What Are the Easiest AP Classes?

Students taking AP Exam
January 3, 2023
The Easiest AP ClassesChoosing Between the Easiest AP Classes: What to ConsiderFAQs: Easiest AP Classes

”Mary

Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 01/03/23

AP classes are considered college courses available to high school students. However, some of these AP courses are less challenging than other, more advanced ones. 

At the end of every school year, high school students across the United States gear up to take their AP exams. Stress runs high during this period, as some students take up to four, or even five, exams in a month. However, each AP exam has its own difficulty level. Remember, AP courses are considered college-level, so they will be tough.

If you're interested in taking part in the AP program during high school, try a few of the easiest AP classes. The more accessible tests with higher pass rates will help balance the more challenging exams on your class schedule. You'll want to manage and plan out what AP courses you'll be taking ahead of time. 

You may hear from other students that a specific teacher makes this course more challenging or that it's got a brutal end-of-year exam. Knowing a course's reputation for being difficult, the instructor, and the pass rate ahead of time is essential, as it could help you determine if it's worth taking that course later.

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The Easiest AP Classes

Below, you’ll find a comprehensive list of the easiest AP classes in high school based on their pass rates. Note that while a passing score is a three or above, students often do not receive college credit unless they earn a four or higher on the respective AP exam. The numbers here reflect the data from the recent May 2022 AP testing period

Remember that the data may reflect specific testing trends, like a higher number of first-time AP students or an exam focused on more experienced AP students. Some courses, like Calculus BC or Physics, have a high pass rate but are considered a higher level. Research each AP course before you sign up to know if you're ready for them.

How good you are at a given subject will help you prepare for the AP class. You determine what the easiest AP classes are based on your personal strengths. Remember, you prepare for AP exams throughout high school. Everything you do in a subject, from math to literature, can help you prepare for AP. 

Table outlining the ap courses with the highest pass rates

AP Art Courses

One thing that separates art from other AP courses is that students do not take an exam. Instead, they must put together a final portfolio of their best work. Art is a subject that requires more time to grade. Instead of normal classroom instruction, you will be working on your portfolio. Not having a true exam makes them easier courses overall.

AP Foreign Languages

AP Foreign Languages make up most of the easiest AP classes. The exam itself consists of multiple-choice questions with separate written and oral sections. Language courses have more supplemental online learning options to help you stay on top of the class. Most of the material would be considered early language arts for children.

These courses have a high pass rate because many high schools require foreign language as general core classes. Your lower-level language classes taken throughout high school should help you prepare for the later AP exam. The requirement to place AP exams at the end may be purposeful by your school to help you pass AP!

AP English Literature

English classes typically come across as one of the easiest AP classes. Even though AP English Literature covers college-level reading, you should still do well in this course as a junior or senior! With its higher pass rate, most students do well in the class if they just study hard. The exam includes multiple-choice and free-response questions.

AP Research and Seminar

AP Research and Seminar are unique AP classes that should help students prepare for college. AP seminar focuses on the student giving oral presentations with extra focus on essays and sources. AP Research dedicates itself to one big research project without any exam. Both courses provide a look into your future college classes.

General research and presentation skills are easy to learn, but hard to master. The material for AP Research and Seminar may be familiar to students who took part in talented and gifted programs in high school. You'll likely learn these skills from participating in other AP courses, so the classes should be easy. 

AP Physics C Mechanics 

Mechanical physics may look like one of the easiest AP classes based on pass rate; however, the data does not reflect its difficulty. Physics has a reputation for being one of the more difficult AP classes as it requires you to know advanced math. College Board recommends you take AP Calculus before or alongside Mechanics.

The pass rate for the Mechanics exam seems skewed by students who are often older and have taken lower level AP Physics classes. The AP Physics 1 pass rate reflects this, as more students did not continue on to take the higher levels of AP physics.

Choosing Between The Easiest AP Classes: What to Consider

While considering pass rates can be helpful, it's essential also to consider other factors when deciding which AP classes to take. Take course recommendations according to what the college board recommends, as they have a better idea of a course. Remember, these students have prepared for these exams to pass them.

