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AP courses are highly advanced and help students to get a head start on their college education. Students who take an AP course are typically targeting good competitive colleges. Taking an AP course gives a boost to a student’s profile and gives them an additional benefit in the college admission process.
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!
Want to know more about AP? Read our latest blog, “What is AP?“
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 and exam while you’re in high school can be extremely beneficial for you in the following ways:
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.
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 AP courses offered by the College Boards AP Program:
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 exam score to earn that college credit are determined by each college’s policies, which you can often find on their respective websites.
Taking an AP course gives you a lot of clarity as a high school student as to what you want to pursue. If you actually like a subject and can do well in it. According to research, students who decide to take an AP course are better prepared for college than those who don’t. They are more likely to get into college and graduate in four years.
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.
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. In order to succeed in an AP course you must be motivated and work really hard and prepare yourself well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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
|Exam Name||Passing Rate (3+)||5 Rate|
|Art and Design: Drawing||88%||15%|
|Chinese Language and Culture (Total Group)||87%||49%|
|Art and Design: 2-D Design||87%||11%|
|Spanish Language and Culture (Total Group)||82%||24%|
|Spanish Language and Culture (Standard Group)||78%||16%|
|English Literature and Composition||78%||17%|
|Japanese Language and Culture (Total Group)||75%||49%|
|Art and Design: 3-D Design||74%||6%|
|Physics C: Mechanics||73%||26%|
|French Language and Culture (Total Group)||72%||13%|
|Italian Language and Culture (Total Group)||71%||23%|
|Gov. and Politics – Comparative||71%||16%|
|Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism||69%||32%|
|French Language and Culture (Standard Group)||69%||8%|
|Computer Science A||68%||27%|
|Italian Language and Culture (Standard Group)||66%||11%|
|German Language and Culture (Total Group)||66%||20%|
|Chinese Language and Culture (Standard Group)||65%||16%|
|Computer Science Principles||64%||11%|
|German Language and Culture (Standard Group)||58%||8%|
|English Language and Composition||56%||10%|
|Japanese Language and Culture (Standard Group)||54%||16%|
|Gov. and Politics – United States||49%||12%|
|United States History||48%||11%|
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
AP Calculus BC, Physics C, Biology, US History, Chemistry, and English literature are considered to be some of the hardest AP courses.
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.
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.
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.
Two new AP courses are planned to be launched in 2023 and they are AP Precalculus and AP African American Studies.