If you are a high school student, you might be questioning yourself: What are the different AP courses? What is the importance of AP? How will you benefit from the AP courses?
According to the College Board, 1.2 million students registered for AP Exams in 2022 in the United States. Demand for AP courses continues to rise thus it is important to build a clear understanding of AP courses.
This article helps you decide on the AP course you need to take and which ones are worth your time and effort. Read this article to understand the advantages of taking AP courses and the range of options available.
AP courses list
After knowing about AP courses, it is time to look into the types of AP Courses available. Now to know more about this the best thing is to ask your school’s AP coordinator about the courses which might be available to you as it depends on the school itself.
Following is the list of 38 AP courses offered by the College Boards AP Program:
- AP Art History
- AP Music Theory
- AP English Language and Composition
- AP English Literature and Composition
- AP Comparative Government and Politics
- AP European History
- AP Human Geography
- AP Macroeconomics
- AP Microeconomics
- AP Psychology
- AP United States Government and Politics
- AP United States History
- AP World History: Modern
- AP Calculus AB
- AP Calculus BC
- AP Computer Science A
- AP Computer Science Principles
- AP Statistics
- AP Biology
- AP Chemistry
- AP Environmental Science
- AP Physics 1: Algebra-Based
- AP Physics 2: Algebra-Based
- AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
- AP Physics C: Mechanics
- AP Chinese Language and Culture
- AP French Language and Culture
- AP German Language and Culture
- AP Italian Language and Culture
- AP Japanese Language and Culture
- AP Latin
- AP Spanish Language and Culture
- AP Spanish Literature and Culture
- AP Capstone Diploma Program:
- AP Research
- AP Seminar
- AP Art & Design Program:
- AP 2-D Art and Design
- AP 3-D Art and Design
- AP Drawing
Now, it is crucial to find out which courses your school offers before making up your mind. Mostly, all of the AP courses are followed by an AP exam. For instance, AP Calculus AB often leads to college credit for a Calculus I course. The credit amount and minimum required AP score to earn that college credit are determined by each college’s policies, which you can often find on their respective websites.
But which course to select? How many to select? Is it even worth it? These are some questions students might think of. So, with this blog, we will try to help you clear your mind on AP courses as much as possible!
What are the benefits of taking an AP course?
As the years have gone by, more and more high schools have started offering AP courses. Students need to take into consideration their schedule, experience, and aptitude in the subject they would like to take. Taking an AP course while you’re in high school can be extremely beneficial for you in the following ways:
- You can earn college credits and placement
- Taking an AP course gives you an opportunity to earn college credits before even officially starting college. Mostly, AP students who have a four-year college degree have some credits when they start college.
- It keeps your options open
- An AP course has a wide array of benefits as you could pursue a second degree, you could study abroad, and even seek internships!
- You stand out in your college application
- Taking an AP course shows determination and zeal to learn thus if it shows on your college application, you are bound to stand out for sure.
- It saves your time and money
- Earning a credit or a placement is always beneficial. You might be able to finish your degree early if you have the desired AP score as well.
College-bound students work on a tight schedule and the application process is becoming extremely competitive, SAT scores, extracurriculars, and various other aspects are taken into account.
How to choose your AP course?
There are 38 AP courses from which you can choose. The courses are based on subjects like arts, math, English, history, science, computer science, world language, and culture among others. You should choose an AP course that you like and interests you plus the ones that you score well in classes.
Who can take an AP course?
There are no specific criteria for taking an AP course but some schools may have some criteria to meet, an enrollment policy. Therefore, it is advised to talk to your school counselor or AP coordinator who can guide you through this process. To succeed in an AP course you must be motivated and work hard and prepare yourself well.
What are the easiest AP courses?
Every year, the College Board organizes AP classes and exams to help students improve their skills. Furthermore, AP classes provide many benefits and rewards to students and encourage them to continue their education.
The easiest AP classes are those in which students typically perform well and can easily achieve three or more points. However, it is also likely to depend on the student’s ability to grasp and keep the subject and keep it consistent.
1. AP Environmental Science
AP Environmental Science is considered quite easy in comparison to other AP courses. If you have a good foundation and a strong interest in Biology then this will be a perfect fit for you. This course deals with scientific principles, methodologies, and concepts to understand the relationships within the natural world.
This AP course teaches to analyze environmental problems and how to search for solutions to those problems.
2. AP Spanish Literature
If you are well-versed in Spanish, this appears to be the easiest AP course. This course enables you to earn college credits if you are fluent in Spanish. You, too, can be a part of the high pass rate.
Students who are not fluent in Spanish might struggle with this course. The course content typically focuses on six major Spanish literary concepts as well as reading comprehension.
The exam is divided into multiple-choice questions and a free-response section with a text-based prompt and essay questions.
