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Which is the harder major? Biology or Chemistry?

agandhi93agandhi93 Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
edited October 2013 in Science Majors
I took biology honors as a freshman in high school and got an A-. I hated it because it was very boring. I took chemistry honors and got an A- and loved it. I took physics honors and got a B+, the teacher sucked..imo.

Now I am in college chemistry/AP through my school. I am doing well. I was wondering, I keep hearing people say biology is an easier major than chemistry. is it really?

I plan to do pre-pharmacy in college and come out with a Bachelors in chemistry before going to pharmacy school.
Post edited by agandhi93 on

Replies to: Which is the harder major? Biology or Chemistry?

  • L'HopitalL'Hopital Registered User Posts: 125 Junior Member
    In general, you'll find that Chemistry is grouped with the hard sciences while Biology is grouped with the 'soft' science. I think Biology in general gets a bad rep due to pre-med stereotypes and the fact it seems to be more about memorization than concepts. Whether this is a fair assessment of the major is beyond me, but it is what it is.
  • mem1993mem1993 Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    Chemistry is definitely harder because it has a lot more math to do with it. Biology is more memorization. But if you are great at Chem, why not go for it!
  • jwxiejwxie Registered User Posts: 1,479 Senior Member
    ^ If you read between the line you realize memorization isn't as easy as everyone thoughts.
    Actually chemistry requires a lot of memorization too.

    In fact, all studies do require memorization.

    Fairly the hardest thing is something that either you don't enjoy, or lack of sufficient knowledge to learn. The easiest thing is the opposite.
  • LastThreeYearsLastThreeYears Registered User Posts: 480 Member
    hell no. biology is very difficult; there is far less memorization in chemistry than biology but only slightly more calculations, far less than engineering or physics even in physical chemistry. think about it this way, chemists only learn about 10 weeks of quantum mechanics and they get the introductory, concept based class; physics students learn 1 year of mathematically proving quantum mechanics. or take chemical kinetics, chemistry students learn 1 class in it, chemical engineers take what, 3? the vast majority of chemistry math outside of physical chemistry is adding and subtracting. think about engineering and how they actually use calculus? you'll never touch calculus except for 3-4 classes. on tests you will never be asked to derive a formula, you'll just apply that formula, and most of it works out nicely into adding and subtracting at the end.

    for the exchange of having to do more adding and subtracting you'll be saving yourself at least 5 hours per week on memorization in biology (for the same grade), so here's the question to you: do you think you need 5 hours to do addition and subtraction? if not then chemistry is easier.
  • L'HopitalL'Hopital Registered User Posts: 125 Junior Member
    I think easy and hard are difficult to measure. One should be wary about tediousness vs difficulty. Taking determinants of 20 x 20 matrices by hand is very tedious, but not at all difficult (given enough time and patience). The concept is easy. I think Biology is placed under a similar guise. Sure, it takes you long time to memorize, that doesn't mean the process itself is intellectually challenging. I'm sure to memorize 10,000 digits of pi would also take me quite a long time, but we'd both agree that it is not intellectually-challenging, right?
  • LastThreeYearsLastThreeYears Registered User Posts: 480 Member
    Yes sorry, i meant, that biology is tedious, but some people cannot stand tedious work, and then it becomes difficult.
  • calibabecalibabe Registered User Posts: 182 Junior Member
    Chemistry is harder if you don't find it interesting and you have a hard time with the concepts. Biology is harder if you don't find it interesting and have a hard time with memorization. It's all relative.
    Biochemistry FTW
  • L'HopitalL'Hopital Registered User Posts: 125 Junior Member
    It's all relative
    Is that relative?
  • calibabecalibabe Registered User Posts: 182 Junior Member
    ^ Haha, don't you have better things to do? ... Seriously, one would hope.
  • ShacklefordShackleford Registered User Posts: 618 Member
    Physics is hard and tedious.
  • slickidslickid Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    My opinion of biology majors is:
    People choose biology as a major because they are not the best at the higher math courses.

    I am doing chemical engineering.

    The hardest class for a biology major is organic chemistry. They usually take it as a junior or senior. Chemistry the hardest course is between p.chem and instrumental analysis. Plus if you are a bio major you don't need calc 2 or calc based physics. So you can basically omit calculus from your schedule.

    In theory all my friends who were chemistry and switched to biology are telling me how much easier it is. You just have to put the time in to memorize the concepts.
    For myslef, I noticed in chemistry you can use math to your advantage, I always followed units to solve problems. In biology you come across a vocab word you don't know your best chance is a guess, hence the importance of memorization.

    Oh and if you are good at math do a branch engineering. You need a science degree plus calc 1,2,3 linera algebra, and differential equations. I respect all engineering majors.
  • LastThreeYearsLastThreeYears Registered User Posts: 480 Member
    well i'm a bio major that switched to chem and i found it was far easier.

    you don't need alot of math to be good at chemistry, not at all. 3 calculus classes is fine. i took more than that. p-chem is a joke in terms of math compared to things ME and EE have to take, it's just basic calculus at worst, most of the time you use calculus only to derive things, in the end it (more than half the time) comes out to adding and subtracting. chemE is a bit more math oriented (fluids and transport phenomenon) but it has nowhere near as much math as ME or EE.

    at my school o-chem is required year 2 for bio students.

    memorization is extremely difficult, especially with biology due to nothing making sense and having no logic. if someone can do it, that's great, that's not me or anyone that doesn't want to be a doctor. memorization in chemistry is all big picture, concepts, with physics and common sense to back it up.

    and to make it worse, being harder wouldn't be a problem if bio wasn't a bad career choice for anyone that doesn't want to be a doctor.
  • slickidslickid Registered User Posts: 30 Junior Member
    True a lot of my friends who are bio majors and didn't make medical schools are working jobs that have nothing to do with biology.

    Once again, if you are good at calculus, chemistry will be easier as you can almost always follow the math especially given units. Biology you just have to memorize everything and the only motivation most students have to do the work is if they succeed they might progress to med-school.

    In truth, the easier the major the more people who will lean towards it. My school has around 80 bio majors a year and 2-4 chemistry majors. Who do you think gets the jobs?
  • EnginoxEnginox Registered User Posts: 828 Member
    Perhaps a significant % of those 80 bio majors per year are interested in medical school. Considering the most common medical school major is biology the large number of bio majors make sense.
  • LastThreeYearsLastThreeYears Registered User Posts: 480 Member
    your school is REALLY small.

    there's 600 bio majors, 300 chemistry majors and 300 electrical engineering majors in my school. chemical engineering is not popular at my school, there's only 50 people i think, the only smaller departments are physics and math.
This discussion has been closed.