easiest ap classes
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Easiest AP Classes

Advanced Placement (AP) classes are a great way to earn college credit, demonstrate your skills, and prepare for college-level coursework. AP classes have a reputation for being academically rigorous, with a high workload. Researching the easiest AP classes can help you decide which AP classes are right for you. And, doing your research beforehand can help give you the best chance of earning college credit. 

So, what are the easiest AP classes? This guide will detail the easiest AP classes, breakdown the easiest AP exams, and explain how AP scores factor into college credit. We’ll also cover:

  • Tips for choosing AP classes
  • Pros and cons of taking AP classes 
  • Ranked AP classes list by difficulty 
  • Advice on what AP classes to take 

With so many AP classes offered, it can be hard to decide which ones will best prepare you for college. Taking the easiest AP classes your school offers can help you boost your GPA, earn college credit, and make your application shine. But before we start exploring the easiest AP classes, let’s learn a bit more about what an AP class is. 

What is an AP Class?

The Advanced Placement (AP) program is run by the College Board (the same organization that operates the SAT). The AP program consists of many different AP classes, in wide-ranging subjects. High schools throughout the United States offer AP classes. So, it’s likely that your school has various AP classes to choose from.

After you complete an AP class, you will have the opportunity to sit for an AP exam in the same subject. The AP exams test your knowledge of the subject and are scored from 1-5. If you score above a 3 on an AP exam, you might even earn college credit for that subject, although the policy will vary by school. This is where the name Advanced Placement comes from: AP exams can grant you advanced placement in college

AP classes are often more rigorous than traditional high school classes. However, taking AP classes can help boost your college applications. Often, AP classes are weighted. That means an A in an AP class works to boost your GPA more than an A in a traditional high school class. Colleges also like to see students taking advantage of more rigorous classwork; it shows them that students are academically motivated. So, taking even the easiest AP classes can help your application stand out. 

Tips for Choosing AP Classes

Picking the easiest AP classes is not as straightforward as you may think. For some students, AP Calculus will be easier than AP English Language and Composition, and vice versa. As the easiest AP classes for each individual will vary, we’ve compiled some tips to help you pick the best ones for you: 

How to Choose AP Classes

  1. Look for courses that align with your interests/intended college major.

If you’re planning to major in a STEM field, you should plan to take classes such as AP Chemistry or AP Calculus. If you’re aiming for a major in the humanities, try to take AP English Language and Composition or AP Spanish Language and Culture. 

  1. Consider who your teachers will be.

The right teacher can make all the difference. If you know the teachers at your school well enough, that can help you identify the easiest AP classes. 

  1. Be realistic about your academic strengths and weaknesses.

If you’ve struggled in math previously, AP Calculus may not be a top choice for you. Think about what classes you tend to excel in, and with which materials you struggle. The easiest AP classes will likely align with your already established academic strengths. 

  1. Balance your high school workload.

Think holistically about what you already have on your plate. What extracurriculars, sports, and clubs are you involved in? Classes like AP Calculus and AP Chemistry may require many hours of work per week. Additionally, classes like AP English Language and Composition may have a lot required reading. Don’t overwhelm yourself! 

  1. Plan ahead for the AP tests.

The easiest AP exams are the ones you are well prepared for. Map out your AP exams schedule and make a study plan. Keep in mind, high AP scores are the only way you can earn college credit for your AP classes. No matter the difficulty or format of the test, preparation is always key. 

AP Classes Pros and Cons

So, you’ve reviewed the AP classes list at your school. Now comes the big decision of deciding whether or not to take any AP classes. Before we detail what are the easiest AP classes, we’ve compiled some pros and cons of taking even the easiest AP classes. 

Opportunity to earn college credits that can help you earn your degreeNot all colleges accept AP credit, and some only accept AP test scores of 5 
Rigorous classwork helps prepare you for college-level work Can be challenging to balance the coursework with other AP or Honors courses  
Taking AP classes can boost your college applicationThe time commitment for AP classes can take away from participating in clubs, sports, or working
High grades in AP classes can be weighted in your favor, increasing your GPA Taking too many AP classes can negatively impact your GPA if you’re unable to keep up with the material

Ultimately, taking even the easiest AP classes can come with challenges, so it’s important to think carefully before you enroll. Talk with your counselor about options and if AP classes are a good fit for you. 

AP Classes Ranked By Difficulty

easiest ap classes

While all AP classes are difficult, some are more difficult than others. It’s important to remember that the easiest AP classes for one student may be the hardest for another. However, we do have data that can help us answer the question of “what are the easiest AP classes?”

In this article, we will be looking at the 2023 AP test score distributions to see which are the easiest AP exams. Essentially, we’ll be looking at which exams the majority of students passed with a 3 or higher. Now, this information won’t tell you exactly what are the easiest AP classes for your school. However, they can help you understand which AP scores are tougher to get. 

If you’re interested in 2024 data, the CollegeBoard updates their information here as test results are released. 

