Why Is General Chemistry Hard | How To Succeed In Exams

Jump on a journey through the world of chemistry can be simultaneously thrilling and challenging. As students dive into the realms of general chemistry, they often find themselves grappling with abstract concepts, intricate chemical equations, and the enigmatic periodic table. In this blog post, we will unravel the mysteries of why general chemistry is considered a difficult subject for many students. Moreover, we’ll explore strategies to conquer this academic hurdle and succeed in general chemistry exams.


  • Challenges in General Chemistry: Students struggle with new concepts, abstract ideas, and math, making it a tough subject.
  • Contributing Factors: General Chemistry demands attention due to unfamiliar info, math, lab work, and abstract concepts.
  • Success Strategies: Overcoming requires consistent study, engagement, seeking help, and using effective learning.
  • Subjective Difficulty: Comparing to Organic Chemistry is subjective, needing dedication and active involvement for success in both.

Why is General Chemistry So Hard?

General Chemistry is a challenging subject due to its abundance of new concepts, mathematical nature, laboratory work, abstract nature of chemical phenomena, and cumulative nature of content. Students are introduced to unfamiliar concepts like atomic structures, chemical reactions, and the periodic table, which can be overwhelming. The mathematical nature of the subject involves solving equations, performing calculations, and understanding complex mathematical relationships.

Laboratory work demands theoretical knowledge and practical skills, and the abstract nature of chemical concepts makes it difficult to visualize. The cumulative nature of the content makes it increasingly challenging to understand subsequent, more complex material. To overcome these challenges, students must develop effective study habits, practice, and seek help when needed. With dedication and perseverance, students can navigate through the complexities and develop a solid understanding of the subject.

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The Easiest Way To Learn General Chemistry

The Easiest Way To Learn General Chemistry

1. Do Well In The Beginning

Setting a strong foundation is crucial in learning General Chemistry. Pay close attention to the introductory topics, as they serve as building blocks for more advanced concepts. Understanding the basics of atomic structure, the periodic table, and chemical bonding will make it easier to grasp complex ideas later on. Take the time to thoroughly engage with the material and seek clarification on any uncertainties early in the course. This proactive approach can prevent confusion and frustration down the line, contributing to a smoother learning experience.

2. Attend Every Class

Regular attendance is key to success in General Chemistry. Attending classes ensures you receive information directly from the instructor, allowing you to ask questions in real time. Professors often emphasize important concepts during lectures, and missing these can lead to gaps in understanding. Additionally, participating in class discussions and activities can enhance your comprehension of the material. Consistent attendance demonstrates your commitment to the subject and sets a positive tone for your overall learning experience.

3. Study In A Small Group With Others

Studying in a small group can be an effective strategy for mastering General Chemistry. Collaborating with peers allows for exchanging ideas, different perspectives, and shared learning experiences. Explaining concepts to others can reinforce your understanding, and group discussions collectively provide opportunities to tackle challenging problems. Additionally, group study sessions can make the learning process more enjoyable and help alleviate feelings of isolation. Choose study partners who are committed to the material, and use the group dynamic to enhance your comprehension through active discussions and problem-solving.

4. If You Struggle On A Test, Go Back And Learn The Material

Facing challenges on tests is a common part of the learning process. If you find yourself struggling with a particular exam, take the opportunity to review and reinforce your understanding of the material. Identify the specific topics or concepts that posed difficulties and revisit them. Utilize textbooks and online resources, or seek assistance from your instructor or classmates. Addressing areas of weakness head-on improves your performance on subsequent assessments and enhances your overall mastery of General Chemistry. Use setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning.

5. Difficult Does Not Always Mean Important

While some topics in General Chemistry may be challenging, the difficulty does not necessarily equate to importance. Focus on understanding the core principles and key concepts rather than getting bogged down by the complexity of certain details. Prioritize your learning based on the significance of each topic in relation to the broader understanding of chemistry. This strategic approach allows you to allocate your time and energy efficiently, ensuring a solid grasp of essential material without becoming overwhelmed by every intricate detail.

10 Tips To Succeed In General Chemistry Exams

1. Understand, Don’t Memorize

Rather than rote memorization, focus on understanding the underlying principles of General Chemistry. Comprehending the concepts allows for better problem-solving and application during exams. Seek connections between topics and strive to grasp the logic behind each principle, fostering a deeper and more lasting understanding of the material.

