What Is the Hardest Chemistry Class?

Which chemistry course is the hardest depends on whether you find it more difficult to learn new information, memorize, or use math.
Hill Street Studios / Getty Images

Most students agree studying chemistry isn't a walk in the park, but which course is the hardest? Here's a look at difficult chemistry courses and why you might want to take them.

The answer depends on the student, but most people consider one of the following chemistry classes to be the hardest.

General Chemistry

Truthfully, for most people, the hardest chemistry class is the first one. General Chemistry covers a lot of material very quickly, plus it may be some student's first experience with a lab notebook and the scientific method. The combination of lecture plus lab can be intimidating. The second semester of General Chemistry tends to be more difficult than the first part since it's assumed you have mastered the basics. Acids and Bases and Electrochemistry can be confusing.

You need General Chemistry for most science majors or to go into the medical profession. It's an excellent science course to take as an elective because it teaches how science works and helps you understand the world around you, particularly with respect to everyday chemicals, including foods, drugs, and household products.

Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry is difficult in a different way from General Chemistry. It's easy to get so caught up memorizing structures that you can fall behind. Sometimes Biochemistry is taught with Organic. There is a lot of memorization in Biochem, although if you learn how the reactions work, it's a lot easier to process the information and figure out how one structure changes into another during a reaction.

You need this course for a chemistry major or to pursue a career in the medical field. Even if you don't need it, this course teaches discipline and time management.

Physical Chemistry

Physical Chemistry involves math. In some cases, it may draw upon calculus, making it essentially a physics thermodynamics course. If you are weak in math or just dislike it, this may be the hardest class for you.

You need P-Chem for a chemistry degree. If you are studying physics, it's a great class to take to reinforce thermodynamics. Physical Chemistry helps you master the relationships between matter and energy. It's good practice with math. It's very helpful for engineering students, particularly chemical engineering students.

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "What Is the Hardest Chemistry Class?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/what-is-the-hardest-chemistry-class-606440. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 26). What Is the Hardest Chemistry Class? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-the-hardest-chemistry-class-606440 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "What Is the Hardest Chemistry Class?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-the-hardest-chemistry-class-606440 (accessed March 30, 2023).