What Are The Hardest And Easiest Ap Classes?

21K School · Mar 4, 2023 · 4 min read

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Which of the Advanced Placement (AP) classes and exams are the most difficult is a popular query while deciding which AP courses to pursue in high school. Some AP classes definitely seem to be more difficult than others, even if a lot of it depends on personal skills and shortcomings.

To assist readers in choosing which AP classes people might enroll in, this guide analyses all 38 available AP courses, looking at their pass rates, 5-rates, course content, and exams.

View these quick charts for the ten AP courses that are the easiest.

1. Computer Science Fundamentals (CPS)

2. Psychology

3. Human Geography

4. Science of the Environment

5. Comparative Government and Politics

6. Computer science, grade A

7. Statistics

8. Drawing in studio art

9. 2-D design in studio art

10. 3D design in the studio

View this quick chart for the 10 AP Courses That Are The Most Difficult (hardest at the top)

1. Biology

2. English composition and literature

3. English Composition and Language

4. Electricity and magnetism in Physics C

5. Mechanics in Physics C

6. BC Calculus

7. Physics 2

8. AP Chemistry

9. Chinese Culture and Language

10. The Language and Culture of Japan

Do AP Courses Pay Off?

One might be considering the value of taking AP courses. Despite their reputation for being difficult, a high number of students are attempting them today. Here are some advantages that might persuade you to take one if one is on edge about it:

• Because they quickly cover a lot of material, demand individual study, and are fast-paced, they are an ideal transition into college courses.

• Because they demonstrate that one is prepared for the academic difficulty of college-level work, they can position one at the top of the list for college admissions.

• Many high schools offer AP grades more weight when determining the GPA.

• Users have the opportunity to study what they love because there are so many AP classes to select from.

• With a high AP score, one may gain college credits and reduce overall college tuition costs (some students have entered their first year of college or university having completed an entire year’s worth of coursework).

The AP Class List’s Details

Success Rate

Although one would assume that the pass rate is the best measure of how challenging an AP class is, this data can be pretty deceptive. Higher pass rates for AP courses don’t always indicate more difficulty. This is because subjects with a propensity for being more difficult frequently draw the most prepared and determined students with a higher chance of passing the exam.

The opposite of this is also possible. A course with a lower pass rate may not always be as tricky as the statistics would have you believe. Consider AP Environmental Science, known for being on the simpler end of the AP scale. This program is one of the most well-known classes because of its reputation, which draws many students who could just be taking it for fun. Thus, the percentage of pupils who may be unprepared for or underestimate the test rises.


Humans require additional information to enable us to make an informed decision because it’s critical to consider other factors when selecting an AP class in addition to the national passing rate. Scores of 5 are helpful in this situation. Readers may already know that a 5 is the best AP score. The 5-rate score represents the proportion of test-takers who received a score of 5. Theoretically, this implies that the tests with the lowest five rate ratings ought to be the most challenging.

One may need to treat the facts with a dose of caution because, like the pass rate, the 5-rate might indicate how challenging an AP course is. However, this isn’t always the situation. Exams that are challenging, like several language exams, have incredibly high 5-rates—more than 60% for Chinese. Pupils who speak Chinese at home or who have studied the language for a while overseas are included in this statistic for the Chinese class, and because of their background, they will likely do well on the exam. This would be a challenging class for one to take if they don’t have this experience or several years of Chinese study under their belt.


While it’s a good idea to examine both the pass rate and the 5-rate when determining how difficult an AP class is, it’s essential to remember that these don’t convey the entire story. Finding out more about the classes themselves—such as how much information they include, how challenging the subjects are, and what each course and test truly entails—can be the most excellent way to gauge how challenging an AP class will be.


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