What is the Most Difficult Subject in School? (Grade 1-10, FAQs)

Have you ever thought about what the hardest subject is? Is it science, math, or another subject?

In this article, we’ll talk about what students and teachers think is the hardest subject and give you some advice on how to deal with it.

Table of Contents

What does it mean for a subject to be difficult?

If a subject is difficult, it’s hard to understand or do well in. You might need to spend a lot of time studying, practicing, or asking for help to get it. It can feel like a big challenge.

10 Major Factors That Contribute to a Subject’s Difficulty

1. Complexity Of Topics

Some subjects involve intricate theories or difficult-to-grasp principles.

For example, advanced mathematics like calculus or subjects like quantum physics require a high level of abstract thinking and a deep understanding of complex theories.

2. Lots of Work

Certain subjects require a heavy workload, including extensive reading, numerous assignments, and frequent tests.

The sheer volume of work can make the subject appear more challenging, even if the material itself isn’t that complicated.

3. New Skills

Subjects that require the learning of entirely new skill sets can be difficult.

For instance, learning a new language isn’t just about vocabulary; it’s also about understanding grammar, syntax, and cultural nuances.

Similarly, subjects like programming require you to understand a new “language” and way of thinking.

4. Abstract Ideas

Some subjects deal primarily with abstract ideas, making them hard for people who prefer concrete, tangible concepts.

For example, philosophy or advanced literature studies can be difficult because they require a deep understanding of complex ideas or theories.

5. Personal Interest

Your level of interest in a subject can greatly affect how difficult you find it.

Subjects you are passionate about will be easier to engage with, while those that don’t interest you can seem daunting, leading to procrastination and reduced effort.

6. Teacher’s Style

The teaching style can significantly affect a subject’s difficulty level.

Some teachers can make even the most complicated topics seem straightforward, while others may not be as effective at conveying the material, making the subject more difficult for some students.

7. Previous Knowledge

Many subjects build on prior knowledge.

If you miss that foundational knowledge, the more advanced topics will naturally seem more challenging. For example, advanced math courses often require a solid understanding of basic algebra and geometry.

8. Pressure and Stress

Academic and social pressures can make any subject harder. For example, the stress of needing high grades for college applications can turn even subjects you’re good at into sources of anxiety.

9. Real-world Application

Subjects that don’t seem to have a practical application in daily life can often feel tedious and challenging.

For instance, many students wonder how they’ll use advanced math or science theories daily, making it harder to engage with the subject.

10. Peer Influence

The opinions of classmates and friends can impact how difficult a subject feels. If everyone around you claims a subject is hard, you may perceive it that way, too, even if you might have found it manageable.

What is the most difficult subject in school?

There is no exact most difficult subject, but here are some of the subjects considered very difficult:

1. Math

For many, math feels like a different language. It has rules and symbols, like equations and formulas, that you must understand to solve problems. If you get one part wrong, the whole answer could be wrong.

2. Science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology)

These subjects involve complex theories and require a good grasp of math. Plus, you must remember many facts and terminology—like the Periodic Table in chemistry or laws of motion in physics.

3. Foreign Languages

Learning a new language isn’t just about vocabulary; it’s also about grammar, pronunciation, and sometimes even a new script. Plus, languages have nuances and idioms that are difficult to master.

4. History

History involves a lot of memorization—names, dates, events, and more. But it’s not just about remembering facts; you also need to understand the causes and consequences of events, which can be complex.

5. Literature

Due to archaic language or intricate themes, old or complex texts can be hard to understand. You must also analyze what you read, look for symbolism, and sometimes understand historical context.

6. Advanced English or Writing

Writing well isn’t just about knowing what words mean and how to use them effectively. You must know how to structure your arguments, make them persuasive, and follow specific formats.

7. Programming

Coding is like a new language but for computers. You need to learn various commands and understand how to solve problems in a very structured way. One tiny mistake can mess up your whole program.

8. Music and Art

Even though they’re creative subjects, they require a lot of technical skill. You must practice a lot to get good at an instrument or art technique, and understanding things like music theory or color theory can be complex.

9. Economics

This subject involves understanding complicated theories about how money and resources are used worldwide. It often involves math and graphs and requires an understanding of small-scale and large-scale issues.

10. Philosophy

This subject tackles big questions about life, reality, and morality. It requires deep thinking and the ability to understand complex arguments. It can be hard because there often isn’t a single “right” answer.

What are the Hardest Subjects in Grades 1-10?

Grades 1-3

1. Math

In early grades, students are just beginning to understand numbers.

The concepts of addition and subtraction might be simple for adults, but this is uncharted territory for a child. Grasping these basics is critical for all future math learning.