It’s important to understand that the easiest AP exams do not necessarily correlate to the easiest AP classes. The difficulty of the AP exam does not predict whether you’ll get an A in a specific AP class. For some students, they may get As in AP Calculus or AP Chemistry, and then get a 1 or 2 on the exam. It’s important to prepare for even the easiest AP exams if you want to maximize your potential to earn college credit. 

What are the Easiest AP Classes?

As we’ve said before, the easiest AP classes will depend on a wide variety of factors for each individual student. We’ll break down the easiest AP exams in the next section, but generally, AP Art and Design and AP language classes tend to be some of the easiest AP classes. However, a student who finds AP English Language and Composition easy may find AP Spanish Language and Culture extremely difficult!

Students find classes like AP English Language and Composition easier for a variety of reasons. As compared to AP Calculus and AP Chemistry, the content of AP English Language and Composition can be more subjective and therefore open to interpretation. Courses like AP Calculus and AP Chemistry have little room for interpretation, with clear right and wrong answers. Similarly, classes like AP Spanish Language and Culture may feel more familiar to students, as opposed to AP Calculus and AP Chemistry, which present many new and complex ideas. 

Easiest AP Exams

While determining the easiest AP class, we can break down the easiest AP exams by looking at the percentage of students who scored a 3 or above. We’ve compiled the top 15 below, and we’ll break down what the AP scores may mean.  Note that this list may not answer the question “What is the easiest AP class?”, as the data is just based on the exams. We’ll discuss what is the easiest AP class in the next section. 

Easiest AP Classes

AP Chinese Language and Culture – 88.4%

The AP Chinese exam has the highest percentage of students scoring a 3 or above. This does not mean that AP Chinese is the easiest AP class, however. The high percentage could be due to the unique content, and the fact that many students may already have a background in the subject. 

AP Drawing – 84.8%

In addition to an exam, the AP scores for AP Drawing will include a review of a portfolio, which students spend ample time preparing. The inclusion of the portfolio may explain why such a high percentage of students score above a 3. 

AP Research – 84.4%

The AP Research course is assessed based on an academic paper in which students present and defend their argument. Out of all the courses on the AP classes list, AP Research gives students a lot of agency and control over the final assessment, which may explain why it’s easier than courses such as AP Calculus or AP Chemistry. 

AP Spanish Language and Culture – 83.8% 

The AP Spanish Language and Culture exam is comprised of multiple choice questions, free written responses, and free spoken responses. Doing well on the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam usually comes down to having cumulative years of experience. So, if you’ve been taking Spanish classes, consider taking AP Spanish Language and Culture, as it may be one of the easiest AP classes! 

AP 2-D Art & Design – 83.6%

Many of the art-based courses are considered some of the easiest AP classes. Instead of an exam, students will have to submit a portfolio, which students can work on throughout the course. If an arts course is listen on your school’s AP classes list, consider signing up! 

AP Calculus BC – 78.5%

While AP Calculus is notoriously one of the harder AP classes, the majority of students have AP scores above a 3. Given the rigorous nature of AP Calculus courses, students are likely very prepared for the exam. Schools may also require students to take prerequisite courses before enrolling in AP Calculus, so many students have a strong foundation of knowledge to build off of. 

AP English Literature and Composition – 77.2%

The AP English Literature and Composition exam is comprised of a multiple choice section and a free response section. Many students go into the exam with the necessary reading and comprehension skills required to do well. However, students may encounter prompts with which they are unfamiliar. Prepping extensively for the AP English Literature and Composition exam is a good idea, as many colleges accept credit for a passing score. 

AP Japanese Language – 76.9% 

Like many of the language based AP classes, the AP Japanese exam contains multiple choice questions, free written responses, and free spoken responses. With the wide variety of exam questions, the majority of students pass with a 3 or better. 

AP Chemistry – 75.1%

To some, AP Chemistry may be one of the hardest AP classes. Composed of a multiple choice and free response section, the AP Chemistry exam is certainly difficult, but it is certainly not impossible to pass. In fact the majority of students do pass, likely thanks to strong AP Chemistry class teachers adequately preparing students to manage the challenging material. 

AP Physics C: Mechanics – 73.5%

Like many other science courses, AP Physics is not one of the easiest AP classes. However, many schools require students to have fundamental courses in physics before attempting the AP course, setting most students up for success. 

AP Italian Language – 72.9%

AP Italian is similar to many other language-based AP exams, where students have multiple choice questions, written responses, and spoken responses. Generally, AP language classes are some of the easiest AP classes, so long as students have a good grasp on how to read, write, and speak in the language. 

AP 3-D Art & Design – 72.1%

With art courses being some of the easiest AP classes, AP 3-D Art & Design appears to be slightly more challenging than others. With the use of a portfolio, AP art classes allow students to craft their assessment over time. Given the unique nature of 3-D art, this course may not appear on your AP classes list, but artistic students should consider taking the course if offered. 

AP French Language – 71.4%

With fewer students passing the AP French exam than other AP languages, you may assume that AP French is not one of the easiest AP classes. Indeed, the opportunity to take French classes differ from school to school.