2. Consistent Study Schedule

Establishing a consistent study schedule is crucial for success in General Chemistry exams. Distribute your study time evenly across weeks, dedicating specific slots to different topics. This approach helps retain information, prevents last-minute cramming, and reduces stress. Consistency ensures a steady and thorough preparation for exams.

3. Utilize Our Expert Tutors

Take advantage of expert tutors who can provide personalized guidance and clarification on challenging topics. Tutors offer additional insights, answer specific questions, and help reinforce your understanding of complex concepts. Utilizing tutoring resources enhances your learning experience and increases your confidence in tackling exam questions.

4. Practice With Past Exams

Practice With Past Exams

Practice with past exams is an invaluable strategy. It familiarizes you with the exam format, question types, and the level of difficulty you can expect. This practical approach allows you to identify weak areas and fine-tune your exam-solving skills, ultimately improving your performance on the actual test.

5. Active Learning Techniques

Engage in active learning techniques such as problem-solving, discussions, and teaching concepts to others. Active learning reinforces understanding, encourages critical thinking, and enhances information retention. Experiment with diverse methods to find what works best for you, including flashcards, concept maps, and self-quizzing.

6. Focus On Weak Areas

Identify your weak areas through practice exams or self-assessment. Devote extra time and effort to understand and master these challenging topics. Strengthening your weaknesses ensures a more balanced knowledge base and boosts your overall confidence when facing exams.

7. Create A Study Group

Collaborating with peers in a study group can provide diverse perspectives and shared learning experiences. Explaining concepts to others reinforces your understanding, and group discussions can help unravel complex ideas. A study group fosters a supportive learning environment, making exam preparation more engaging and effective.

8. Regular Breaks And Self-Care

Maintain a healthy balance between studying and self-care. Taking regular breaks prevents burnout and enhances overall productivity. Ensure you get adequate sleep, eat well, and engage in activities that help you relax. A well-rested and rejuvenated mind is more effective at absorbing and retaining information.

9. Visual Aids And Mnemonics

Utilize visual aids, charts, and mnemonics to simplify complex information. The visual representation can enhance memory retention, and mnemonic devices provide creative ways to remember key concepts and formulas. Incorporating these techniques into your study routine adds variety and makes learning more enjoyable.

10. Stay Curious And Engaged

Maintain a curious mindset and an active interest in the subject. Ask questions, seek additional resources, and explore real-world applications of General Chemistry. Staying engaged with the material makes studying more enjoyable and deepens your understanding, making it easier to tackle exam questions with confidence.


1) Why Is General Chemistry Challenging?

Students find General Chemistry challenging due to introducing new concepts, the abstract nature of molecular phenomena, and the involved mathematics. The subject demands a solid grasp of fundamentals, and its fast-paced curriculum can overwhelm those encountering these concepts for the first time. Cumulative content and the need for practical skills in laboratory work add to the perceived difficulty.

2) What Makes General Chemistry Difficult?

General Chemistry’s difficulty stems from complex mathematical concepts, abstract thinking, and the necessity to visualize molecular structures. The volume of new information, cumulative content, and practical challenges in laboratories contribute to its difficulty. Shifting from memorization to understanding adds to the demanding nature of the subject.

3) How Challenging Is It To Pass General Chemistry?

Passing General Chemistry varies based on students’ backgrounds, study habits, and dedication. Success requires understanding foundational concepts, maintaining consistent study habits, and active engagement. While some find it challenging, others navigate the course successfully with dedication and effective learning strategies.

4) Is General Chemistry Harder Than Organic?

The difficult comparison between General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry is subjective. General Chemistry involves abstract principles and mathematics, while Organic Chemistry deals with complex molecular structures and reactions. Some find Organic Chemistry more challenging due to its detailed nature, while others may struggle more with General Chemistry based on their learning style and background. Both courses demand dedication and active engagement for success.


General Chemistry presents challenges with new concepts, abstract molecular phenomena, and mathematical components. Success involves consistent study habits, active engagement, and seeking clarification when needed. The difficulty of passing varies, emphasizing individual dedication.

Comparing General Chemistry to Organic Chemistry’s difficulty is subjective. Both courses require commitment and active involvement for success. Despite challenges, navigating these courses can lead to a deeper understanding of chemistry principles. With dedication, the perceived difficulty of General Chemistry becomes a rewarding learning experience.

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