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Advanced Placement

Is AP Statistics hard? A Complete Guide [2024]

Written by Apoorvaa Agarwal

Updated on: 01 Jul 2024


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  • The AP Statistics course is organized into 6 topics: Data and Sampling, Probability, Descriptive Statistics, Inferential Statistics, Hypothesis Testing and Regression Analysis
  • The AP Statistics exam is divided into two sections: multiple-choice and free-response questions.
  • The mean score for the AP Statistics exam in 2022 was 2.89 out of 5. This is slightly lower than the mean score for all AP subjects in 2022, which was 2.92.
  • The pass rate of the AP Statistics Exam for 2022 was 60.5%. This is slightly higher than the pass rate for AP overall, which was 60.2%.

Is AP Statistics hard?

Based on a Reddit survey, the AP Statistics course is considered a relatively easy AP course with a difficulty rating of 2.4 out of 5 by former students. Out of the 39 AP courses surveyed, it is ranked as the 22nd most challenging.

However, it still demands significant effort and commitment from students. AP Statistics is one of the popular AP courses with around 200,000 students taking it each year, and a vast majority (95%) of students who have taken the course would recommend it to others.

Despite a slightly lower pass rate compared to other AP classes, with 60% of students earning an AP score of 3 or higher, many students find the course to be highly rewarding. So, AP Statistics is considered not to be a hard AP course.

What are the topics covered in the AP Statistics exam?

There are a number of challenging topics in the AP Statistics course that will be evaluated on the exam. These topics are listed below, along with their respective weightage in the exam.

Units Covered in AP StatisticsExam Weighting (MCQ)
Unit 1: Exploring One-Variable Data15-23 %
Unit 2: Exploring Two-Variable Data5-7 %
Unit 3: Collecting Data12-15 %
Unit 4: Probability, Random Variables, and Probability Distributions10-20 %
Unit 5: Sampling Distributions7-12 %
Unit 6: Inference of Categorical Data: Proportions12-15 %
Unit 7: Inference of Quantitative Data: Means10-18 %
Unit 8: Inference of Categorical Data: Chi-square2-5 %
Unit 9: Inference of Quantitative Data: Slopes2-5 %
Topics covered in AP Statistics

Exam Tip: AP Statistics covers a range of topics, from probability and data analysis to statistical inference. Our expert-vetted tutors specialize in these areas, offering personalized support. Achieve a thorough understanding of every subject with our expert AP Statistics Tutoring.

What determines the difficulty of AP Statistics? 5 Key Factors

  1. Complexity of the subject matter

The complexity of statistical concepts and the level of math required can significantly impact the difficulty of AP Statistics.

Units CoveredPercentage weightage for the exam (MCQ)
Unit 1: Exploring One-Variable Data15-23 %
Unit 2: Exploring Two-Variable Data5-7 %
Unit 3: Collecting Data12-15 %
Unit 4: Probability, Random Variables, and Probability Distributions10-20 %
Unit 5: Sampling Distributions7-12 %
Unit 6: Inference of Categorical Data: Proportions12-15 %
Unit 7: Inference of Quantitative Data: Means10-18 %
Unit 8: Inference of Categorical Data: Chi-square2-5 %
Unit 9: Inference of Quantitative Data: Slopes2-5 %
Topics covered in AP Statistics

Source: College Board

The course covers topics such as probability, hypothesis testing, and regression analysis, which can be challenging for some students.

  1. Background knowledge and skills required

The course assumes a certain level of background knowledge in algebra and basic statistical concepts. Students who lack a strong foundation in these areas may find the course more difficult.

  1. Quality of teaching

The quality of teaching and the teaching style can greatly influence a student’s ability to understand and retain the course material. Teachers who effectively explain statistical concepts and provide opportunities for students to apply them can enhance the learning experience. Enroll for a free trial lesson with our expert online AP Statistics tutors to experience a personalized learning session tailored to your specific needs.

  1. Learning environment

The learning environment, including the classroom setting and the resources available, can also affect the difficulty of AP Statistics. A well-equipped classroom with access to technology and resources can facilitate learning and make the course less challenging.

  1. Student mindset and approach

The student’s mindset and approach toward learning can also impact the difficulty of AP Statistics. A positive attitude, strong work ethic, and willingness to seek help and practice regularly can make the course more manageable.

AP Statistics exam format

SectionNo. of questionsTime allocated to each sectionExam weightage
Multiple-choice questions401 hour 30 mins50%
Free-response questions61 hour 30 mins50%
AP Statistics exam format

How are the AP Statistics exams scored?

The scoring system for AP Exams is based on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score.

The scores are determined by a combination of the student’s performance on the multiple-choice questions and the free-response questions.

The multiple-choice section accounts for 50% of the total score, while the free-response section accounts for the remaining 50%.

  • A score of 5 indicates that the student is extremely well-prepared for college-level statistics and has a thorough and firm understanding of the subject matter.
  • A score of 4 indicates that the student is well-qualified and prepared for college-level statistics and has a good understanding of the subject matter.
  • A score of 3 indicates that the student is adequately prepared for college-level statistics and has a basic understanding of the subject matter.
  • A score of 2 indicates that the student is not adequately prepared for college-level statistics and has a limited understanding of the subject matter.
  • A score of 1 indicates that the student has little or no understanding of the subject matter and is not prepared for college-level statistics.

AP Statistics Score Distribution:

The AP score distribution is a statistical representation of how students performed on each AP exam. It shows the percentage of students who earned each score (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) in a given year.

