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What Are The Easiest And Hardest AP Classes In 2022?

13 JUL 2022

When applying to universities in the US, Advanced Placement courses and strong AP test scores can provide a significant advantage — especially if your sights are set on the Ivy League or similarly competitive schools. Read on to learn about the benefits of AP classes, what are the hardest and easiest AP classes, and how international students can access AP curricula from anywhere in the world!


How Important Are AP Classes For College Admissions?

Advanced Placement (AP) classes can help you with your college application in several ways. AP classes are structured like college courses and encourage students to develop critical thinking, problem-solving and reasoning skills. Due to their rigorous course material and emphasis on research and analysis, colleges like to see students who have taken an AP course.

Not many students take AP classes, so taking some in high school also gives your application an edge. You can also use your AP classes to study a subject that interests you and show admissions officers that you can carry a heavy workload. And lastly, a good score on an AP exam can translate in to college credit, thus saving you some money!

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Why AP Exams Matter More Than Ever With Crimson CEO Jamie Beaton

What AP classes should you take?

Currently, students can choose from 38 different AP courses that fall within five disciplines. A good AP exam score can get you college credit in high school! This means that selecting the right AP subject is very important. College Board has several questions to help you get started. Here are some tips to help you choose the course that is right for you:

  1. Figure out what subjects you are interested in and what subjects you generally do well in school. This will help you narrow down your options.
  2. Think about what college majors and careers interest you, and then take courses related to those. This will help demonstrate your interest as well as expertise in the field.
  3. Research the AP policies of your college of interest. Some colleges award credit or placement, and knowing what you are eligible for will help you understand how many AP classes you need to take.

Crimson Global Academy offers many AP courses that you can take online! Click the link below to find out more!

What Are The Easiest And Hardest AP Classes?

Although there is no list or definition of the hardest and easiest AP classes, we have listed the top 5 classes based on the percentage of students who scored a 5 on the 2021 AP exams. Many universities give college credit to students who score a 5 on their AP exams and therefore chosen this criteria to evaluate the difficulty of each course.

The Hardest AP Classes

It’s difficult to say which AP courses and exams are the most difficult because each student has strengths and weaknesses. One thing to keep in mind is the flexibility of the course and the materials needed to excel in each one. Traditionally, courses like English Literature, Physics 1, and Chemistry are difficult to self-study for or complete at home because of the need for conversation and 1:1 instruction — like the lab element necessary to understand the science courses’ material.

Below is a table demonstrating the lowest percentages of students that earned a 5 in May 2021’s AP exams. Some may consider these to be the top 10 most difficult AP courses in the 2019-2020 school year as there are fewer top-scorers for these exams relative to other classes. It is also important to note that AP exams may have looked different for each student/school/region last year due to COVID-19.

Top 10 Hardest AP Classes
AP Class% of students with a 5 on the exam
English Literature4.9%
Art and Design 3D6.5%
Physics 16.9%
German Language6.9%
Environmental Science7%
Biology7.4%
Spanish Literature7.8%
French Language8.4%
English Language9.1%
World History9.7%

Based on 2021 results

The Easiest AP Classes

As mentioned above, there is no definitive list of which APs are easiest as each student has varying interests, capabilities, and learning styles. Traditionally, courses like Psychology, Computer Science Principles, and Human Geography have been reported as easier to self-study and complete requirements at home.

Below is a table demonstrating the highest percentages of students that earned a 5 in May 2021’s AP exams. Note that AP exams may have looked different for each student/school/region last year as a result of COVID-19.

Top 10 Easiest AP Classes
AP Class% of students with a 5 on the exam
Chinese Language57.2%
Japanese Language47.5%
Calculus BC46.7%
Physics C E&M32.6%
Computer Science A23.9%
Physics C Mechanics23.5%
Italian Language20.6%
Music Theory19.9%
Chinese Language18.8%
Economics18%

Based on 2021 results. ** As the AP classes are usually self-study, many native speakers tend to do well on language exams. The language classes are not necessarily the easiest classes to take.

For a complete breakdown of the score distribution refer to Collegeboard’s AP Score Distribution for the 2021 Exams.

While there are no guarantees that a course or exam will be easy or difficult for you, the ability to self-study and the percentage of 5’s earned can serve as good indicators of the courses’ rigor.

Kevin Ferrone, the Academic Dean of Crimson Global Academy USA shares some advice on deciding which APs to take:

Choose AP classes based on your strengths and interests. For example, taking AP World History: Modern over AP Calculus BC might not be the best choice for an intended Computer Science Major. Knowing your own strengths is very important in understanding what AP exams will be harder or easier for you. There are a few AP exams, such as AP Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, and Comparative Government and Politics, that cover less content and tend to require less prep time.

How Can You Take AP Classes At Home?

Now you might be wondering how you can take AP classes. Maybe you are studying at a school that does not offer AP classes, or you don’t have access to the subjects you are interested in. Crimson Global Academy is here to help you. We are an international online high school that offers AP classes from the comfort of your home. 

At CGA, students study to their ability, not age, so you can take the classes you want regardless of what you are studying in school. Besides AP classes, we offer International GCSE, A Level and US Diploma courses for students aged 8-18. There are also a variety of extracurricular activities, internships and leadership opportunities at CGA. 

While it may seem like taking the easiest AP courses will help you get into your college of choice, it is important to take classes that are right for your academic journey. Our Academic Advisors can help you plan the classes you should take and understand what you need to do to get into your dream university. Fill out the form below to speak to an advisor and begin your CGA journey.

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