AP exams are known for their difficulty, but some subjects are harder than others. In this article, we will explore and rank AP subjects based on the percentage of students who have achieved the highly sought-after score of "5." Our rankings are derived from thorough analysis of AP score distribution from the 2022 data provided by the College Board, offering you a comprehensive understanding of the difficulty levels associated with each subject.
TOP 10 Toughest AP Subject to Score a 5
AP 3-D Art and Design tops this list with the 5-score rate of 6.4% but has a passing rate of 73.5%. So while it is the hardest AP subject to achieve a perfect 5, the second on this list, AP Physics 1, is actually the hardest. The percentage of students scoring 5 is 7.9% and it comes with the lowest passing rate of all the 38 AP subjects. With a passing rate of 43.2%, less than half of the students who took the 2022 AP Physics 1 exam passed.
Now that know the toughest AP exams, your curiosity may naturally lead you to ask: Which AP exams are considered the easiest?
Easiest AP Exam to score a 5
This Top 5 list is based on the percentage of students who earned a score of 5 on the 2022 AP exams.
Topping the list is AP Chinese
Language and Culture, which not only achieved the highest percentage of
students scoring a 5 but also boasts the second highest passing rate at 86.9%.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the most challenging and easiest AP exam subjects, you may be contemplating your own AP plans. Let’s discuss some strategies and key considerations before making decisions about which APs to pursue.
The more APs, the better?
The limit of APs all depends on you— your goals, strengths, and interests. If you're eyeing a future in a field that demands intellectual muscle, then strapping on a few extra AP courses can help you show the admissions officers that you can handle a challenging college course load.
But before you go all-out and sign up for every AP class under the sun, assessing your capacity to handle the workload and balance your commitments is crucial. If you're feeling a bit uncertain, here's a pro-tip: start off with one or two AP classes to test the waters and gradually increase the number as you gain experience.
Choosing the Right AP Classes
Don't focus solely on chasing those college application brownie points; Taking AP Physics can provide a deep understanding of fundamental principles in science and engineering, preparing students for future studies or careers in these fields. Similarly, AP Computer Science offers the opportunity to develop coding skills, problem-solving abilities, and computational thinking, which can be beneficial for pursuing a major in computer science or related fields.
By choosing classes that resonate with their interests and aspirations, students can cultivate a fulfilling academic experience while laying the foundation for their desired paths in the future.
My school doesn't offer the AP classes that I'm interested in
One option is self-studying. However, keep in mind that AP self-study requires strong motivation, discipline, and effective time management, which can be challenging to balance with academics and extracurricular activities. Take a moment to assess your drive and the resources available to you before deciding on self-study.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the easiest and most challenging AP exams, it is vital to approach your own AP journey with thoughtful consideration. As you choose your AP courses, make sure they are not only worth your commitment and effort, but also in line with your abilities, interests, and academic goals.
At 7EDU, our students are 5 times more likely to achieve a score of 5 on their AP exams compared to the national average. We invite you to explore our AP summer preview courses and the range of courses we offer for the 2023-24 school year. Take advantage of these resources to enhance your AP experience and increase your chances of success.