Top 10 Toughest Exams in India – Hardest to Crack 2021

Top 10 Toughest Exams in India:

If you want to study in prestigious and renowned institutes of India or want to get a job in civil services, you have to crack (pass) the entrance exams of respective institutions and sectors.

Students study hard to pass these exams and to fulfill their dreams. These exams are the toughest to clear as they test your complete skills of knowledge and aptitude.

Top 10 toughest exams in India

The concept of Entrance Exams began back in 1857 and has evolved over time. The toughness has also ascended.

You should prepare really well to pass the exams as the criteria to qualify are tough. But clearing the exam and getting a dream college or job will be worth it.

Here is the list of the Top 10 Toughest Exams in India:


AIIMS UG, toughest exams in India
Every student who is planning to become a doctor must be familiar with AIIMS. Students have to clear AIIMS if they want to complete their degree through AIIMS Colleges.

All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is a group of most renowned medical institutes offering medical degrees and other courses.

AIIMS offers various UG, PG, Super-specialization, and Doctoral courses.

The first AIIMS was established in New Delhi in 1956 and now there are 15 AIIMS colleges across India.

In 2019, a total of 3,38,457 candidates appeared for AIIMS to get a spot in 1,150 seats in the 15 AIIMS colleges across India. Out of which only 11,380 candidates were qualified.

The success rate of AIIMS 2019 was 33.62% out of 100%.

Exam Details:

Conducted By: AIIMS Delhi
Mode: Online
Duration: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Who can apply: Students who have passed 10+2 with an aggregate of 60% marks in English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology.
After Clearing: MBBS, B.Sc. degree courses from AIIMS institutions.

9. CLAT (Common Law Admission Test):

CLAT, toughest exams in India
Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is a national-level entrance test conducted for the admission of students to the 22 National Law Universities offering UG and PG law courses.

Many other private law institutions and the PSU’s also consider the score of CLAT Post Graduation (CLAT PG) for admission and jobs respectively.

In 2008 first Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) was conducted.

Students clearing CLAT can study BA LLB (Hons), BSc LLB (Hons), BCom LLB (Hons) from the most renowned law universities.

As there is no such pass or fail criteria for CLAT, but the rank within 3000 will open the gates of National Law Universities for you.

About 60,000 students appeared for CLAT 2019 and the intake capacity of the NLU was 2984 seats. Approximately, the success rate of CLAT is just 5%.

Exam Details:

Conducted By: CLAT Consortium
Mode: Offline
Duration: 2 hours
Marks: 150
Who can apply: For UG: Pass 10+2
For PG: Candidate must have an LLB or any other equivalent degree with a minimum of 50% marks.
After Clearing: You can complete the following courses from one of the 22 NLU.

8. National Institute of Design (NID) Entrance Examination:

Toughest exams in India, NID DAT
National Institute of Design (NID) is a reputed design school with having the main campus in Ahmedabad. A total of seven NID are present in India.

The National Institute of Design (NID) Entrance Examination is a national-level test conducted for students who want to pursue their UG and PG courses from NID.

The first NID was established in 1961. NID offers B.Des, M.Des, and GDPD courses in 19 areas of specialization.

NID Design Aptitude Test (DAT) is divided into NID DAT Prelims and NID DAT Mains. Students need to clear both the exams to get in NID.

For NID DAT 2019 about 5000 candidates appeared for 100 UG seats. It is one of the toughest exams in India.

Exam Details:

Conducted By: the National Institute of Design
Mode: Offline
Duration: BDes: 3 hours
MDes: 2 hours 30 minutes
Marks: 100
Who can apply: Candidates passed or currently in 10+2
After Clearing: You can Opt for:
Bachelor of Design (BDes), Graduate Diploma Programme in Design (GDPD), and Master of Design (MDes).

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

UGC - NET, most toughest exams in India

University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test (UGC NET) is a national level test conducted to check the eligibility of aspirants for the post of assistant professor and/or Junior Research Fellowship in Indian universities and colleges.

UGC NET is conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and it began in 1989-90.

PSUs also consider the UGC NET score for the recruitment process.

About 5,26,707 students appeared for UGC NET 2020 and 47,187 students qualified the UGC NET Exam.

The success numbers can tell it is one of the hardest exams in India.

