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The problem with Pure Maths/Physics/Chemistry/Biology/any other pure subject

Updated on March 24, 2012

First of all: what's wrong with pure?

According to the dictionary, the word 'pure' is defined as either:

  1. free from anything of a different, inferior, or contaminating kind; free from extraneous matter,
  2. simple or homogeneous,
  3. of unmixed ancestry, or
  4. free from foreign or inappropriate elements.

If we put the word 'pure' together with subjects and disciplines, I find it hard why there is a demarcation between pure maths and normal maths. Honestly, is there any stark difference between pure and impure subjects?

As a student, I studied pure subjects, including pure maths, pure physics, pure chemistry and pure biology (that is a whole lot). It is rare to find out that there are pure English/French/Chinese/any language subjects being offered in schools. This might be because languages are imperative in communication, and that means that everyone has the obligation to know grammar, vocabulary and the other concomitant facts about languages. On the other hand, science and maths have difficult areas that are not mandatory for every student to learn, unless if they opt to.

Intuitively, the difference between pure subjects and normal subjects, which are studied by so-called lower ability students, is that pure subjects require a more intensive, comprehensive and profound approach to grok and memorize facts; whereas normal subjects need not entail so much thinking since the information tested for examinations are simple and straightforward.

In the examinations, questions from pure subjects are undoubtedly harder to tackle than those from normal subjects. I found that pure questions are tricky and labyrinthine in nature. They are planned in such a way that the candidate needs to think carefully and thoroughly. A single flaw can cause the egregious loss of many marks, especially a careless mistake in calculations. Scoring a distinction for a pure subject is harder because it all depends on whether you can think in depth and avoid careless mistakes within a stipulated duration. It is similar to Maths Olympiad in terms of the difficulty.

Frankly, I did not have enough time to check my answers. I spent a considerable amount of time on the structured and essay questions as they befuddled me a lot. That panicked me and affected my self-confidence.

I suppose that is a common experience for every other student.

The problem with pure subjects is that it serves no far-reaching purpose in life. So what if you studied an advanced subject? If that subject will give you an invaluable certificate of achievement, then carry on studying. If not, according to the first definition of the word 'pure' aforesaid, I would disagree that pure subjects are free from extraneous matter. Instead, pure subjects are extraneous. Taking pure subjects might show people that you are conceited. Although it isn't that serious, -I'm sorry for that derogation- if you did not do well in your pure subjects, then it would all be your fault, you asked for it.

I wish all students studying advanced subjects good luck for their examinations. No matter how hard the questions can be, I hope you can solve them as if they are Grade 1 questions. I did well in my pure subjects, and so can you. Once you pledged your determination to study pure subjects, then make sure you mean what you said.


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    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      Those subject form the foundation for everything else. I certainly don't want to hire an engineer who hasn't suffered through calculus/physics/chemistry.

      Good instructors inject some practical applications into their "pure" subjects to help with motivation. In the end no subject is really "pure" because our brains find ways to connect everything.