Is Physics Harder Than Chemistry?


In today’s world, there are numerous degree programs that students can choose from. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs have become increasingly popular due to their practical applications and promising career opportunities.

However, some students struggle with certain STEM subjects, particularly Physics and Chemistry. There is a common misconception that these two subjects are similar, but many students find Physics to be significantly harder than Chemistry.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why Physics is considered harder than Chemistry, offer tips for understanding both subjects, and provide alternatives for students who may be interested in other degree programs.

Overview of Physics and Chemistry

Physics is the study of matter, energy, and the interactions between them. It is a quantitative science that relies heavily on mathematics to explain natural phenomena. Physics can be further divided into classical physics, which deals with macroscopic objects and their motion, and modern physics, which deals with the behavior of subatomic particles and the properties of waves.

Chemistry, on the other hand, is the study of the composition, properties, and behavior of matter. It focuses on the ways in which atoms combine and react to form molecules and substances. Chemistry can be divided into organic chemistry, which deals with the study of carbon-based compounds, and inorganic chemistry, which deals with the study of all other compounds.

Both Physics and Chemistry are essential subjects in STEM degree programs, as they provide students with a fundamental understanding of the physical world. However, despite their similarities, they are distinct subjects that require different approaches to learning and understanding.

Why students find Physics harder than Chemistry

Many students find Physics to be a challenging subject compared to Chemistry due to its complexity and mathematical nature. Physics requires students to have a strong foundation in mathematics, including concepts from calculus and trigonometry. This can be particularly difficult for students who struggle with math.

Moreover, Physics often deals with abstract concepts that are not immediately observable in everyday life. Unlike Chemistry, Physics lacks practical applications that can help students understand the subject matter better. Physics concepts are often represented through mathematical equations, which require a solid understanding of the underlying concepts.

Overall, Physics requires a different approach to learning and understanding that many students find difficult to grasp. While Chemistry deals with a tangible world of atoms and molecules, Physics requires students to think conceptually and apply mathematical concepts.

Tips for understanding Physics and Chemistry

Both Physics and Chemistry require consistent effort and practice to fully understand the subject matter. Here are some tips to help students improve their understanding of these two subjects:

  • Improve your math skills: Since Physics and Chemistry have mathematical elements, it’s crucial to have a strong foundation in math. Students should work on improving their math skills, including algebra, calculus, and trigonometry concepts.
  • Understand the concepts: Students should take the time to fully understand the concepts presented in class. Instead of memorizing equations, focus on understanding the underlying principles that govern the subject matter.
  • Study regularly: Consistent studying is key to success in Physics and Chemistry. Regular review of class notes, homework assignments, and practice problems will help reinforce the concepts and identify areas where more practice is needed.
  • Seek help from tutors or teachers: If you’re struggling with a particular concept, reach out to your teacher or tutor for assistance. They can provide clarification and additional resources to help you better understand the material.
  • Participate in lab activities: Hands-on lab activities can help students visualize abstract concepts in a tangible way. Take advantage of lab opportunities to better understand the practical applications of Physics and Chemistry concepts.

By following these tips, students can develop a deeper understanding of both Physics and Chemistry and achieve success in their degree programs.

Alternatives to studying Physics

If Physics is not your strong suit, there are alternative degree programs that may better align with your strengths and interests. Here are some alternatives to consider:

  • Take more Chemistry courses instead: If you find Chemistry to be a more manageable subject, consider taking more Chemistry courses. This can lead to a degree in Chemistry and still provide practical applications in a STEM field.
  • Look into other science subjects: Other science subjects, such as Biology or Environmental Science, may also be of interest to you. These fields also have practical applications and require a solid understanding of scientific concepts.
  • Consider non-science degree programs: If you’re not interested in pursuing a STEM degree, there are plenty of other degree programs available. Research your options and find a degree program that aligns with your strengths and career goals.

It’s important to note that Physics is indeed a STEM major, and provides a wide range of career opportunities. However, if it’s not the right fit for you, there are plenty of other options to explore.

