Sunday, September 10, 2006

Vote now - what is the most difficult thing to do?

On a blog as tiny as this, two negative comments on one posting counts as a storm of protest. In addition, I've been getting it in the neck from him indoors for saying that Drama A-level isn't good preparation for English at Cambridge.

As a result, I've been forced to think some more about the issues raised in Boris Johnson's 'Physics not Media Studies' article, and realised that my writing and thinking were rather sloppy. (See below for links to the original posts)

There are three different issues involved in the 'crunchy A-level' debate (and none is actually the real issue.)
1) Are some subjects inherently harder?
2) Are some A-levels inherently harder (by virtue of amount of content covered, style of assessment etc.)?
3) Are some subjects better preparation for a degree at Cambridge University, or better discriminators of a particular aptitude?

My casual adoption of Boris Johnson's label 'crunchy' has not helped at all - I wanted it to mean 3) as distinct from 1), while skipping neatly over the issue of 2). However, I don't think I've even managed to be consistent on that.

As I muse further on these issues, it occurs to me I could do a poll among my huge readership. So...

Please rank these six 'subjects' in order of difficulty . Note, this refers to the subject itself, not the A-level, GCSE or similar. Go on, vote. You can dicker about the terms of the debate at the end if you want...

Which is most difficult?
1) Theoretical physics
2) Acting
3) History
4) Psychology
5) Driving a car
6) Programming a computer

Crunchy posts so far:
The crunchy and the smooth
Crunchier and crunchier


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You'd imagine its all in the depth to which one follows the application, and to the manner in which the student is, introduced to and assessed in the subject...
Pesonally I'd find, most difficult to least, 6,1,3,4,2,5.
So physics and computers are hardest? That might be because the of the very literal manner in which these subjects are applied

Lectrice said...

Number one is hard, but satisfying.

Any brainless dickhead can do all the others.

Well, you did ask.

Anonymous said...

Most to least difficult (upfront inherent difficulty)
1, 6, 5, 3, 4, 2

Most to least difficult (in order to pay the mortgage)
1, (the rest)

Anonymous said...

Re: anonymous's comments about paying the mortgage: In my experience it is the theoretical physicists who make the money. I know lots of them who went to work in IT, banking, consultancy, finance etc and are well rewarded for their ability to ruthlessly apply logic to solve problems.

For me the order would be 2,1,6,4,3,5. (I was never a good actor)

PS Why does your visual verification not like Firefox?

M said...

For me obviously the hardest subjects are creatives - Art Design etc. Which is a bummer since as a single devleoper I am often called upon to do design which sucks.

I'm sure predictions have been made that I would say the obvious, Maths, Physics etc. At College - Control was hardest - it was hard. Generally reading and analysing literature is difficult, however trying at the things we find hard makes us well rounded indiviuals.

M said...

Forgot the numbers...

1) (Even more maths than I like to go through)
4) (All the essays, boring)
5) (Lots going on at once to concentrate on like a baseball game)
3) (Again with the essays, but makes one well rounded)
2) (I love the sound of my own voice)
6) (Kind of goes with the territory, but obviously depends onthe problem)

Anonymous said...

I think that the test of a subject's difficulty is whether you can be not very good at it and still make a contribution. Someone who is not very good at theoretical physics can still do useful work. Someone who is not very good at acting is a lousy actor. So on my principle, acting must be easier than theoretical physics.