AP Comparative Government & Politics – 70.8%

Composed of a multiple choice and free response section, AP Comparative Government & Politics appears to be more challenging than many science and math courses. This could be due to the depth of history and governmental policy students are expected to know. Still, some students may consider this to be one of the easiest AP classes, especially when taught by an engaging teacher.

AP Physics C – Electrical & Magnetism – 70.2%

Like other AP Physics courses, the Electrical & Magnetism course is not one of the easiest AP classes. However, with most students receiving a 3 or better, the AP Physics C course may be worth it if you’re considering a STEM major. 

Please note that the AP language tests (such as AP Spanish Language and Culture) have total and standard percentages. The College Board notes that,

“Standard students generally receive most of their foreign language training in U.S. schools. They did not indicate on their answer sheet that they regularly speak or hear the foreign language of the exam, or that they have lived for one month or more in a country where the language is spoken.”

This means that the higher test scores are likely a result of students who are native speakers. However, this should not dissuade you from taking an AP language course or exam. Just remember, the ease of a specific language course will depend, like all other AP classes do, on your unique strengths and abilities.

What is the Easiest AP Class?

easiest ap classes

So, what is the easiest AP class? In reality, the easiest AP classes differ from student to student. As such, it’s important to keep in mind your personal strengths and weaknesses. However, we can look at test score data to determine the easiest AP classes. Based solely on these test scores, the easiest AP class is AP Drawing. 

AP Drawing does not have a formal exam, like other AP classes. It has a portfolio requirement that students submit at the end of the academic year. This portfolio requirement allows students to work on their final assessment throughout the year, with teacher support and feedback. Since students are able to hone their portfolio, many are able to pass the final assessment. 

While AP Drawing may be one of the easiest AP classes, not every student will find it easy. When reviewing your AP classes list, consider your interests and past experience. If you’ve never drawn a portrait, or have no artistic inclinations, AP Drawing may not be an easy class for you. You can read through the AP Course list to see what other AP classes might be a better fit. 

What AP Classes should I take?

Deciding which AP classes to take is a major decision. There are many benefits to AP classes, but it’s important to understand the workload and requirements of the AP program. Taking the easiest AP classes will still require time and energy to do well. Keep in mind that AP classes are not for every student, so be sure to talk with your teachers to see if they are a good fit for you. 

In comparison to honors classes, AP classes can provide you with college credit. However, students only receive college credit if they pass the AP exam. Some students do really well in the classroom, but struggle with standardized testing. Students have many different learning styles, some of which may not translate well to the AP format. Reading through the AP classes list at your school and researching the course and exam requirements for each can help you with your decision. 

Many students elect to take AP courses in subjects they excel in, or classes that will help them advance in their planned major. Classes like AP English Language and Composition and AP Spanish Language and Culture are popular choices for students, as most students will need to take an English and foreign language requirement in college. They are courses that students likely have taken throughout middle and high school, so students tend to be more comfortable with the material. 

In short, you should consult with your teachers and counselors on which AP classes are right for you. Consider your future college plans, outstanding commitments, and overall interest in the subject. Taking only the easiest AP classes won’t guarantee you college credit, or admission to a selective university. But, taking classes you’re interested in can help set you up for academic success! 

Choosing the best AP Classes for College

easiest ap classes

While there are many intangible benefits to AP classes, picking the best AP classes for college is how most students decide which AP classes to take. The easiest AP classes may not be the best for your college goals, so it’s important to weigh all factors. Most students pick their AP courses with two things in mind: strengthening their college application and earning college credit. 

When it comes to strengthening your application, the best AP classes for college will differ from student to student. Colleges will consider the AP options at your school and will want to see how you challenged yourself academically. 

Think towards your intended major – if you’re planning to study a STEM field, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP Calculus are all courses you should consider taking. But it’s important to not overload on AP courses just for the sake of your applications; think critically about which classes to take.

Earning college credit is the other motivating factor in taking AP classes. Most colleges will only accept AP exam scores higher than 3 for credit, so it’s important to prepare for the exams. Consider which classes are most likely to qualify for credit. For example, a class like AP Spanish Language and Culture can help students with foreign language requirements at most colleges. 

Choosing the best AP classes for college will greatly depend on your school’s offerings and your personal academic interests and goals. Discuss your options with your counselor and teachers, and don’t be afraid to take advantage of the AP program!

Easiest AP Classes – Final Thoughts

So, what is the easiest AP class? While there is no one clear answer, weighing your strengths and weaknesses is key. We know that some exams are generally easier than others, but AP scores can only tell us so much. Regardless of which are the easiest AP classes, any AP class can help you earn college credit, prepare you for college-level coursework, and help you gain in-depth knowledge about a particular subject. 

Selecting your AP courses can be difficult, but CollegeAdvisor is here to guide you through the process! CollegeAdvisor can help you navigate the AP program, and help you when it comes time to complete your college applications. For more information, you can listen to our webinar on Planning Your High School Courses for College Admissions, or read our guide on How to Choose the Best High School Courses for College Applications. No matter where you are in the college application process, CollegeAdvisor has resources for you!

easiest ap classes

This article was written by senior advisor Jess Klein. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.