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    The easiest AP classes in 2024

    Jeremy Coppock
    Jeremy Coppock

    Jeremy is an education researcher, journalist, and editor for Degreechoices. He majored in Slavic languages and has a master’s degree in Eastern European studies.

    He has previous experience as a fraud analyst, in-house translator, teacher, and truck driver.

    The easiest AP classes in 2024
    Contents

      By pass rate, the easiest AP exams in 2024 were AP Seminar, AP Chinese Language and Culture, and AP Research.

      However, these AP classes aren’t necessarily easy – the students who take them are just highly prepared.

      The consensus among test takers on Reddit is that the easiest AP classes are AP Psychology, AP Human Geography, and AP Computer Science Principles.

      Which AP classes are the easiest depends on your skill set as a student. Give yourself time to prepare by aiming to take 1-3 AP classes per year.

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      You need great AP test scores if you want to get into a great college. The only problem? AP tests are hard.

      To get around this minor inconvenience, you are probably googling what AP classes are the easiest so you can make your college application shine with minimal effort.

      Unfortunately for you, this question is pretty difficult to answer objectively, since, surprise surprise, it all depends on your strengths and weaknesses as a student, your teacher, and other factors.

      However, we do have some facts and figures that could shed light on the matter.

      Read on to discover the easiest AP exams by pass rate and share of scores in the 4-5 range, along with some other informative facts.

      The easiest AP tests by exam pass rate

      Each year, the College Board, which develops and administers the AP tests, publishes student score distributions on its website.

      As you are doubtlessly aware, a 1 means you bombed, while a 5 is excellent. A passing score is a 3 or higher.

      In 2024, the easiest AP exams by pass rate were AP Seminar, AP Chinese Language and Culture, and AP Research.

      The AP exams with the highest share of 4s and 5s were AP Chinese Language and Culture, AP Calculus BC, and AP Japanese Language and Culture.

      AP Seminar and AP Research are part of the interdisciplinary AP Capstone course. In AP Seminar, students investigate real-world problems, conduct research, complete a team project, and deliver presentations. AP Research comprises a deep exploration of a topic of interest to the student, culminating in an academic paper and defense.

      See our table below for a full breakdown of AP scores in 2024.

      Exam name Percent passed Percent with a 4 or 5
      AP Seminar 89% 29%
      AP Chinese Language and Culture 87% 70%
      AP Research 85% 38%
      AP Drawing 84% 46%
      AP Spanish Language and Culture 83% 52%
      AP 2D Art & Design 83% 40%
      AP Calculus BC 80% 67%
      AP Physics C: Mechanics 75% 52%
      AP Precalculus 75% 49%
      AP Chemistry 75% 44%
      AP Japanese Language and Culture 74% 57%
      AP United States Government & Politics 73% 49%
      AP African American Studies 73% 45%
      AP Comparative Government & Politics 73% 40%
      AP European History 72% 47%
      AP United States History 72% 46%
      AP English Literature & Composition 72% 40%
      AP 3D Art & Design 72% 31%
      AP Italian Language and Culture 71% 42%
      AP French Language and Culture 71% 38%
      AP Biology 68% 39%
      AP Physics 2 68% 33%
      AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism 67% 50%
      AP German Language and Culture 67% 42%
      AP Computer Science A 66% 46%
      AP Spanish Literature and Culture 66% 32%
      AP Microeconomics 65% 42%
      AP Computer Science Principles 65% 32%
      AP Calculus AB 64% 49%
      AP World History 64% 44%
      AP Art History 63% 35%
      AP Statistics 62% 39%
      AP Macroeconomics 62% 37%
      AP Psychology 61% 41%
      AP Music Theory 61% 37%
      AP Latin 57% 29%
      AP Human Geography 56% 38%
      AP Environmental Science 54% 36%
      AP English Language & Composition 54% 30%
      AP Physics 1 46% 26%

      Source: College Board

      The mean AP exam pass rate in 2024, for all exams, was 69%.

      Interestingly, the top 10 AP exams with the highest pass rates included subjects like AP Calculus BC, AP Physics C: Mechanics, and AP Chemistry, which are traditionally perceived as very difficult.

      AP Calculus BC had the second-highest rate of 4s and 5s of any exam

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      The hardest AP exams

      The hardest AP tests (by pass rate) were AP Physics 1, AP Environmental Science, and AP English Language and Composition.

      The exams with the lowest rates of 4s and 5s were from AP Physics 1, AP Latin, and AP Seminar. AP Seminar is an interesting case, as it has some of the highest exam pass rates. This shows us that it’s easy to pass, but difficult to excel at.

      The AP exams with the highest share of 1s were from AP Human Geography, AP Physics 1, and AP Psychology.

