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What Are the Toughest Exams in the US?
December 10, 2015 - By: - In: In the News / Awards - Comments Off on What Are the Toughest Exams in the US?

We’ve been thinking a lot about exams at Responsive Translation lately.

We talked about Scottish kids being moved to tears by a math exam this year. We proudly released the white papers “How to Get a Top Score on Assessment Translation” and “Maintaining Cognitive and Psychometric Integrity of Testing Instruments in Translation.” We also attended the 2015 ICE Exchange hosted by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.

Now we’re wondering about some of the most difficult exams in the United States. So far we’ve identified three contenders.

American Mensa Admission Test

The American Mensa Admission Test is designed to be tough. As a membership club for people with high IQs, American Mensa only admits test takers who score in the top two percent for intelligence into their ranks. The two-hour, two-part test consists of questions on logic and deductive reasoning. Interestingly, for people who are not native English speakers, American Mensa offers a separate non-verbal test concerning the relationships of figures and shapes.

California Bar Exam

One of the requirements to practice law in California is passing the California Bar Exam administered by the State Bar of California. Considered one of the nation’s longest and most difficult bar exams, the pass rate was less than 47% in the most recent exam sitting. The multi-day California Bar Exam includes questions about business associations, civil procedure, community property, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law and procedure, evidence, professional responsibility, real property, remedies, torts, trusts, and wills and succession.

Chartered Financial Analyst Exams

One of the steps in becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst (or CFA) is to pass the Chartered Financial Analyst Program offered by the CFA Institute. It consists of three separate six-hour exams offered as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3. The 2015 pass rate for each exam level was 42%, 46% and 53% respectively. Level 1 focuses on investment tools and professional and ethical standards, while Level 2 emphasizes financial analysis and asset valuation. Level 3 centers on portfolio management and wealth planning.

We better go congratulate the people we know who passed these exams. In the meantime, what do you think of these picks? Are there any other tough exams you’d like to see added to the list?

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