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Is a BSN really the toughest degree in the world to get?

Updated on December 6, 2012

Is the BSN the most difficult degree to earn?

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Rumored that the Guinness Book of World Records says BSN is most difficult degree in the world to earn…

I have friends on my Facebook account who are nurses and posted that they were proud holders of a BSN (bachelor of science in nursing), the most difficult to earn degree in the world. As someone who has a BSN as well as a slew of other degrees, to include a law degree and two masters degrees, I reasoned that perhaps they were correct.

The BSN is one of the most difficult degrees in the world to earn. It is not like other degrees where there is a midterm exam and a final exam and that’s it. No, the BSN requires quizzes, tests, and final exams in every nursing subject, prerequisite, and associated bodily system.

How difficult is the BSN?

It depends on the nursing school and the state board curriculum requirements, but most BSN programs require a quiz, unit test or final exam every day of class. I did my BSN online, but many of the students whom I tutored for nursing school or for their NCLEX told me that they take an exam nearly every day that they are in school. Before I became a nurse I bad a bachelor’s degree in another subject, and we only had a few exams per semester. Very different stuff.

Difficulty of Nursing School Exams

Nursing school exams in a BSN program are very difficult, especially since most have critical thinking questions (not just memory-based questions). Additionally, most nursing schools will drop or flunk students from their program without even blinking an eye because there are thousands of students to take their places. The waiting lists at most public universities are fairly long, sometimes several years long in the larger cities. Therefore, there is a constant focus on perfection and getting the highest grade possible. A passing score in most BSN programs is generally higher than in most non-nursing programs. Many BSN programs I have seen require a passing score of 80%, or sometimes even 85%.

Licensing Exam

In addition to being one of the toughest programs in the country, the BSN also requires a licensing exam, the NCLEX, at the completion of the program. Failure to pass the NCLEX will preclude a BSN graduate from becoming a licensed registered nurse. The exam is difficult, but there are many resources available to study for it that are available online.

Is the BSN really listed as the most difficult degree to earn?

After some digging, I discovered contrary to popular belief, the Guinness Book of World Records actually does not rate the difficulty of various degrees. Nonetheless, the BSN is without a doubt one of the hardest degrees in the world to earn.



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