Exam Details:

Conducted By: National Testing Agency (NTA)
Mode: Online
Duration: 3 Hours
Marks: Paper 1: 100
Paper 2: 200
Who can apply: Candidates should secure at least 55 percent aggregate marks in post-graduation.
Candidates should not be more than 31 years of age to be eligible for JRF.
After Clearing:  You can pursue Ph.D. from different universities/institutes and IIMs.
If you have qualified NET-JRF you can be recruited for various organizations.

6. NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test):

NEET UG, toughest exams in India

NEET is a national-level entrance test for aspirants looking forward to pursuing their undergraduate medical (MBBS), dental (BDS), and equivalent AYUSH (BAMS, BUMS, BHMS, etc.) courses from the top national medical institutions from India or from abroad.

In 2017, NEET replaced the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) and many other state-level medical entrance tests. NEET-UG is the main exam for the 66,000 MBBS and BDS seats across India.

NEET is conducted by National Testing Agency (NTA) and will be held at 155 centers across India in 2021.

In 2020, 13,66,945 candidates were present for the exam out of which 7,71,500 candidates qualified the exam. The success rate of NEET-UG is 56.44%.

It a tough exam to crack because of its negative marking scheme and fewer admission seats compared to applicants.

Exam Details:

Conducted By: National Testing Agency (NTA)
Mode: Offline
Duration: 3 hours
Marks: -180 to +720
720 marks, Correct Answer: +4, Incorrect Answer: -1
Who can apply: Must have passed the 10+2 examination or its equivalent in PCB
After Clearing: MBBS, BDS, BUMS, BAMS, BHMS, BSMS, BNYS, etc. courses from prestigious private or government medical colleges.

5. National Defence Academy (NDA):

NDA, toughest exams in India

National Defence Academy Entrance Exam is the most attempted exam for the selection of aspirants into the national defense services like Army, Navy, and Air Force.

As UPSC is conducting this exam it is one of the toughest exams in India. NDA is conducted by UPSC twice a year in two stages: written and SSB interview.

Students who clear the written exam are called for the SSB interview for the Intelligence and Personality test.

In 2018, for both NDA 1 and NDA 2 total of 7.9 lakh, students applied, and only 899 students were selected. The success rate of NDA is only 0.0005%. (Here success means making it to the military academy)

No doubt getting into the military academy is going through a lot of filtration process. NDA has the lowest admission rate of all the military training academies from around the world.

Exam Details:

Conducted By: UPSC
Mode: Offline
Duration: Five hours (Mathematics: 2 ½ hours, General Ability Test (GAT): 2 ½ hours)
Marks: GAT: 150 objective type questions 
Mathematics: 120 objective type questions
Who can apply: Visit: Eligibility Criteria for NDA
After Clearing: If you clear the written exam you will have to clear the SSB interview.
After getting selected in NDA, 3 years completion of Bachelors Degree and then 1-year training.

4. CAT (Common Admission Test):

CAT, toughest exam in India

Indian Institute of Management (IIMs) are the renowned and top management education institutions in India providing undergraduate, postgraduate, doctoral, and executive education programs along with some additional courses.

Common Admission Test (CAT) is a computer-based common aptitude test for the admission of aspirants into the 20 IIMs and over 1,200 B-schools in India offering post-graduate management programs.

The CAT comprises three sections: Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension (VARC), Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning (DILR), and Quantitative Ability (QA).

There are 20 IIMs in India. CAT exam is held by the IIMs on a rotational basis. It is a gateway to the IIMs and top management institutions.

For CAT 2019, 2,09,926 candidates successfully attended the exam for the total no. of 4,318 seats over 20 IIMs. It has a high competition level.

Exam Details:

Conducted By: IIM
Mode: Computer-based but not online mode
Duration: Generally: 3 hours
For CAT 2020: 2 hours
Marks: Generally: 100
For CAT 2020: 76
Who can apply: The candidate must possess a bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 50 percent aggregate or equivalent CGPA

3. GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering):

toughest exams in India

GATE is a national-level entrance exam for the students who want to complete their M.E., M.Tech, and Ph.D. from the IITs, NITs, IIITs, and other top reputed colleges across India.

GATE score is not limited only to India. It is also considered in renowned abroad institutes for admission.

PSU sector also considers GATE score for the recruitment process.

Students who are in the final year of their engineering can attend the exam. GATE is jointly conducted by the seven IITs and IISC on a rotational basis on behalf of NCB – GATE, MHRD, and the Government of India.

