10 of The Hardest Exams and Interviews Ever

Around this time of year, in many areas of the world students are bundling themselves into the library, filling up on coffee, and opening their notes to inspect the damage in preparation for the dread

Around this time of year, in many areas of the world students are bundling themselves into the library, filling up on coffee, and opening their notes to inspect the damage in preparation for the dreaded finals. If you're one of the many who feel like they're staring down the barrel of a gun rather just looking at a text book, then fear not; there are people who are worse of than you.

Similarly, if you're prepping for a job interview which is looking overwhelmingly unlikely to pay off then don't despair. Your odds are most probably a good sight better than some of the cliff-face style job applications that are around in 2014.

Just to make you feel a little better, we've gathered together a list of 10 of the most difficult, specific, and arduous exams and interviews around at the moment. No matter how bad things are, at least you (probably, god help you if you do) don't have to understand the workings of a jet engine for your next job interview and the odds of passing your next exam are (most likely) better than 3.1%

19 Rolls-Royce


If you're an engineering student with grades high enough to get to the interview stage with this century old car manufacturer you probably know your stuff. Successful applicants are invited to take part in a two part interview; one practical, and one behavioural.

The practical one is tough enough, with graduates being asked industry-specific questions such as 'Identify and explain each part in a jet engine' (parts of which can number up to 25,000) and explaining in detail why a material such as Cobalt is used in a specific situation. However, if you're done your homework (and have a degree in engineering) you've got a good chance of getting through this stage.



To get into MENSA, the club for where the super intelligent come together as equals, you'll need to have one one thing: an intelligence within the top 2% of the world's population (an IQ of 132 on the  Stanford-Binet scale).

The elite organisation sets out to do three things: "to identify and to foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity; to encourage research into the nature, characteristics, and uses of intelligence; and to provide a stimulating intellectual and social environment for its members".

15 National Higher Education Entrance Examination (China)


If the mouthful of a title isn't enough to put you off, you might still be discouraged by the fact that the exam, commonly known as Gaokao (高考), is over twice as long as an SAT.  Even if you manage to make it through the gruelling revision period, you're unlikely to get a positive result. Only 60% of students who sit this exam make it on to university, and  a mere 0.2% will make it into a top-five school. The exam, which is taken in the final year of high school, takes place only once a year, and completely takes over the country.

13 United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)


If you're an American and want to practice medicine, you've only got one option: Pass the USMLE. The national exam is designed to test a fledgling doctor's knowledge, concepts, and principles as well as their patient skills.

11 FBI




If you've got some time to kill, then maybe you'd like to try your hand at passing the Law School Admission Test. You'll need half a day, $165, and a proficiency in reading comprehension, logical, and verbal reasoning along with above-average smarts.

7 NASA astronaut candidate program


According to NASA's homepage 'The National Aeronautics and Space Administration accepts applications for the position of Astronaut Candidate on an as needed basis.' Even if you're at the top of your class, have attended space camp every year since you were 8, and are an accomplished rocket scientist, you're still going to have to wait for NASA to need some more astronauts.

5 Google


As many of you may have noticed, Google isn't hiring the people you'd expect it to. Stereotypical, hoody-wearing programmers with massive intellects aren't on their wish list at the moment. An IQ of over 130 is unattractive, as Google tends to hire people with 'emotional intelligence'.

3 All Souls Prize Fellowship Exam


Attending Oxford is impressive enough, but if that's not elite enough for you, then you might be interested in the All Souls exam. Since 1878 (though only since 1979 if you're a woman), anyone with a First in their Oxford undergraduate Finals has been invited to sit the All Souls Prize Fellowship Examination at the end of September.

1 Indian CA Final Exam

In 2013, to the horror of India's chartered account students, the pass rate for India's notorious exam dipped to 3.1%. Imagine sitting in a room filled with 100 students, and looking to your left and right knowing that only 3 of your fellow students are likely to pass the paper sitting in front of you.

Students tend to pursue the exam for five years, which takes real motivation knowing the likelihood of success is so low, and also that even if you do pass you'll be rewarded with the tantalising prize of a career as a chartered accountant...

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10 of The Hardest Exams and Interviews Ever