Is Calculus Harder Than Algebra? (Here’s the definite answer!)

Advanced math classes are not for everyone. That is because they are challenging, and you must go beyond what you already know.

Of course, while such classes are difficult, it doesn’t mean that they are impossible to conquer. Many people wonder whether they should go for algebra or calculus.

So, is Calculus harder than Algebra? Calculus is harder than algebra. Calculus and algebra have relatively the same difficulty levels; however, calculus is more complex and challenging, requiring you to draw on knowledge learned in algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.

What makes calculus challenging is algebra. If you don’t have a solid foundation in algebra, you may find a calculus course hard. Not because of the concepts themselves, but because algebra plays a huge role in solving calculus problems

Read on to find out more details about Calculus and Algebra to help you make the right choice.

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Is Calculus Harder Than Algebra
Is Calculus Harder Than Algebra? (Here’s the definite answer!) –

Is Calculus Harder Than Algebra?

You will find that most people will answer this question with a yes, and rightly so. However, one vital note to remember is that calculus and algebra are the same regarding difficulty level. But calculus is a much more complex subject because you will have to draw on everything you have learned from other math classes. 

That is because calculus is built on the basics of many other math courses, such as trigonometry, algebra, geometry, and much more. If you love trigonometry and algebra, then you will also love doing calculus. You will learn everything from factoring to graphing and solving for variables. 

You can think of calculus as the next step once you are great with the basics of trigonometry, algebra, and geometry. Calculus will expand on these subjects even further. Of course, as you keep learning, your difficulty level will rise. 

Another thing that causes students problems in calculus is insufficient fluency in algebra. The biggest obstacle to learning calculus is the weak foundation in trigonometry and basic algebra, mainly because these concepts will be needed in the course of calculus.

Generally, calculus itself is not complicated; it is trigonometry, algebra, and arithmetic that most students can’t handle.
For example, solving the first and second derivatives will also require solving fairly tough equations, depending on the function.

Check out these 5 Best Algebra And Calculus Calculators (And how to pick the best one!)

What Are The Differences Between Algebra And Calculus? 

Now that you know calculus is difficult, you might wonder about the difference between the two. Here is everything to help you understand the difference between these two math subjects:

DifferenceCalculus Algebra
Premise It relates to figuring out the rate of change in functions. The two primary calculus operations are:
Differentiations (find the rate of change of a function)
Integrations (find the area under a curve of a function). 
– You have to find values of unknown variables
– The fundamental theorem of calculus connects calculus to algebra.
Origin Seventeenth centuryAncient times 
InventorsIsaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz. Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi
Applicability Used in professional fields and advanced studiesUsed in daily life 
Scope Limited Wide 
Is Calculus Harder Than Algebra? (Here’s the definite answer!) –

Let’s understand each of these differences in detail:

1- Premise

All math subjects have a premise on which they are based. Algebra has a simple premise, and the subject is designed to help you find values of unknown variables in no time. On the other hand, calculus is all about finding the rate of the change of functions.

Calculus is a component of mathematics that examines variables and how they change.

The subject you select depends on the premise you want to explore further. For example, if you want to go into a complex and professional mathematical field, then calculus will be the perfect choice for you. But, if you want to do basic things, you can opt for algebra. 

Watch the video below, How Calculus differs from Algebra.

Is Calculus Harder Than Algebra? (Here’s the definite answer!) –

2- Origin 

Algebra has been there for a long time now. That is because you can trace the origin back to ancient times, such as the medieval period. Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was a 9th-century astronomer and mathematician.

Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi is known as the “father of algebra,” a word that originated from the title of his book, Kitab al-Jabr. Early scholars were the ones that came up with the premise of algebra and then expanded on it (Source: Mcgill University)

On the other hand, the origin of calculus is much more recent than algebra. As it is practiced today, Calculus was invented in the 17th century by British scientist Isaac Newton and German scientist Gottfried Leibniz. So, Calculus has only been a few hundred years since calculus has been part of our lives. 

3- Applicability 

The applicability of these subjects is one of the most important things that help people decide whether they should opt for the subject or not. That is because algebra is one of the best branches that will help you in your daily life. It will enable you to solve simple problems, which is why you can apply it each day. 