GATE is the most recognized exam in India. Students who clear GATE and get admission in the IIT or NIT get financial assistance from the government.

For GATE 2020, out of 8,58,890 registered candidates, 6,85,088 candidates appeared for the exam and approx 1,28,797 (18.8%) candidates qualified the exam.

GATE is the third toughest exam in the world. It is a gateway for engineering students for a better future.

Exam Details:

Conducted By: IISC and seven IITs
Mode: Online
Duration: 3 hours
Marks: 100
Who can apply: Candidates must have passed graduation in engineering/technology or Master’s degree in any relevant science subject.
Candidates in the pre-final or final year of their qualifying degree also eligible to appear for GATE
After Clearing: 1. You can pursue M.E/M.Tech/Ph.D. from the NITs, IIITs, IITs, and CFTIs,
2. Get a job in PSUs
3. You can study abroad.

2. IIT JEE Entrance Examinations:

IIT JEE, toughest exams in India

IIT JEE is the most famous entrance exam in India. Most of the students as well as their parents might be aware of this exam.

IIT JEE is a national-level entrance exam held for the students willing to complete their BE/BTech, BPlan, and BArch courses from the IITs, IIPE, RGIPT, IISERs, and the IISc.

This exam is conducted by one of the seven IITs every year on a rotational basis under the guidance of the Joint Admission Board (JAB).

The exam is divided into two parts: JEE Main and JEE Advanced. Those who qualify JEE Main will be able to attend JEE Advanced.

For JEE Main 2019 exam held in April about 9,58,619 candidates appeared for the exam.

For JEE Advanced April 2019, a total number of 1,61,319 candidates appeared for the exam out of which only 38,705 candidates qualified the JEE Advanced exam.

Every year more than 2 lakh candidates register for IIT-JEE for the 16,059 seats in IITs across India. It has a very low qualification rate of 0.92%.

IIT-JEE is not only one of the toughest exams in India but also one of the toughest exams in the world.

Exam Details:

Conducted By: IITs
Mode: Online
Duration: 3 hours
Who can apply: For JEE Main: Candidates should have passed class 12 with the equivalent marks.
For JEE Advanced: Candidates should have compulsorily passed JEE Main 2021 (Paper 1). It is also necessary for them to be among the top 2,50,000 candidates.
After Clearing: You can complete your degree courses from IIT, NIT, IISc, RGIPT, and many other top colleges of India.

1. UPSC (Union Public Service Commission):

UPSC, toughest exams in India

UPSC is the most admired and the toughest competitive exam in India. It is a gateway for civil services of which most of the aspirants desire for.

UPSC is the entrance exam for the aspirants who want to serve in Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Police Services (IPS), and Central Civil Services. These are some of the top and the most powerful sectors of the Indian government.

IAS is the most crucial post in the Indian government. The departments in the union and state governments as well as the ministries are headed by an IAS. If you top this exam you may become the Cabinet Secretary to the Government of India.

For qualifying you have to go through 3 stages: 1.Prelims, 2.Mains, 3.Interview. If you qualify the exam, you are allotted a department out of 23 different civil service departments according to your ranking.

In 2019, about 8 lakh candidates applied for the exam. Out of which 11,845 candidates qualified for mains. Of which only 2,034 got selected for an interview and lastly 829 candidates got selected for posts.

It takes years of hard work to clear UPSC. It is also one of the toughest exams in the world.

Conducted By: UPSC
Mode: Offline
Duration: Prelims: 2 hours
Mains: 3 hours
Eligibility Criteria: Please visit for more details: Eligibility criteria for UPSC
After Clearing: You are selected as an IAS officer.


UPSC is the toughest competitive exam in India followed by IIT JEE and GATE. The success rate is 0.1% to 0.3%.

  • 10. AIIMS UG
  • 9. CLAT (Common Law Admission Test)
  • 8. National Institute of Design (NID) Entrance Examination
  • 7. UGC – NET (University Grants Commission – National Eligibility Test)
  • 6. NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test)
  • 5. National Defence Academy (NDA)
  • 4. CAT (Common Admission Test)
  • 3. GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering)
  • 2. IIT JEE Entrance Examinations
  • 1. UPSC (Union Public Service Commission)

Comment down for which exam you are/will be preparing and Best of Luck from the TopSorted team.

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