The University of British Columbia (UBC) has its fair share of difficult classes, with the ones that stand above the rest often stemming from math and sciences. Guaranteed to keep you gasping for air by the second week of school, we give you 10 of the Hardest Classes at UBC

1. MATH 180 – Differential Calculus with Physical Applications

Single-handedly one of the most difficult first year courses ever. MATH 180 is packed full of derivative applications on trigonometric functions, area formulas, and also Taylor Formulas. You’ll have to learn how to apply derivatives onto EACH OTHER in endless combinations through questions so tricky professors often omit some on the day of the exam. Luckily, MATH 180 comes with a tutorial session where you’ll meet your equally confused peers to solve problems together. Buckle up for a scary ride.

2. ECON 101 – Principles of Microeconomics

The content in this microeconomics class is anything but micro. ECON 101 is a heavily conceptual based course well known for its wickedly twisted exam questions along with a massive amount of concepts. Fortunately, concepts often have relationships to each other, such as supply and demand. Although the content is interesting, you’ll find yourself in an uphill battle during exams with questions that really try to test your understanding. Its easily game over if you don’t understand the core concepts, so make sure to keep up with the readings and pay attention in the lecture. Good luck!

3. BIOL 140 – Laboratory Investigations in Life Science

Freshman or not, BIOL 140 is easily one of the most demanding courses you will ever take. Not only is it only worth 2 credits, but the weekly 3 hour labs with the grueling lab experiments to practice manipulating variables will make you feel like you’re being eaten alive. Each experiment you’re introduced to will be focused on a certain aspect of research, whether it be setup of controls, experiments, parameters, or sampling. Oh, don’t forget the lengthy extensive lab reports and presentations due after each lab. Think you’re safe because it’s a Biology class? Nope. This class is required for FNH and all science majors as it teaches you the essentials of lab work along with setup. So much for getting a good night’s sleep.

4. SCIE 113 – First-Year Seminar in Science

SCIE 113 focuses on clear and concise scientific writing. High school papers you’ve completed in the past won’t help you here. You’ll find that scientific writing requires brief, but comprehensive wording, so saying what you mean is essential to succeed in this class, as opposed to high school, where sentences need to be more flowery. Both your head and your hands will be aching after each in-class write of an unknown topic, where you scramble to gather your thoughts and explain your thinking in a scientific viewpoint.

5. CPSC 101 – Connecting with Computer Science

CPSC 101 introduces how computers think and also how scripts can be applied to produce functions. Rather than C++, you’re taught scripting on Javascript that simplifies the learning process to apply functions and ordered conceptual. As fun as that sounds, you’ll soon realize how strictly computers follow rules to processes function. One error or mistyped colon can easily take down a whole function. Sit tight and prepare to pull all-nighters weeping as you attempt to debug your scripts.

6. CHEM 121 – Structure and bonding in Chemistry

High school chemistry is a cakewalk compared to CHEM 121. This course goes into a whole new level of valence with sp orbitals, and dives further into the covalent, ionic reactions that occur in-between chemical equilibriums. There’s also a fairly interesting yet stressful lab section included that teaches essential lab techniques as well as reinforces the material in lecture. You can expect to spend 10 hours a week easily on this course with web assignments and lab preps.

7. MATH 103 – Integral Calculus with Applications to Life Sciences

If you’ve ever wondered what the rate a cat flips at as it jumps out of a building, MATH 103 will answer that burning question. Riemann sums and sequences will be tattooed on your brain as you solve “creative” problems through probability distribution and integration. Although the content is not completely overwhelming, the conceptual application definitely is. Expect to hit the books frequently to practice and refine your skills before the exams come around.

8. CHEM 233 – Organic Chemistry

This course will make you feel like you’re diene (Get it?). While the lectures of CHEM 233 initially seem basic and understandable, you’ll eventually discover how challenging the self-practice questions are, and how many rules you need to remember by heart. CHEM 233 focuses on how organic compounds interact with each other, especially with hydrocarbons. Every exam is a race against the clock, where the questions seem ambiguous, and incorrect applications often lead to dead ends. With the amount of work required for this class, make sure to take a maximum of only 4 courses rather than 5.

9. BIOL 200 – Fundamentals of Cell Biology

Although the cell is the basic unit of life, BIOL 200 aims to prove that it is anything but. BIOL 200 introduces staining techniques to first track proteins of interest and how functions of the cell are prohibited if key proteins are damaged. With an extensive amount of material, prepare yourself to dash through a whopping 70-80 slides of notes each lecture. Definitely try to form a study group for this course, because at the speed the professors are going through the notes, you won’t know what they’re trying to focus on by yourself.

10. CAPS 301 – Human Physiology

The bane of all prospective Med students. CAPS 301 is a required elective for health fields such as nursing and medical school. Rather than having main idea or concepts, every piece of information presented in CAPS 301 is equally important. It’s a course based on heavy memorization and application. Unless you’re striving to become a doctor or a nurse, try to avoid this course at all costs.



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