2. Reading

Learning to read is a monumental task for young children. They must recognize letters, understand their sounds, and combine them to make words. For some kids, this doesn’t come easily.

Grades 4-6

1. Math

In these grades, math starts to include multiplication and division. Now, it’s not just about counting; students need to understand these more complex operations, and that’s not always easy.

2. Science

Students begin to learn the basics of biology, earth science, and maybe even some simple chemistry. There’s a lot of information to absorb, including new terminology.

3. Social Studies

These grades often introduce more complex topics like history, geography, and culture. Understanding how the world is organized and remembering different facts can challenge some students.

Grades 7-8

3. Math

Now, students encounter fractions, decimals, and basic geometry. These are more abstract concepts that require a good understanding of previous math topics.

4. Science

Science in these grades becomes more detailed. Kids learn the basics of physics and chemistry, like the laws of motion or the elements, which involve complex ideas and sometimes even math skills.

5. Language Arts

Students are expected to read more challenging literature and write more complex essays. Analyzing a story or making a persuasive argument in writing can be difficult tasks.

Grades 9-10

1. Math

In high school, algebra and perhaps even pre-calculus come into play.

Algebra involves using letters to stand in for numbers, which can be confusing. Pre-calculus introduces new topics like trigonometry that are quite challenging.

2. Science

High school science can include everything from human biology to chemical reactions to the laws of physics. These topics are not only harder to understand, but they also often involve complicated equations.

3. Foreign Language

Learning a new language involves new grammar rules, vocabulary, and often a new alphabet. This is a big leap from speaking and thinking in just one language.

4. History

High school history courses often require a deeper understanding of political, social, and economic factors. This means not just remembering facts but also analyzing and connecting them.

Each student is different, so these subjects might not be hard for everyone. However, they are generally considered more challenging at each grade level.

What is the Hardest Subject in high school?

There is no exact most difficult subject in high school, but here are some of the subjects considered very difficult:

1. Advanced Math

Subjects like algebra, geometry, and calculus bring new, more complex rules into math.

Now, you’re not just working with numbers; you have letters and symbols for numbers, and equations can get pretty complicated.

2. Sciences (Chemistry, Physics, Biology)

You deal with the Periodic Table, chemical reactions, and complex equations in chemistry.

Physics is about the fundamental laws that govern the universe, which can involve complicated math.

In biology, you study living organisms, which means lots of terminology and sometimes complex systems like human anatomy.

3. Foreign Languages

Learning a new language is more than just vocabulary; you must correct grammar, pronunciation, and sentence structure.

Different languages have different rules, making it feel like you’re starting from square one each time.

4. History

High school history isn’t just memorizing dates and names.

You need to understand complex events, like wars or revolutions, and why they happened. That often means understanding political, economic, and social factors, which can be complicated.

5. English Literature

You’ll read more complex works in high school, from Shakespearean plays to modern classics. Understanding the language, themes, and underlying messages can be tough.

You’ll often need to analyze these works in essays, which brings its own set of challenges.

6. Programming or Computer Science

This subject is about learning to communicate with a computer. You need to understand coding languages and how to solve problems in a very structured way.

A small mistake in your code can make a big difference in the outcome, making this subject tough for many.

7. Advanced Writing or Composition

High school-level writing isn’t just about getting your ideas down on paper; it’s also about organizing them logically and persuasively.

You’ll need to use evidence to back up your arguments and follow specific formats, like MLA or APA, which can be a lot to keep track of.

What are the hardest subjects in High School in the Philippines?

Difficulty is subjective, so not all students will find these subjects equally hard. But these are generally considered among the more challenging subjects in Philippine high schools:

1. Math

Math gets tricky when you go beyond basic arithmetic.

High school students often face algebra, geometry, and sometimes calculus, each with its rules and formulas. These aren’t just numbers anymore; they’re equations that require a strong understanding of math concepts.

2. Sciences

Subjects like biology, chemistry, and physics in the Philippines are loaded with theories, formulas, and practical experiments.

They demand a combination of good memory and the ability to understand complex processes, which can be challenging for many.

3. Filipino

Even though it’s the native language for many Filipinos, mastering the subject involves understanding complex pieces of literature, such as poems and novels, and sometimes even ancient scripts like Baybayin. Plus, there are rules of grammar and usage to master.

4. Araling Panlipunan (Social Studies)

This subject covers Philippine history, world history, economics, and government.

It can be challenging to remember dates, names, and events and to understand the complexities of how societies work.

5. English

Much like Filipino, English also focuses on language mastery and literature.

Students must analyze texts, understand nuances, and be proficient in grammar and composition, which can be difficult to handle.

