EXAMS

A List of the Hardest Higher Subjects- They're Sure to Shock You!

Contents

  1. What are the hardest Highers?
  2. What is the easiest SQA Higher?
  3. How many people get straight A's at Higher?
  4. Final thoughts: what’s your hardest Higher?

 

We’re going to share a list of the hardest Highers with all you students out there and you’ll be surprised… guaranteed. Deciding which Highers to take is a big decision so we’ll give you some top tips along the way on what to do and what not to do. student writing notes

What are the hardest Highers?

 

Most of the hardest Higher subjects have changed a lot in recent years as you’re about to find out. However, there are a couple that consistently cause students grief and make it difficult to get a C or above. 

The data in the table is taken from the SQA site and depicts the percentage of students who attained Grades A to C in specific subjects. We’ve had to capture many subjects because the last couple of years has skewed results owing to the pandemic and disruptions in exams and assessment. 🤔

The subjects below are where the number of students receiving a C or above was below 80 percent in either 2017 or 2021, or both years in some cases. The subjects are in ascending order based on the 2021 results. 

Subject

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Care

70

56

56

82

77

Human Biology

71

70

69

84

77

Biology

72

74

73

85

78

Environmental Science

57

65

68

89

80

Mathematics

74

75

72

83

80

Chemistry

76

77

76

88

81

Design and Manufacture

64

61

54

88

81

Physics

76

76

75

87

81

Childcare and Development

77

69

65

85

83

Engineering Science

71

70

65

89

83

Psychology

64

58

45

83

85

Computing Science

65

69

64

89

86

Business Management

77

79

76

90

88

English

78

76

73

87

88

Philosophy

66

63

64

89

88

Sociology

68

61

59

82

88

Geography

76

74

76

89

89

Health and Food Technology

62

64

60

92

89

Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies

71

73

69

91

90

Accounting

79

77

79

91

91

Administration and IT

76

78

78

92

91

Graphic Communication

79

76

75

94

91

Media

61

67

69

90

91

Modern Studies

75

76

76

91

91

Politics

75

72

84

92

93

 

The top five hardest Highers in 2021 were:

  1. Care
  2. Human Biology
  3. Biology
  4. Environmental Science
  5. Mathematics

 

The top five hardest Highers in 2017 were:

  1. Environmental Science
  2. Media
  3. Health and Food Technology
  4. Design and Manufacture
  5. Psychology

 

As you can see, the only subject to make the top five in both of those years was Environmental Science. That doesn’t mean you should steer clear of this subject or any on the “hard” list if you need them to get into uni or if you’re interested in them. 

Choosing your Higher subjects is hugely personal and only you can make the decision. Still, knowing what you’re walking into can help you prepare. 

 

What is the easiest SQA Higher?

 

OK, we know you’re after the hardest Highers but here’s a little glimpse into the easiest Higher based on grade A to C attainment rates. 

Subject

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

Latin

93

96

92

96

99

Chinese Languages

98

95

97

100

98

 

In 2021, the easiest SQA Higher to get good grades in was Latin and in 2017 it was Chinese Languages. Interestingly, all of the foreign languages score very highly so prove that if you work hard at these your chances of good grades are well above average. 

 

How many people get straight A's at Higher?

 

If you’re wanting to get straight A’s, you should consider how many subjects you’ll take. The more you do, the less time you’ll have to spend on each. You should also choose subjects that will help lead to your preferred job, Advanced Highers, and/or uni degree. Many uni degrees have prerequisite subjects so you may have to take one or two subjects that you aren’t thrilled about. 🤷

Generally, students take five highers. In 2021, one percent of students received six grade A’s. This information is taken from the same SQA statistics page as above. The average number of A’s per student was 1.4, which means getting straight A’s is not an easy feat! Here’s the rest of the data on how many students received A grades:

Number of grades As attained

Number of students

Cumulative percentage

6

377

1%

5

5,171

8%

4

3,700

14%

3

5,243

22%

2

8,921

35%

1

16,246

60%

0

26,530

100%

 

Final thoughts: What's your hardest higher?

  

Remember, what is the most difficult subject for you will be the opposite to someone else and vice versa. Don’t choose subjects because your friends are doing them, you think they’ll be easy, or just to avoid the hardest Higher. The subjects that you choose now will potentially lead to your career so make them count. Plus, if you enjoy subjects, studying won’t be a chore. ✔️

If you find you need support with any of your subjects, private tutoring can always help you get back on track or get the best grades possible in your favourite subject. At GoStudent, we have online tutors specialising in every subject and level. You don’t need to face exams alone and will find studying fun with our interactive digital platform. Good luck with all your Highers, we know you’ll do great.

 

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