The Most Difficult Medical Exam, Ranked

Choose the medical exam you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Jun 7, 2024 06:32
Determining which medical exam poses the greatest challenge can significantly aid students and professionals in preparing more effectively. By identifying these rigorous assessments, individuals can allocate their study time wisely, focusing on the areas that demand the most attention. This not only enhances preparation strategies but also helps reduce anxiety and improve performance. On this site, users have the opportunity to cast their votes and contribute to a live ranking of these demanding exams. By participating, you can see how your opinions compare with others and gain insights into the broader community's perceptions. This feedback loop not only enriches your understanding but also creates a supportive environment for shared knowledge and experiences.

What Is the Most Difficult Medical Exam?

  1. 1

    United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1

    A crucial step for medical licensure in the United States, covering basic medical sciences.
    • Duration: 8 hours
    • Subjects covered: Anatomy, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Physiology, and Interdisciplinary topics
  2. 2

    Australian Medical Council (AMC) Examination

    The standard pathway for international medical graduates seeking to practice medicine in Australia.
    • Duration: Multiple days
    • Components: Multiple-choice questions and Clinical examinations
  3. 3

    Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) Test

    The main route by which international medical graduates demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to practice medicine in the UK.
    • Duration: PLAB 1: 3 hours, PLAB 2: Half a day
    • Components: PLAB 1: Multiple-choice questions, PLAB 2: Objective structured clinical examination (OSCE)
  4. 4

    National Board Dental Examination (NBDE) Part I

    A comprehensive examination for dental licensure in the United States.
    • Duration: 1 day
    • Subjects covered: Anatomical Sciences, Biochemistry-Physiology, Microbiology-Pathology, and Dental Anatomy and Occlusion
  5. 5

    United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 3

    The final examination in the USMLE sequence, emphasizing patient management in an ambulatory setting.
    • Duration: 2 days
    • Components: Multiple-choice questions and Computer-based case simulations
  6. 6

    European Board of Urology (EBU) In-Service Assessment

    An annual assessment for urologists in training across Europe, focusing on the breadth of urological knowledge.
    • Duration: 3 hours
    • Subjects covered: All aspects of urology
  7. 7

    United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 2 Clinical Skills (CS)

    Assesses the ability to apply medical knowledge and skills in a practical, patient-centered setting.
    • Duration: 1 day
    • Components: Patient encounters, Communication skills, Spoken English proficiency
  8. 8

    Royal College of Physicians Examinations

    A set of exams for medical specialty qualification in the UK.
    • Components: Written papers, Clinical examinations, and Oral presentations
    • Specialties: Various medical specialties
  9. 9

    Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) Examinations

    A suite of exams for surgeons in training to become members of the Royal College of Surgeons, demonstrating their knowledge and skill in their chosen specialty.
    • Components: Written, Clinical, and Oral examinations
    • Specialties: Various surgical specialties
  10. 10

    Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I

    A prerequisite for medical licensure for practicing medicine in Canada.
    • Duration: One day
    • Subjects covered: Medical knowledge, Clinical skills, and Professional behaviors

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About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult medical exam. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or examination is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 81 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each examination once every 24 hours. The rank of each examination is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


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More about the Most Difficult Medical Exam

Medical exams are known for their rigor. These tests challenge even the brightest minds. They ensure that only the most capable become doctors. The journey to pass these exams is long and tough.

Students often start preparing years in advance. They must master a vast amount of information. This includes anatomy, physiology, and pathology. They also need to understand pharmacology, biochemistry, and ethics. The scope of knowledge required is immense.

The structure of these exams adds to their difficulty. They often have multiple parts. The first part usually tests basic medical sciences. This part is heavy on theory. It requires a deep understanding of fundamental concepts. The questions are often multiple-choice. However, they are designed to be tricky. They test not just knowledge, but also the ability to apply it.

The second part usually focuses on clinical knowledge. This part tests how well students can diagnose and treat patients. It involves case studies and patient simulations. Students must demonstrate their ability to think on their feet. They need to show their clinical reasoning skills. This part is often more practical and hands-on.

Time management is crucial during these exams. Each section has a strict time limit. Students must answer quickly and accurately. There is little room for error. This adds to the stress and pressure.

Preparation for these exams involves intense study. Many students spend countless hours in libraries. They read textbooks, review notes, and take practice tests. They also attend review courses and study groups. Some even hire tutors. The goal is to cover every possible topic.

Mental and physical endurance is also important. The exams are long and exhausting. They can last several days. Students need to stay focused and alert throughout. This requires good health and stamina.

The pass rates for these exams are often low. Many students do not pass on their first attempt. This can be discouraging. However, persistence is key. Many students retake the exams multiple times. Each attempt brings them closer to their goal.

Support systems play a vital role in this process. Family, friends, and mentors provide encouragement. They help students stay motivated. Emotional support is crucial during this stressful time.

Passing these exams is a significant achievement. It opens the door to a medical career. It allows students to move on to residency training. This is the next step in becoming a doctor.

The journey to pass these exams is challenging. It requires dedication, hard work, and resilience. However, the reward is worth it. Those who succeed join a noble profession. They gain the ability to help others and make a difference in the world.

In conclusion, medical exams are among the toughest. They test a wide range of knowledge and skills. They require intense preparation and mental toughness. However, passing them is a major milestone. It marks the beginning of a fulfilling career in medicine.

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