For more information on Physics as a STEM major, check out this helpful article: Is Physics a STEM Major?

Interesting facts

  • Physics and chemistry are both important subjects in science, engineering, and technology fields.
  • Physics is often considered more difficult than chemistry due to its mathematical and abstract nature.
  • Chemistry uses mathematical formulas as well, but also relies heavily on practical applications and experiments.
  • Chemical Engineering is a challenging field that combines principles of chemistry, physics, and engineering. For more information on whether or not it is hard, visit Is Chemical Engineering Hard?


Is physics harder than chemistry?

There is no easy answer to this question, as it largely depends on the individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and level of interest in the subjects.

Why do some people find physics harder than chemistry?

Physics is often described as more abstract and mathematical, whereas chemistry is considered more tangible and practical.

Is it possible to be good at both physics and chemistry?

Yes! Many students excel in both subjects with proper study habits, practice, and support.

Do you need to be good at math to do well in Physics and Chemistry?

While basic math skills are necessary for both subjects, advanced math skills are more essential in physics.

What are some tips for understanding physics and chemistry?

Improve your math skills, seek help from tutors or teachers, understand the concepts, study regularly, and participate in lab activities.

What are some alternative subjects to physics and chemistry?

Other science subjects like Biology or Environmental Science may be good alternatives, as well as non-science degree programs.

What is Chemical Engineering, and is it difficult to study?

Chemical Engineering combines principles of chemistry, physics, and engineering. It can be difficult due to its interdisciplinary nature and heavy use of complex mathematical formulas. For more information, check out Is Chemical Engineering Hard?

Are there any careers that require knowledge of both physics and chemistry?

Yes, careers in fields like engineering, research, technology, and medicine often require an understanding of both subjects.

Is it necessary to take both physics and chemistry in high school?

It depends on the high school and degree program requirements. However, taking both subjects can provide a well-rounded education and improve career options.

How can I determine if physics or chemistry is a better fit for me?

Consider your strengths and interests, talk to teachers or advisors, and try taking introductory courses in both subjects to determine which one you enjoy more.

Real experience

Sarah always had a passion for science, but she was never quite sure which field she wanted to pursue. In high school, she excelled in both physics and chemistry, earning top marks in both subjects. When it was time to choose a college major, she had trouble deciding between the two.

After much internal debate, Sarah eventually settled on physics. She was fascinated by the laws of nature and the endless possibilities of the universe. However, as the semesters went on, she began to struggle with the mathematical nature of the subject. Despite her best efforts, she could not seem to grasp some of the advanced concepts that were required for her coursework.

At the same time, a friend of hers was studying chemistry and constantly regaling her with tales of exciting experiments and tangible results. Sarah began to wonder if she had made the wrong choice, if she would have been better suited to studying chemistry instead.

One day, after a particularly tough physics exam, Sarah decided to meet up with her friend and pick her brain about the subject of chemistry. They spent hours chatting about various elements and molecules, and Sarah was surprised to find that she was able to grasp the concepts much more easily than she had with some of her physics coursework.

From that moment on, Sarah began to consider switching majors. She started attending chemistry club meetings and talking to chemistry professors, eager to learn more about this world that had once seemed so foreign to her. Eventually, she made the decision to officially change her major to chemistry, and felt a sense of relief wash over her.

In the end, Sarah realized that the question of whether physics was harder than chemistry was entirely subjective. What mattered most was finding the subject that she was truly passionate about.


While Physics may be a difficult subject for many students, it’s important to remember that with consistent effort and practice, it can be understood and appriciated. Students should focus on building a strong foundation in math and a deep understanding of the concepts presented in class.

If Physics is not the right fit for you, there are alternative degree programs available that may better align with your interests and strengths. Consider exploring other science subjects or non-STEM degree programs.

Ultimately, whether Physics or Chemistry is harder depends on each individual student and their strengths and interests. You may find this article useful in exploring this topic further: Is biology harder than physics?

By focusing on understanding the fundamental concepts and applying consistent effort, students can learn to appreciate and excel in Physics and any other subject they choose to pursue.

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