AP classes are a hot topic in high school. Whether you’re debating which class you should take or how many AP classes you are going to take, there’s always lots to think about. We’re here to help answer all your burning AP-related questions and get you ready for your next AP class.
There’s a lot to get through when it comes to AP classes, but we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll be breaking down what AP classes are. We’ll be discussing the question of which ones are easiest and which ones are hardest before helping you decide which AP classes you should take in high school.
What Exactly is an AP Class?
What are AP classes? We are here to give you an answer! AP Classes are advanced placement classes that you take during high school and can potentially receive college credit for them. AP courses are designed closer to a college-level course than a high school-level one.
At the end of each AP course, you will be expected to take the corresponding AP exam, which is how colleges will determine if you get credit for the course or not. Almost all AP exams are completely standardized, with the only exceptions being a few art AP exams where a panel will judge your art.
For an AP exam, you will receive a score ranging from one to five, with five being the best. At most colleges and universities, you will need to have gotten a score of at least three to even be considered for credit. You can, however, pass the AP course in high school even if you don’t do too well on the AP exam, but this depends on your teacher and your school.
AP classes offer students numerous benefits, including the ability to go deeper into a subject that interests them and potentially get them college credit. AP classes are super popular, and for good reasons, but they are challenging, so making sure you understand what will be expected of you is critical to your success.
What are the Easiest and Hardest AP Exams?
What subjects are easy or hard for each person is entirely unique. Figuring out which are the easiest AP classes and exams and which are the hardest AP classes and exams is challenging since what will be difficult for you might be easy for someone else. Still, a few AP exams are generally understood to be easier, and a few are typically understood to be harder.
AP environmental science is generally accepted as an easier AP exam. Despite that statement, not all students who take AP environmental science will pass the final AP exam since that might be the only AP exam they have ever taken, and it still is an AP exam. This means that even though it might be easier than other AP exams, it is still more challenging than a traditional high school course.
Most people accept that the higher-level AP math courses, particularly AP Calculus BC, fall on the harder side of AP courses and exams. The main reason for AP calculus BC being considered hard is that it is an incredibly fast-paced course, even by AP standards. There is so much information to keep up with and understand that this course can be overwhelming, even for a seasoned AP test-taker.
All of this is still wholly subjective. If you find math super easy, then AP calculus BC might not be the hardest AP for you. Make sure you consider what others say about the AP exam and course, but the teachers who teach these courses are also your school. Some teachers offer more challenging AP classes than others, so determining which AP is easiest and which is hardest goes beyond just the exam.
When trying to figure out which AP classes are easiest and hardest, it is also essential to look at the list of AP classes that your school offers. Over 30 AP courses and exams are provided nationally, but most schools only offer a small selection of these courses. Don’t get your heart set on taking an AP class only to learn that your school doesn’t offer it!
What AP Classes Should I Take?
The short answer to the question of “which AP classes should I take” is that you should take any AP classes that interest you. The longer answer is a little more nuanced, however, since too many AP classes can get overwhelming very fast.
Before you determine which classes you should take, you should think about a few things.
- You should decide how many AP classes you want to take.
- You should also reflect on what path you will most likely take in college.
Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start to determine which classes you should take.
If you only want to take a few AP classes, it is essential that you tailor them to your interests. Don’t just take an AP because your friend is taking it, but take it because it makes sense for you. If you are thinking of studying a particular field in college, it’s a good idea to think about taking at least one or two AP classes that fall under that field.
If you plan on taking numerous AP classes, you’ll have a little more freedom to pick what you want. You should still consider taking a few AP courses in the field of study that you plan on pursuing, but you can determine what makes sense for you with the other AP courses.
The one course that you might want to take, regardless of how many AP courses you wish to take, is an AP language course if you have reached that level of a language. Almost everyone views studying a language favorably, so if you are at a place in your language study where taking an AP makes sense, we recommend that you do so.
When Should You Take AP Classes?
You can technically take AP classes any time during high school, but that doesn’t mean that you should. Figuring out when to take AP classes can be confusing, but just try thinking of them as advanced, college-level versions of courses. Since they are more advanced and more will be expected out of you, it’s generally best to take the bulk of your AP courses during your junior and senior years of high school.
Taking AP classes too early can lead to you getting burned out or receiving lower scores than you would have otherwise. Remember that these classes are designed to be more similar to a college-level course than a high school-level course, so take them when you are getting ready for college.
If you want more help figuring out which AP courses you should take during your time in high school, feel free to check out our other articles on AP classes.
5 Things to Know Before Taking AP Classes
Making sure you are prepared for your AP classes before you start them is the best way to set yourself up for success and get all the benefits of AP classes. Here are the things we think you should know before you start taking AP classes.
Try asking your school guidance counselor these questions before you start taking any AP classes, just so you know what your school expects of you. Each school is different, so make sure you check again if you ever change schools during high school.
1. How many AP classes are you allowed to take?
The first thing you need to figure out when you start taking AP classes is what rules your school has surrounding AP classes. Some schools limit how many AP classes you can take in total, while others limit how many you can take during one year. Some schools have no limits. It is important that you understand your school’s rules and expectations when it comes to AP classes and exams.
2. How will taking AP classes affect your GPA?
Your GPA, or grade point average, is something that you will probably spend a lot of time thinking about throughout high school. It is simply a way that colleges can get a rough idea of what grades you tend to get in classes, but it is sometimes weighted so that advanced, honors or AP classes count for more than a regular class. You should find out how taking AP classes will impact your GPA before you start taking them, just so you know what you are getting into.
3. Will you be required to take the AP exam?
Although this might seem like a silly question, it is essential to know if you will have to take the AP exam. Some schools allow you to take an AP class and decide part way through the year if you want to take the exam. This allows students to only pay to take AP exams that they think they will be able to receive a good score on while not limiting the AP classes they can take. Make sure you check with your school to know their rules.
4. How many AP exams do you want to take per year?
Take some time to reflect on how challenging you want your workload to be as well as how many AP classes and exams you want to take during your time in high school. Knowing the answers to these questions can help you determine how many AP exams you are comfortable taking each year. Remember that all AP exams are given during the same few weeks, so if you have a lot of AP exams, those weeks will be hectic for you.
5. Will your AP exam score contribute to your AP class grade?
Some schools have AP classes graded separately from the AP exam, but taking the AP exam at other schools will contribute to your overall course grade in some way. Check with your school on their policies, but make sure you also check with any teachers who might teach your AP classes. You should know before starting your AP class if the AP exam will count towards your course grade or not.
Wrapping Things Up: What You Need to Know Before Taking AP Classes?
AP classes are a lot, but with the proper knowledge and preparation, anyone can crush an AP exam! Regardless of how easy or hard your AP classes are, it’s important that you go into them prepared. If you’ve followed our suggested questions that you should ask before you start taking an AP course, you should have a good idea of what you’ve gotten yourself into.
If you found value in this post, take your learning to the next level by exploring our comprehensive collection of AP Guides.