It may depend on where you live. Both of my girls did find a lot of girl drama and mean girl issues cropping up in 3rd grade and I've had teachers tell me that it is a very hard year socially. Maybe the girls are older here in 3rd, developing sooner, or something else. My girls were both 7 going on 8 in 3rd and are later developers, so it wasn't that they were hormonal themselves but 4th was a much, much better year for both of them. Academically, they both found the work very easy in 4th as well. My oldest is a very advanced student so I'd never go off her experience for gauging how challenging the work is, but we didn't see a big step up for either of them in terms of the work load or challenge in 4th. It all may be regional, though.