3. AP Computer Science A
In the AP course computer science A, students will learn about the concepts and tools of computer science and also learn about a subset of Java programming language.
This is a very basic and introductory course to computer science. Students learn how to design program, develop algorithms, write codes, and implements them.
4. AP Psychology
This AP course is simple due to its relatively simple syllabus. The curriculum includes tests, projects, and quizzes that must be completed throughout the school year. This exam will last two hours. The exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice questions and an essay writing section.
Students may take the AP Psychology exam on paper or online. The two-hour exam includes multiple-choice questions as well as a free-response section, and it covers topics such as psychological research papers, theory, and quantitative data.
AP courses ranked by the number of test takers
|Exam Name||# of Students Taking (2022)|
|English Language and Composition||520,771|
|United States History||456,520|
|English Literature and Composition||339,401|
|Gov. and Politics – United States||298,118|
|Spanish Language and Culture||155,931|
|Computer Science Principles||134,651|
|Computer Science A||77,753|
|Physics C: Mechanics||46,301|
|Art and Design: 2-D Design||37,045|
|Gov. and Politics – Comparative||20,949|
|Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism||19,978|
|French Language and Culture||19,554|
|Art and Design: Drawing||19,210|
|Chinese Language and Culture||15,277|
|Art and Design: 3-D Design||5,377|
|German Language and Culture||4,450|
|Japanese Language and Culture;||2,765|
|Italian Language and Culture||2,194|
Source – college board
AP courses ranked by difficulty
|Sl.No||AP Courses||Passing rate (3+)||5|
|2||United States History||48%||11%|
|3||Gov. and Politics – United States||49%||12%|
|6||Japanese Language and Culture (Standard Group)||54%||16%|
|9||English Language and Composition||56%||10%|
|12||German Language and Culture (Standard Group)||58%||8%|
|20||Computer Science Principles||64%||11%|
|22||Chinese Language and Culture (Standard Group)||65%||16%|
|23||Italian Language and Culture (Standard Group)||66%||11%|
|24||German Language and Culture (Total Group)||66%||20%|
|25||Computer Science A||68%||27%|
|27||Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism||69%||32%|
|28||French Language and Culture (Standard Group)||69%||8%|
|30||Italian Language and Culture (Total Group)||71%||23%|
|31||Gov. and Politics – Comparative||71%||16%|
|32||French Language and Culture (Total Group)||72%||13%|
|33||Physics C: Mechanics||73%||26%|
|34||Art and Design: 3-D Design||74%||6%|
|35||Japanese Language and Culture (Total Group)||75%||49%|
|37||Spanish Language and Culture (Standard Group)||78%||16%|
|38||English Literature and Composition||78%||17%|
|39||Spanish Language and Culture (Total Group)||82%||24%|
|42||Chinese Language and Culture (Total Group)||87%||49%|
|43||Art and Design: 2-D Design||87%||11%|
|44||Art and Design: Drawing||88%||15%|
As you can see from the above table, the percentages of students who earned a passing score on the mentioned AP exams indicated the level of difficulty of that AP course.
But the list is not definitive. As you can see that some course like AP Physics C: Mechanics which is considered to be one of the most challenging has a passing rate of 73% and easy class like Human Geography has a passing rate of 53%.
So, there are a number of factors that affects the passing rates of a course. Factor like student participation has a huge impact. Courses like Spanish literature and German language will only be taken by students having some background in the language or students who have an immense passion for the languages.
Additionally, some schools put some strict requisites for some courses which automatically eliminate interested students.
Source – college board
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What are some of the hardest AP courses?
AP Calculus BC, Physics C, Biology, US History, Chemistry, and English literature are considered to be some of the hardest AP courses.
Is an AP course necessary for college admission?
Although no college in the US explicitly declares that AP courses are required, students are well aware that college admissions officers highly value these higher-level courses because they demonstrate a student’s aptitude for effectively completing college-level work.
How many AP courses are available?
There are 38 courses in AP. In subjects like the arts, English, history, social science, math and computer science, the sciences, and world languages and culture, there are 38 AP courses available.
How many AP courses should I take?
If you are looking for an answer from the perspective of college admission, then here is a breakdown based on high to low competitive colleges:
1. Competitive schools- 7-12 AP courses
2. Semi-competitive schools- 4-8 AP courses
3. Low-competitive schools- 1-5 AP courses
We would like to add that you should take AP courses based on your interests and capabilities and not feel pressurized into taking too many courses because you might end up performing badly and that won’t benefit you at all.
What are the new AP courses coming out in 2023?
Two new AP courses are planned to be launched in 2023 and they are AP Precalculus and AP African American Studies.
Is an AP Course necessary for College admission?
No, you don’t need AP course to get into college. AP course works best if you can handle the extra work and intensity. Although AP course can increase the chances of getting into college.