Pass rates may reflect a trend in the data, such as the exam being easier or a class being a higher subject level. Pass rates have a few blind spots, such as personal strengths, AP exam experience and knowledge, and general exceptions on an exam-by-exam basis. You can learn about these by researching the course.

Personal strengths can carry you through an AP exam. You'll probably do well if you have prior knowledge before the class. What you remember from a given subject based on classes you took previously could help you prepare ahead of time.

Knowing how to take an AP exam can help you too. Test-taking skills matter and can help you with everything from test anxiety to earning a higher grade. AP exams often take multiple hours and are timed. You may also need to write an exam essay, and your handwriting could affect this. Go into an exam with a fresh and well-rested mind. 

A few notable classes are considered the easiest AP classes in high school despite having lower pass rates. AP Psych and AP Government are often the first AP class many students take. AP Government is taken most by first-year students and AP Psych by students who haven't taken AP before. Both groups lack AP exam experience. 

AP pass rates show that AP foreign language courses are easier. However, many high schools have a three or more year foreign language requirement. Most students take the AP course last, having prepared for multiple years by learning the language. Some students also enter the class knowing the language from their cultural background. 

AP courses attract students with a talent or interest in the course, so you take the classes based on your needs. Remember, the AP exam gives you college credit. You should take the course covering your credit needs before college. AP credit should help you knock out a core class or get to your significant courses faster. 

The most significant contributor to any AP exam will be your AP teacher and or professor. A good teacher can make a difference in you passing the exam or earning a five. If you need a better teacher or don't have one, consider AP Self Study or finding a tutor for the exam. Your AP scores should reflect your effort in the course. 

FAQs: Easiest AP Classes

Do you still have questions about the easiest AP classes? Below you'll find some common questions regarding AP classes and their varying difficulty levels. 

1. What Is the Best AP Class to Take?

The best AP classes to take depend on your abilities. While some classes are more accessible or have less challenging exams, they may not suit you. Take the AP classes you know you'll do well in based on your personal strengths. Your school may also limit your AP options, so you may not find a specific class you want to take.

2. Which AP Is the Easiest?

The answer to this question is subjective. If you only consider exam pass rates, you may pick a class that doesn’t suit your strengths. Keep in mind that exam and course difficulty can be different. To give us a complete picture, let’s look at popularity. With this in mind, AP Psychology is considered the easiest AP class. 

3. What AP Courses Do Colleges Like?

The point of taking AP classes is to help you get into college and get ahead by receiving college credits. Colleges prefer AP classes that count towards your core classes or intended major. However, any AP credit will help you stand out during college selection, even if you don't use that credit to cover a class.

4. Is AP Psychology Easy?

Yes, AP Psychology is recommended by College Board as one of the easiest AP classes in high school, even though it has a relatively low pass rate. AP Psych is predominantly taken by those new to the AP program, which may account for its lower pass rate. The class is simple to prepare for when studying for the exam. 

5. What Do I Do If My School Doesn’t Have an AP Course?

Most high schools offer the more popular AP courses, like US History and Calculus. However, if you're looking for a specific AP language course, or your school does not have a teacher the year you need one, you can try out AP self-study or find a tutor to prepare. There are tons of online resources for AP to help you study in any case.

6. Should I Take AP Classes?

AP classes may not be for everyone, and that's okay! If you have the opportunity and are good at the subject, consider participating in the AP program. Refrain from being daunted by word of mouth around an AP class. Some of them may be surprisingly easy!

7. Is AP Good for College?

Colleges love seeing AP courses on your transcript. The more you take, the better your college acceptance chances. They may also fit your schedule or provide a less intense course. Specific AP courses are considered less demanding. If you’re planning on taking one, an easy AP course can be a good way of earning college credit.

Final Thoughts

Still wondering, "what are the easiest AP classes?” By reputation, AP Psychology and AP Government are considered some of the easiest AP classes. 

However, keep in mind that the easiest AP classes in high school can also be determined on an individual basis. Whichever subject you're best at will likely be the easiest for you. 

While most find classes like calculus, physics and US history to be challenging, you may excel in them. It all depends on your personal preferences and the amount of work that you put in. The only thing stopping you from passing your AP courses is you!

Good luck!

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