6. Research or Thesis Writing

Some high schools require students to conduct research projects or write a thesis.

This involves a lot of independent work, including data gathering, analysis, and compiling it all into a coherent paper. It’s a big job that requires skills in multiple areas.

7. TLE (Technology and Livelihood Education)

This subject aims to provide practical knowledge and skills, which can get complicated. Topics might range from computer skills to cooking to carpentry, and each comes with its own set of rules and techniques to master.

8. MAPEH (Music, Arts, Physical Education, Health)

MAPEH covers a wide range of topics. Music and Arts require an understanding of theory and sometimes even hands-on skills in art forms or instruments.

Physical Education is not just about playing sports; there’s theory involved. Health education can also be challenging, with topics ranging from nutrition to first aid.

What is the Hardest Curriculum in School?

Everyone has their own skills and weaknesses, so the phrase “hardest curriculum” can mean different things to different people.

However, curricula that put a lot of focus on advanced math, science, and languages are often thought to be hard.

For instance, programs that prepare kids for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) work at the college level can be tough.

They usually cover many hard topics and test your ability to solve problems. So, to put it simply, courses that cover many hard topics and require a deep understanding are often thought to be the hardest.

Is Physics the Hardest Subject in School?

Whether physics is the hardest subject in school really depends on the person.

Some people find it really tough because it has a lot of math and complicated theories about how the world works.

But others might find subjects like advanced math, chemistry, or even literature harder. So, it’s not the same for everyone.

Physics is definitely one of the challenging subjects, but whether it’s the hardest is up to individual opinion.

Testimonials About High School Students Talking About Their Most Difficult Subjects in School

Jenny, 16 years old
“Math is my nightmare. I just can’t wrap my head around algebra and all those equations. It feels like a different language that I can’t understand. I’m doing better in every other subject!”

Mark, 17 years old
“English Literature is the hardest for me. We read these old books with hard-to-understand language, and then we have to write essays analyzing them. I’m more of a numbers guy, so this is tough!”

Sarah, 15 years old
“Chemistry is the one that gets me. All those elements, compounds, and reactions are like a puzzle I can’t solve. And don’t even get me started on the lab experiments!”

Raul, 16 years old
“History is the hardest for me. It’s not just about remembering dates and events; it’s also about understanding why things happened the way they did. It’s overwhelming!”

Anita, 17 years old
“Physics is my Achilles’ heel. I can’t seem to grasp the theories, and the math involved just makes it more confusing. I’ve even tried tutoring, but it’s still a challenge.”

Tim, 18 years old
“For me, it’s Foreign Language. Learning a new language with different grammar rules, and then speaking it? Super hard. I can never roll my ‘R’s right, and the vocabulary quizzes are a struggle.”

Is Quantum Mechanics the Hardest Subject in the World?

Quantum mechanics is considered one of the most difficult subjects to understand.

It’s about the super tiny particles in the universe and the strange rules they follow, which are very different from what we see in our everyday world.

But whether it’s the “hardest subject in the world” can vary from person to person. Some might find other topics, like advanced math theories or certain medical studies, just as hard or even harder.

So, it’s really tough, but if it’s the hardest, it is up for debate.

FAQs on the Most Difficult Subject in School

What is generally considered the most difficult subject in school?

The “most difficult” subject can vary from person to person, but subjects often include advanced math, sciences like physics and chemistry, and foreign languages. These subjects often require a deep understanding and the ability to apply complex concepts.

Why do students find certain subjects difficult?

Students might find a subject difficult for various reasons. These can include a heavy reliance on memorization, complex problem-solving, or the need for a strong foundation in earlier topics. Sometimes, the teaching style might also not match the student’s learning style, making the subject more challenging.

Can the “most difficult” subject change over time?

Yes, the most difficult subject can change as a student progresses through school. Basic math or reading might be challenging early on, but more specialized subjects like calculus or organic chemistry might take that spot in high school or college.

Are there ways to make the “most difficult” subject easier?

Absolutely. Strategies to make hard subjects easier include extra tutoring, group study sessions, or educational software. Finding a learning approach that suits your style can also make a significant difference. Teachers and mentors can provide valuable strategies for understanding tough subjects.


The “most difficult” subjects often involve complex math, deep science theories, or understanding a new language.

What’s toughest can change as you go through school and might even differ from person to person. Some find math puzzling, while others struggle with sciences like physics or chemistry.

However, just because a subject is hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible to learn. With the right help and strategies, you can get better at even the toughest subjects.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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Uche Paschal
Uche Paschal

Uche Paschal is a professional and passionate writer on education, including homeschool, college tips, high school, and travel tips. He has been writing articles for over 5 years. He is the Chief Content Officer at School & Travel.

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