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Are all subjects equally difficult, or are some harder than others?

Universities create a list of subject specific qualifications which they judge to be the most valuable (and this is often perceived to mean that they are the hardest).

Can difficulty be measured by the value assigned to them and the average grades of those sitting in the exams, or are all subjects equally difficult depending on where your skill set lies.

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    Mar 28 2014: I don't think when a university or other school has academic requirements that the school means to suggest those are the most difficult subjects or courses. In fact, it is often the introductory courses that are required rather than the more challenging courses in a particular discipline.

    One cannot determine the difficulty of a subject by people's grades on the exam. For example, sometimes an examination is poorly designed as a measure for the material the students have been learning. Students may do poorly even when the subject is not difficult.

    The same subject may be much easier for one person than another. Still, there are some subjects or topics that are challenging to large numbers of people. Steven Pinker, of Harvard's psychology department in one of his books explains that mathematics beyond the most basic does not look very much like what evolution has prepared our brains to do easily and expertly. So it takes many people more work and practice to learn the sorts of abstractions that field can require at higher levels than it takes to learn some other subjects.

    This does not mean math is not some people's best subject.
  • Apr 1 2014: It all depends of the people interest's , some people can understand and learn more easy than others, I mean that everyone have different interests, talents and philosophy. (every brain works differently than others)
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    Apr 2 2014: A lot of a degree value is based on a complex supply and demand and career requirements.

    Nurses are in high demand by hospitals, and not enough students desiring degrees and generally that would increase the cost, but states see the need and give aid to school to lower the cost, plus nursing require licensing so University needs those who get degrees to pass their licensing test. Increasing universities’ cost.

    In short there are a lot of factors that go into costing a subject; difficulty is likely in there but not high on the list.
  • Apr 2 2014: I think a subject is not equally difficult but is not repeatable. I have studied the way that high school students work. I have found that the difficult subjects are ones that have no relation to precise knowledge learned previously. An example of this: the number one, at a young age we are told the object is a value or quantity. This concept can be shown in many ways, a piece of food, a favorite toy, a room, or value of money. As we understand, we conceptualize the definition of the concept and it becomes a tool for communication and learning. Now lets say the new subject is color, using just the previous knowledge of the number one, it is hard to relate this to red. At a young age we are told though a samples what a color looks like. There is no linking information from information learned before.

    With the two samples of learned items if we brake down the number one would be easier to understand there are six different things the number one can be based on my example, were the color red it just red.

    The way the mind is trained to relate and reuse information then makes something easy or hard to learn. By giving examples that support information that the student can relate to, causes the information to be come "easy". The concept or understanding of the topic can be learned faster with better understanding.

    If you tell a kindergarten student the book bag weights the same as a gallon of milk they know with some certainty how much it weights. If you tell an mechanical engineer the bag weighs approximate 8 lbs, the same information is past and both people know what the weight is.

    Telling the engineer both 8 lbs and a gallon of milk he or she will find it easy to understand the information, were a kindergarten student does not yet have a understanding of what 8 lbs is and will find it hard to understand or find the topic challenging.

    I think that how we learn information is like a spiderweb each item interconnected with everything else we ever learned.
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    Apr 2 2014: Feel free to disagree with me but I'd like to think that any person can learn any subject as long as they have the right teacher and it's broken down into steps the individual can comprehend. That's not to say that it wouldn't take some people longer to figure out than others.
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    Apr 1 2014: Much of the difficulty in acquiring new information is derived from how much exposure, opportunity and variety of learning habits one experiences In their learning process. For instance, it is well known that being exposed to multiple languages at early ages not only enhances one's vocabulary but also provides a host of alternative ways of expressing and perceiving words, themes and events.

    Therefore, if the resources and opportunities that are known to facilitate learning are made readily available and accessible, then the primary difficulty in any learning process will most likely be one's interest in that subject at that time.
  • Mar 31 2014: The word of 'difficulty' is hard to difine because that for different people, their intelligent quotient and brain structure to master knowledge are of vast differences. As a college student in China, not every single students in our campus consider that Calculus is easy. However, a large number of students still strike a extremely high score. The reason, for those who do their utmost to get a high score , to gain good grades is only to get higher ranking in school . For those who really have interest in math , they can make great progress owing to his/her high-motivited hard-working. So i still think some subjects are harder. For common student who is always working hard. The result of exams ,to some degree, do represent the complexity of a course.
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    Mar 31 2014: You never know...what is hard for you and what is not for others!!!
    Think in this fashion...when you read a book, if it's interesting to you, you don't fall asleep while reading it. but if it's of no interest and you just need to read it for grades, you may fall asleep.
    Which subjects are hard-is totally a perspective thing. Universities put the subjects in chronological order either by alphabets or by demand. Now demand can change with the society and community. Like what happened to me. I choose Civil Engineering because I wanted to study it, I was interested in it. Though at that time electrical engineering was the best. But, both can be equally hard. Even History can be hard for me. It all depends on perspective. Universities have their own ways to understand what you are best for. It does not work all the time, but it's almost 90% ok.
    I am doing a course in EdX, Think101x The Science of Everyday Thinking. You can learn a bit about the perception of everyday thinking, including what you are thinking about universities there. :)
  • Mar 30 2014: If I'm interested in a subject I can generally become good at it or I am naturally good at it. So by my own reasoning a rocket engineer is no more intelligent than a writer, labourer or artist, but within their own personal interests they have found were their ability/intelect lies.