Calculus is much more different, as it is a complex subject. Because of this, if you want to go into a professional scientific or mathematical field, then you will require calculus. For example, advanced fields, such as computer sciences, actuarial sciences, and statistics, all require you to have a strong calculus base for you to proceed further. 

4- Scope 

Because of its applicability, algebra has a wide scope, as you can only use it for many everyday things.

On the other hand, calculus has a limited scope because it is only applicable to advanced fields. Calculus is the perfect choice for you if you want to have a specialization degree in a specific field. 

Is Linear Algebra Harder Than Calculus?

Algebra has many domains, and you can compare each of them to calculus. Many people wonder if linear algebra is much more challenging than calculus. You must understand that linear algebra involves studying straight lines involving linear equations. 

On the other hand, calculus helps you understand changing things that involve vectors, derivatives, and much more. Here are some crucial notes that will help you understand which is harder:

  • Linear algebra is easier than elementary calculus
  • Linear algebra requires you to use less brain power than calculus 
  • You can understand the theorems in linear algebra to solve all questions. Unfortunately, the same thing can’t be applied to calculus because you can’t answer most questions without having a great grasp of theoretical knowledge. 
  • You get to learn new technologies in calculus each day
  • Linear algebra is easier to understand than calculus 
  • Linear algebra deals with straight lines with linear equations. Calculus deals with calculating curved line lengths and nonlinear equations 

Once you consider all these important factors, you will realize that calculus is much more difficult than linear algebra. However, the difficulty will also depend on your strengths and what you find more difficult and easy. Everyone is good at unique things, which is why some people might find linear algebra easier than calculus. 

So, there is no wrong or correct answer regarding the difficulty level of calculus and algebra. However, most people are of the opinion that calculus is generally much more difficult than algebra. You can decide what is more difficult for you based on your mathematical skills and abilities. 

How About High School Math: Is Calculus Harder Than Algebra?

High school students who miss solid, basic arithmetic and algebraic skills struggle to grasp calculus. Most high-level math classes’ foundation depends upon solid basic arithmetic and algebra skills, and once those basic skills are formed, students will be more successful and confident in calculus.

High school algebra is where students get a glimpse into a fundamental mathematical structure and learn a ton of symbol-manipulation rules. However, it’s not robust enough to have apparent applications on its merits.
When you get to a decent proof-based linear algebra class, you’ll see the actual structure of linear equations and why they can be exciting and conceptualizable.

You might also enjoy reading: Is A Level Maths Worth Pursuing? (Find out now!)

The Easiest Ways To Learn Calculus

  • Generally, to be good with Calculus, you need to spend about 12  hours a week studying calculus or about 2 hours per day, six days a week.
  • Spend most of your time, about 80%, of your study time working on problems. As you get stuck, you reread the section and study the examples in your textbooks. 
  • Do your homework in advance, and do not focus on the questions assigned as homework. 
  • Study for your test; the right way to study for a test is to study consistently at a steady pace throughout the school year. 

What Is The Real-Life Application Of Calculus?

Understanding calculus’s real-life applicability is crucial before you opt for this subject. As a general rule of thumb, calculus will make many things easy and possible for you. For example, calculus will help you reduce production costs and boost your revenue if you run a business. 

Remember that you might not have any applicability for calculus unless you work in a scientific field. That is why if you are looking to pursue such a field, it is best that you take calculus. It will allow you to have a solid base that will ensure you can excel in your chosen field. 

Of course, if you don’t plan on using calculus, then you don’t need to learn more about this subject. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, and many people find it incredibly challenging. 

Final Thoughts 

That was your complete guide to help you understand whether calculus is more difficult than algebra. Ultimately, it depends on your skill set and what you find difficult and easy. Some people might find calculus easy, while others ace algebra in no time. 

You can go through each subject in detail and decide which is right for you. Once you do, you will get the most use out of these mathematical skills for a long time. 


I am Altiné. I am the guy behind When I am not teaching math, you can find me reading, running, biking, or doing anything that allows me to enjoy nature's beauty. I hope you find what you are looking for while visiting

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