      Why high exam pass rates don’t mean easy AP classes

      Some of the results in the table above may seem fishy to you.

      Surely, Chinese and Calculus aren’t easy AP subjects. So, what’s with the high scores? There are several explanations.

      1. AP language exams are favorites for “heritage speakers,” who speak a language other than English at home. While they may need to brush up on grammar rules, spelling, and vocabulary, heritage speakers have a big advantage on AP exams, which are written with new learners in mind.
      2. There is a degree of self-selection involved: because certain classes have a reputation for being difficult, only top students even attempt to take them. Mid-range students may be afraid that these classes will ruin their GPA (although weighted GPA policies should ease these fears).
      3. Some AP classes have rigorous pre-requisites that weed out students who aren’t prepared. Other advanced placement classes are available to anyone – even freshmen – allowing mid-range students to try their luck at AP.
      4. Some AP classes are more likely to be offered at very well-funded high schools. Schools with the resources to teach highly individualized, non-traditional courses like AP Research and AP Seminar may be better equipped to prepare students for the exams.

      The easiest AP classes in high school – the Reddit consensus

      We understand if you aren’t satisfied with “it depends on your strengths” answer.

      To bring you a more subjective view, we listened to the voice of the people (as expressed on Reddit).

      We counted the number of times individual AP classes were mentioned in posts from the last 4 years asking what the easiest AP classes were.

      We did not count downvoted mentions (with a –1 or lower vote count).

      According to this quick survey, the easiest AP classes according to Redditors were:

      1. AP Psychology – 37 mentions
      2. AP Human Geography – 33 mentions
      3. AP Computer Science Principles – 26 mentions
      4. AP Environmental Science – 25 mentions
      5. AP Government and Politics – 14 mentions

      There was a steep drop-off in the number of mentions after these top 5.

      Despite wide agreement that AP Psychology and AP Human Geography are relatively easy AP tests, Redditors’ answers were nuanced.

      Many Redditors pointed out that the easiest AP classes depend on your own skills and interests, how good your teacher is, and other factors. Likewise, some wrote that they found certain AP classes easy or difficult, despite most others being of the opposite opinion.

      Interestingly, many of the exams that Redditors claimed were “easy” have low pass rates – notably AP Environmental Science, AP Human Geography, and AP Psychology. In fact, AP Human Geography had the highest share of 1s of any exam.

      The discrepancy between perceptions of exams’ ease and actual pass rates may have to do with the types of students taking the tests – and when you take them. Whereas AP Human Geography is many students’ first (and perhaps only) AP test, AP Calculus BC is only attempted by highly prepared students – who, we suspect, may be more likely to be lurking on Reddit.

      How many AP classes should you take?

      According to the experts, 1 or 2 per year.

      On his X account, Trevor Packer, the Head of the AP Program at College Board, reminds students that they should not feel pressured to take too many AP courses, and that “taking just 1-2 APs per year optimizes a student’s readiness for college.”

      However, no one knows your true academic capabilities better than you (okay, maybe also your parents and teachers). Some students may be able to handle 4 AP classes in 1 year, while others may struggle with just 1.

      If you’re doubting yourself, try taking a single AP class as a freshman or a sophomore and see how you handle it.

      AP classes commonly offered to underclassmen include AP Human Geography, AP World History: Modern, AP European History, AP Seminar, and AP Computer Science Principles.

      Can you take an AP exam without taking the class?

      Yes!

      You don’t have to take an AP class in high school to register for the exam.

      If you’re extremely self-disciplined, you could study for an AP exam on your own; just remember that these tests are no walk in the park.

      Taking an AP exam without taking the corresponding AP class may also be a good way to get more college credit in high school, especially if you’re a heritage speaker of a foreign language. Do you speak Spanish at home with your parents? Buy an AP review book, study up for the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam, and earn college credits for knowledge you already possess.

      Concluding thoughts

      AP exams offer several advantages to college-bound high school students.

      Not only do they look great on your resume and prove your academic credentials, they can also earn you college credits while you’re still in high school.

      Entering college with AP credit can knock out some of the pesky general education requirements many college freshmen and sophomores have to meet.

      This can help you graduate on time, which, in turn, will mitigate your student debt.

      Before we conclude, we’d like to remind you to take a deep breath.

      If you’re struggling with AP courses and you’re worried a bad score will ruin your chances of getting into a good college and succeeding in life, remember that selective colleges are often overrated. You don’t need an Ivy League degree to get a great job. In fact, what you study is often more important than where you study it.

      See our list of the best-value universities in the country and discover which colleges offer the optimal combination of affordability and high earnings potential post-graduation.

      You’re at the very beginning of an exciting journey, no matter your AP scores. Enjoy the ride!

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