Chemistry is often a dreaded college class that plays on your worst fears from high school.

However, as a pre-nursing or health major, you will need to pass chemistry to continue on in your major.

Instead of imagining worst-case scenarios, find out how hard chemistry is really going to be.

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Is a Pre-Nursing or Pre-Health Chemistry Class Hard?

Taking chemistry as a college freshman, you’ll probably find that this is one of your more difficult classes, especially if you found chemistry challenging in high school. This class will require some mathematical knowledge and quite a bit of your study time for you to pass it successfully.

What Should You Know About Chemistry Before Beginning?

Pretty much every nursing program requires a year of chemistry as a prerequisite to getting into the program during one’s sophomore year. This is particularly true for those going for a bachelor of science in nursing degree.

There is basically no way to get around this class.

With that being said, you probably want to know how worried you should be about chemistry.

Very few students will say that this is their easiest class, but its difficulty level will depend on how easy you find science in the first place. Along with that, it will also depend on how much time you are able to put into the classwork and homework each week.

When I signed up for my first college chemistry class, I was surprised to learn that I needed to pass a chemistry math test first. Those who did not pass were required to take an additional mathematics class during their first semester.

However, a basic knowledge of mathematics and algebra along with scientific notation should get you through this test just fine if you are required to take it.

You should also be aware that the chemistry classes required for pre-nursing or other health-related majors are often different from the general chemistry classes used for other majors.

Pre-nursing chemistry will focus on the material that will come in handy during future semesters, such as the sometimes-dreaded Kreb’s citric acid cycle and information about reactions that could affect medication usage.

However, whichever chemistry class you take, you will be required to take a lengthy laboratory segment as well.

Related: Is Human Anatomy and Physiology Hard?

What Do You Learn in Chemistry?

Chemistry is most frequently divided into two branches. You will probably study inorganic chemistry first and organic chemistry, which deals with carbon-containing materials, the following semester.

While I found inorganic chemistry to be the most fun and organic chemistry to be quite challenging, many of my classmates felt the opposite.

Here are just a few of the main topics that you will learn in each area of chemistry.

Inorganic Chemistry

  • Metals
  • Minerals
  • Acids and bases
  • Ionic and covalent solids
  • Molecular orbital theory
  • Chemical bonding
  • Chemical reactions

Organic Chemistry

  • Carbon-containing compounds, reactions and properties
  • Alcohols and ethers
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Amines and amides
  • Kreb’s citric acid cycle
  • Ketones

What Is the Hardest Part of Chemistry?

Chemistry has a well-deserved reputation of being difficult.

Chemistry deals with a lot of gray matter that requires quite a bit of critical thinking. Plus, each topic builds on the topic before it. Therefore, if you have not yet understood one topic, you may find the next chapter nearly impossible to decipher.

If you ask any chemistry student what the hardest chemistry topic was for them, you will get a myriad of different answers.

For example, I found ketones and the citric acid cycle to be nearly indecipherable and impossible to memorize.

However, others will say chemical bonding, reactions, solubility or oxidation, and reduction were the worst topics for them.

Thankfully, once something finally clicks in your mind, you will probably wonder how you ever had a difficult time with it.

How Much Time Will You Need to Dedicate to Chemistry?

You should plan on dedicating a good deal of your homework and study time each week to this class.

I took biology, anatomy and physiology, nursing mathematics and several other prerequisites at the same time and found that chemistry got the largest chunk of my time.

I had never studied as much as I did before I took college-level chemistry.

However, you will probably not have major papers or projects other than the additional chemistry laboratory, which will take three to four hours each week on average.

How Can You Make Chemistry Class Easier?

Although there is no way to get out of this difficult material, you can take steps to make the path to passing chemistry as easy as possible.

Use these tips to reduce your worry and improve your test scores.

1. Make or purchase chemistry flashcards.

If you’re a cash-strapped college student, use markers to color-code your own cards.

If you have some money to burn, there are some affordable options on Amazon, such as the QuickStudy Chemistry Flashcards.

Quick Study Chemistry Flashcards
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • BarCharts, Inc. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Or the QuickStudy Chemistry Easy Reference Chart. Both of which are on Amazon.

Quick Study Chemistry Easy Reference Chart
  • BarCharts, Inc. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 6 Pages - 05/31/2012 (Publication Date) - QuickStudy (Publisher)

2. Watch online videos to help you understand difficult subjects.

Sometimes, hearing someone other than your teacher discuss a concept will make the information suddenly click in your mind.

There are plenty of helpful study videos on YouTube, including the Chemistry 1 Review Study Guide by The Organic Chemistry Tutor.

This is an example of the video I was talking about.

3. Take complete class notes.

Make sure you learn how to take good notes in college, otherwise you could struggle is hard classes like chemistry.

Pro Tip:
Recording lectures can be a great note-taking strategy.

It’s a good way to re-listen to lectures if the teacher is not already recording them. Just make sure the professor is okay with recording lectures.

If you want to record lectures, you can use your phone. Or use one of these dedicated recorders we recommend from Amazon.

4. Ask a teacher for help understanding difficult subject matter.

Make sure you’re going into professor office hours. It’s also a good way for them to know who you are and to start building a relationship with them for recommendations in the future.

5. Start a study group if there is not one.

Many students find study groups beneficial to passing school. Make sure you’re studying with like-minded peers and also picking a good study spot.

6. Use laboratory time to help you understand classroom subjects.

As frustrating (and long) as chemistry class can be make sure to take it seriously.

7. Study a little every day so that preparing for examinations is not so difficult.

Cramming in general is not a good way to pass exams. While there are some classes you can pull this off in, chemistry for most students is not the class you’ll want to be cramming for.

8. Try explaining how you solved practice problems.

If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.

Albert Einstein

I’m sure you’ve heard if you can teach it to someone else that shows you really understand the material.

During your study groups take turns going through and teaching one another different topics that are on the exam. You’ll be surprised at how that simple exercise will help you reinforce the material.

9. Get your assigned reading and problems done before your lecture.

I already said cramming is not going to help you be successful in this class.

Well guess what?

Procrastinating is also not going to help you with chemistry.

10. Hire a tutor to help you with chemistry.

Hiring a tutor is a good way to help with your school’s success. I’ll be honest it’s not the cheapest option (neither is failing a class), but it’s probably one of the easiest and most effective options.

It’s a great way to get 1:1 attention. The problem is usually finding a good tutor.

Final Thoughts

Believe it or not, what you learn in chemistry will serve as a foundation for many of your other nursing and health-related classes.

If you’re looking for a school offering a top pre-nursing chemistry course, search our Website today to find the ideal program for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is chemistry hard or easy?

    Chemistry is a challenging subject for most students. It will require hard work and focus to be successful in this class.

  2. Which science is the hardest?

    Chemistry is the hardest science class. The second hardest is biology, and the easiest class to me is physics. Different students will have a different opinion.

  3. What is the hardest chemistry class?

    Organic chemistry is the hardest chemistry class I’ve taken. Pre-nursing students don’t typically take this class but it has caused many pre-med majors to change majors.

  4. Is chemistry better than physics?

    Chemistry and physics are different science fields. I like physics more because it’s easier for me to see physics around me as opposed to chemistry.

  5. Is chemistry hard in college?

    Chemistry is a very challenging class in college. Part of what makes it difficult is that some students will find it hard to grasp some of the abstract concepts.

  6. What is chemistry?

    Chemistry is the study of matter and its properties and composition.

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