    It is also interesting to know that before universities taught people how to do things, people did things through a means of intuition. A person may not want to indure years of education to prove their intellect, but they are still equally as intellectually capable as the one who does.
  • Mar 30 2014: In India this is how is perceived by the teachers and the universities:

    Science is difficult so only Intelligent people can study.

    Economics and Commerce is Easy and this is for Average People.

    Arts is much Easy and this is for below Average people.

    I have never understood that how the teachers and the university and school councils have given high status to Science, low status to Economics and Commerce and Very low Status to Arts.

    Whereas , same intelligence is needed whether a person studies science,economics or arts.

    If we go by that logic then it means that average people run the economy of the nations and economists are average people and not intelligent.

    And the duffers write Novels,create movies,create art and painting.

    What a funny logic I have never understood ?

    And if we go back to history then Edison was called as average student by his teacher , and now everyone knows what Edison did .
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    Mar 30 2014: Billions of humans have come and gone. But throughout human history, very few left legacy that endured and passed the test of time. What these men had accomplished is the height of human achievement. What they did was not easy.

    - Plato, Aristotle, Confucius, Thomas Aquinas ...

    - Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso ...

    - Antoni Gaudi, Franck Gehry, Santiago Calatrava, Norman Foster ...

    - Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Dostoyevskfy, de Cervantes, George Bernard Shaw ...

    - Pythagoras, Gauss, Descartes, Newton, Euler, Leibnitz, Wiles, Riemann ...

    - Gandhi, Washington, Lincoln, Churcill, Zedong, Mandela, Muhammad, Caezar ...

    Fifty years or so from now, people will be talking about the achievements of Jeff Bezos, Bill Gales, Steve Jobs, Sam Walton, Segei Brin, Larry Page, Howard Schultz, Fred Smith, Herb Kelleher, Narayana Murthy, Muhammad Yunus, Mark Zuckerberg ...

    The lives of these men should be part of school curriculum from middle school to college ...
    • Mar 30 2014: I would rather children be taught about the nurses, the cleansing men and the postmen. As without these people nothing which is necessary in our society would have been achieved and many of the names above would not have existed to realise their own ambitions.
  • Mar 29 2014: Whatever humanties majors scoff at--those are the more difficult subjects.
  • Mar 29 2014: Each person appears to have a certain talent for certain subjects so that say philosophy would be very difficult for a scientist whereas physics might be difficult for a sociologist. Some of this comes from natural tendencies, upbringing and so on.
    • Mar 29 2014: Philosophy has never been difficult at all for me, and I'm a scientist. Indeed, science and philosophy go hand-in-hand. Why on earth would philosophy be difficult for a scientist? I will say that I confound some professionals in philosophy when I tell them how I, as a biologist, approach questions and problems, and their limited minds can't get around it.
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    Mar 29 2014: As has been stated by some wise fellows here, no subject is difficult. It depends on individual interests and natural endowment.

    But when it comes to professions or courses, it is clear that some are more demanding than others.
    Someone can become anything by watching insightful TED videos, but definately not a medical doctor. You can become a philosopher by doing an online course and reading books with fine-sounding arguements, but you cant become a pilot by such means.
    And I'd think twice before commiting the life of my pet to a fellow who claims to qualify as a Vet Doctor through a month long online course.

    Professions differ in the time and process it takes for learners to become tested and trusted professionals.
  • Mar 29 2014: I believe it depends upon the individual. I found math, literature, science fairly easy. I had a very hard time with music and speaking foreign languages.
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    Mar 28 2014: The hard subject content from eazy subjects which are links with maze paths.
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    Mar 28 2014: Hi Rupert, difficult can be a very subjective word. The level of difficulty of a subject depends on the person's interest. For the non-mathematician, math is hard. For the non-artist, art is hard. For the non-athlete, athletics is hard...
  • Mar 28 2014: I find that the english language muddies definition and context greatly. Life is subjective. Meaning only YOU can experience life as YOU. When you ask "Are all subjects equally difficult....?" you are again using the word "subject" Since life is individually subjective we can only truly asses difficulty on an individual basis. We can find a general consensus and label groups accordingly but this is not a true assessment of difficulty as it pertains to "all subjects".