considered the toughest exam in India is the face-to-face interview. 

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10. Common Law Admission Test

CLAT is among India’s most toughest exams that are conducted to offer admissions in LLB and LLM courses. Some colleges may prefer LSAT scores for offering exams but the majority of colleges look for CLAT scores for admissions. Every year the exam is conducted and an offline mode of examination is followed. Upon clearing the exam, the candidate will get admission to a bachelor’s course in law college. 

Why is CLAT the toughest exam in India?

The common law admission test is one of India’s toughest exams because of its vast curriculum. Another reason that makes it the toughest exam is that it provides admission in the top law colleges. 

Eligibility for CLAT exam

The eligibility criteria to appear in the CLAT exam is that the candidate must have completed the 12th class examination or equivalent from a recognized institution with a minimum of 45% marks. 

Exam Pattern of CLAT

  • CLAT UG exam is one of the most prestigious and toughest exams in India. In the exam, there are five sections namely quantitative techniques, legal reasoning, current affairs & general knowledge, English language, and logical reasoning. 
  • In the PG exam of the CLAT, there are 2 sections, namely constitutional law and other areas of law. 
  • As per the new guidelines, CLAT 2022 will be conducted in offline mode and will consist of only MCQ questions. 

How does SeekEx help in Clearing the Toughest exams in India?

How SeekEx helps in Cracking the toughest Exams?

Are you looking ahead to appear for any of these toughest exams in India? If yes, then you need a complete strategy to appear for the exam and score the qualifying marks. But where can you find the genuine strategy to get success? 

A simple answer is the candidates who have already cleared the respective exam can guide you in the best possible way. That’s where SeekEx comes in!

SeekEx is a platform that provides access to experts from whom the seekers can directly consult. If you are preparing for a specific exam then you can look for the experts who have already cracked that exam. They will provide you with their success strategies and guide you throughout your preparation journey. Hence, you can very easily obtain success with the guidance of experts on seekEx.

In A Nutshell

This blog consists of the top 10 toughest exams in India. There are many more names out there. The majority of the exams are for testing the analytical ability and level of knowledge of the candidates. So, if you’re looking ahead to appear for any of these exams that are mentioned in the list or not you must work hard to improve your learning abilities and skills. 

Success is available for only those who work hard the right way. SeekEx has experts who are mostly the toppers of these exams. As they have already prepared for the same exam and gained the qualifying score so they are the ones who can guide you in the best possible way. Is the exam you are planning to appear in the toughest exam in India? No worries! SeekEx is here to hold your hands and provide complete guidance to prepare and crack the exam with ease!

Frequently Asked Questions About Toughest Exams of India

1. Which is the toughest exam in India?

Usually, UPSC is commonly considered the toughest exam in India. However, the toughest exam may differ according to the subjects of the candidates.

2. Is CA the toughest exam in India?

Yes, CA is the toughest exam in India for candidates who want to pursue chartered accountancy.

3. Is NDA tougher than IIT?

Both NDA and IIT are equally tough. With sincere efforts, both exams can be cracked.

4. Which optional subject is easy in the UPSC exam?

The subjects that you are interested in should be your optional subject in the UPSC exam as that will make the subject easier than others. 

5. Is CLAT difficult?

CLAT is considered one of the toughest exams in India.

6. Is the IAS exam difficult?

IAS exam is one of the toughest exams in India. It can be cracked only with a proper study strategy.

7. Is NEET easy to crack?

NEET is among the toughest exam in India so proper preparation makes it easy to crack. 

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