What is the hardest topic in IB Chemistry?
giasuib – IB Chemistry has always been a large obstacle for many students because of its extremely high difficulty. So what is the hardest topic in IB Chemistry?
How many topics are there in IB Chemistry?
Before knowing what is the hardest topic in IB Chemistry, you need to know how many topics in IB Chemistry. Most of the challenges and difficulties of IB Chemistry stem from the sheer amount of content this subject offers.
For more: What does IB Chemistry program include?
As you know, IB Chemistry is divided into 2 levels: Standard Level (SL) and High Level (HL). Both IB Chemistry SL and HL cover the first 11 topics (95 hours total), however, the HL will include additional topics 12 to 21 (60 hours extra).
- Topic 1: Stoichiometric Relationships – 13.5 hours for SL and HL
- Topic 2: Atomic Structure – 6 hours for SL and HL
- Topic 3: Periodicity – 6 hours for SL and HL
- Topic 4: Chemical Bonding and Structure – 13.5 hours for SL and HL
- Topic 5: Energetics/Thermochemistry – 9 hours for SL and HL
- Topic 6: Chemical Kinetics – 7 hours for SL and HL
- Topic 7: Equilibrium – 4.5 hours for SL and HL
- Topic 8: Acids and Bases – 6.5 hours for SL and HL
- Topic 9: Redox Processes – 8 hours for SL and HL
- Topic 10: Organic Chemistry – 11 hours for SL and HL
- Topic 11: Measurement and Data Processing – 10 hours for SL and HL
IB Chemistry HL’s additional topics:
- Topic 12: Atomic Structure – 2 hours for HL only
- Topic 13: The Periodic Table: Transition Metals – 4 hours for HL only
- Topic 14: Chemical Bonding and Structure – 7 hours for HL only
- Topic 15: Energetics/Thermochemistry – 7 hours for HL only
- Topic 16: Chemical Kinetics – 6 hours for HL only
- Topic 17: Equilibrium – 4 hours for HL only
- Topic 18: Acids and Bases – 10 hours for HL only
- Topic 19: Redox Processes – 6 hours for HL only
- Topic 20: Organic Chemistry – 12 hours for HL only
- Topic 21: Measurement and Analysis – 2 hours for HL only
According to the experience of most IB Chemistry students, they will arrange the difficulty of the topics in order from EASIEST to HARDEST as follows:
- Energetics and Thermochemistry (Topic 5)
- Atomic Structure (Topic 2)
- Periodicity (Topic 3)
- Biochemistry (Option B)
- Chemical Bonding and Structure (Topic 4)
- Redox Processes (Topic 9)
- Equilibrium (Topic 7)
- Chemical Kinetics (Topic 6)
- Measurement, Data Processing, and Analysis (Topic 11)
- Acids and Bases (Topic 8)
- Stoichiometric Relationships (Topic 1)
- Organic Chemistry (Topic 10)
For some people, Topic 1 is much more difficult than Topic 10 for the following reasons:
- This is the first topic so it will be very difficult for new students
- Being able to understand this topic is 50/50 for the first time learning so students need to reinforce their knowledge a lot.
However, why is Organic Chemistry (Topic 10) considered by many students to be the hardest topic in IB Chemistry? Here are some reasons to explain the question above:
- Memorization of functional groups and structures
- Deep understanding of functional groups and their reactions
- Ability to identify all the different situations wherein the rules you learned by memory do not apply
- Strong spatial reasoning in order to “see” the molecules in 3D and represent them on 2D paper
Overall, IB Chemistry is a challenging subject that requires a high level of work ethic, effective study strategies, and a deeper conceptual understanding to be able to successfully pass. So now you know what is the hardest topic in IB Chemistry.