AP Statistics score distribution for 2022 is as below:

Exam ScoreNo. of studentsPercentage of students
AP Statistics Score Distribution 2022

AP Statistics Credit Policy:

Different colleges and universities have different policies regarding AP exam scores and credit. Some may award college credit for an AP Statistics score of 4 or 5, while others may require a higher score or may not award credit at all.

For details refer to our AP Statistics Credit Policy Guide.

AP Statistics pass score & mean score

According to College Board data from 2022, approximately 60.2% of students who took the AP Statistics exam received a passing score of 3 or higher.

However, the pass rate can vary each year due to differences in exam difficulty.  The mean score of AP Statistics in 2021 & 2022 was 2.85 & 2.89, respectively.

For year-on-year data, refer to the AP Statistics Pass Score Trends Graph below:

Pass score trends of the AP Statistics exam

Note that the College Board does not officially classify 3 as a passing score.

Notably the average pass rate across all AP exams has been consistently higher than AP Statistics across these 10 years.

Another way to evaluate the difficulty of an AP exam is to look at the mean scores of the subject relative to overall mean scores for all AP exams.

The mean score for AP Statistics is consistently lesser than the mean score for all subjects. This indicates that Statistics is among the most difficult AP Courses.

Refer year on year AP Statistics Mean Score Trend Graph below:

Mean Score of AP Statistics
Mean Score Trends of the AP Statistics exam

How to study for the AP Statistics exam?

Preparing for the AP Statistics test requires dedication, discipline, and a structured approach. Here are some tips on how to study effectively for the exam:

  1. Review the course material: Before diving into the exam preparation, make sure to review the course material thoroughly. Review the textbook chapters, lecture notes, and lab reports.
  2. Practice problems: Practice problems are key to mastering the concepts and skills needed for the exam. Use the review materials provided by your teacher or textbook, or seek out additional resources online.
  3. Create flashcards: Flashcards can be a great way to memorize key concepts, equations, and terminology. Make a set of flashcards with important information and review them frequently.
  4. Join study groups: Study groups can provide an opportunity to work through challenging material with peers. Meet with other students to review material, discuss concepts, and work on practice problems together.
  5. Take practice exams: Practice exams can help you get familiar with the format and structure of the actual AP Statistics test. Use past AP Statistics Exams or practice tests from online resources.
  6. Seek out additional resources: There are many online resources available to help students prepare for the AP Statistics Exam. Consider using online review materials, video tutorials, and online study groups. Some popular AP Statistics exam prep resources include
  7. Take 1-1 private tuitions: The Wiingy AP Statistics tutoring program adheres completely to the AP Statistics course outline. The platform has expert AP Statistics tutors who can help you with concepts, coursework homework help, and test-prep to help you get a top grade on the exam

Power Tip: Refer to the Wiingy AP Statistics Exam Guide for detailed information on the AP Statistics Exam and strategies to ace the test.

Remember, effective studying requires consistent effort over time. Start preparing early, stay focused, and stay positive.

In summary

According to College Board data from 2022, approximately 60.2% of students who took the AP Statistics exam received a passing score of 3 or higher. The pass rate can vary each year due to differences in exam difficulty. The mean score of AP Statistics in 2022 was 2.89.

Based on a reddit survey, AP Statistics is considered a relatively easy AP course with a difficulty rating of 2.4 out of 5. It is ranked as the 22nd most challenging out of the 38 AP courses surveyed. Despite its relative ease, AP Statistics still requires significant effort and commitment from students.

AP Statistics is a popular AP course, with approximately 200,000 students taking it each year, and the majority (95%) of students would recommend it to others.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When is the AP Statistics Exam 2023?

The AP Statistics exam 2023 is scheduled to take place on May 4, Thursday at 12:00 PM local time.

How long is the AP Statistics exam?

The AP Statistics exam is 3 hours long. The exam consists of two sections: a multiple-choice section that lasts for 90 minutes and a free-response section that also lasts for 90 minutes. The exam assesses students’ understanding and proficiency in various statistics topics, including data analysis, probability, inference, and statistical communication.

What is the format of the AP Statistics exam?

The AP Statistics exam consists of two sections: the multiple-choice section and the free-response section. The multiple-choice section consists of 40 questions, and students have 90 minutes to complete it. The free-response section also lasts for 90 minutes and consists of six questions, three of which are short-answer questions, one investigative task, and two extended-answer questions. The exam assesses students’ knowledge of statistical concepts, data analysis, probability, and statistical inference.

Is AP Statistics harder than AP Calculus?

No, AP Statistics is generally considered to be less challenging than AP Calculus. While both courses require a solid foundation in algebra, calculus involves more complex mathematical concepts such as limits, derivatives, and integrals. On the other hand, AP Statistics focuses on data analysis and probability theory, which can be easier to grasp for some students. However, both courses require effort and dedication to succeed.

Is AP Statistics a lot of math?

No, AP Statistics is not primarily focused on advanced mathematics. While some mathematical concepts are covered, the emphasis is on the application of statistical reasoning and analysis to real-world problems. The course also includes topics such as data collection, probability, and statistical inference. The math required is not overly complex and is generally within the reach of most students who have completed a basic algebra course.


  1. https://examstudyexpert.com/is-ap-statistics-hard-easy/
  2. https://www.bestcolleges.com/resources/ap-statistics/
  3. https://blog.prepscholar.com/is-ap-statistics-hard
  4. https://reports.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/2021-ap-student-score-distributions_1.pdf
  5. https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/media/pdf/ap-score-distributions-by-subject-2022.pdf
  6. https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-statistics
  7. https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-statistics/exam

Written by by

Apoorvaa Agarwal

Reviewed by by

Priyanshi Agrawal

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