You might be in a high school planning for an AP(Advanced Placement) class to take. But you have a question for which you came to read this blog. What are the hardest AP classes? It is a very valid question, because all the 38 classes are not the same, especially to pass the exam. The passing rate differs from a massive margin. Some AP classes have a passing range of around 90%, and in some, it is as low as 50%.
The following is the passing rate from most to least of all 38 AP classes:
To pass the AP exam, students need to score a 3 or above. Percentage shows how many students were able to achieve a 3 or more in specific exams. Further, we are going to see which are the 15 hardest AP classes? And about them in detail, considering the percentage of students who passed in the AP exams. But before this, keep in mind, hard and easy are subjective terms. In the end, it depends on students' knowledge and interest. Some subjects may be easy for you, and some hardest, And the opposite, for any other student.
The following are the subjects with the least passing rate
15. Art History:
The 15th hardest AP class is Art history, with a 68.7% passing rate. It's a 3-hour exam consisting of MCQ (Multiple Choice Questions) and free-response questions. As its name says, Art History is the study of the art of various cultures. You will study the history of art back from the prehistoric era to the present times.
You need to develop skills by developing theories by seeing art connections. And this will be possible through observation, research, reading, and discussion. It will increase your ability to put art into a historical context. At first, AP Class considers an easy class, although you need an amount of work to score well. Unable to understand art in a historical context may make the exam difficult.
14. German Language and Culture:
The passing rate of the german language is 67.9%. The 3 hours and 3 minutes exam consist of 30 MCQs on print sources, 35 MCQs on audio. 2 free-response writing, 2 free-response spoken questions. You will study german films, newspapers, books. With this also environmental, social, and political challenges faced by german communities. You need to develop the ability to speak, listen, write, and read the german language
Unless you are a person who can speak German, it's not an easy exam to pass. The simple reason is if you can't speak german, it makes your study hard. Thus, it recommended giving the exam only if you speak german.
With 63.2 passing rates in an exam, the 13th hardest AP class is Macroeconomic. The course consists of various economic concepts. These concepts are scarcity, production possibility, demand, supply, comparative advantage, and price determination.
It is a 2 hours 10 minutes exam consisting of 60 MCQs, 3 free-response questions. The MCQs will be on defining economic models and principles and economic outcomes. Free-response questions will check your ability to create a visual representation. And also the ability to perform calculations and numerical analysis. The tricky part in microeconomics is that one unit is the base of another in the course. It means each unit in macroeconomics is crucial, which you can't skip. Thus, your understanding of each division will decide how hard it is for you to pass the exam.
12. English Language and Composition:
62.1% is the passing rate of the AP English language and composition. It is a 3 hour and 15 minutes exam with 45 MCQs and 3 reading questions. The MCQs are in two parts reading and writing and free-response questions. It checks your ability on the synthesis, argument, and rhetorical argument.
To pass this exam, students need to focus on critical reading. It will help them understand the argument. Understanding the given statements are crucial to deconstruct ideas using rhetorical strategies.
Also, you need strong writing skills to express your argument. It will be in different forms like memoir writing, essays, current affairs reports. The writing skills should be as fast as you need to write lots of things.
11. Calculus AB:
Calculus AB is another hardest AP class of 3 hours and 15 minutes. The exam consists of 45 MCQs and 6 free-response questions. The exam will check your ability to understand calculus concepts. It will test correct notation use, solve problems by determining procedures and formulas.
Thus students need to focus on calculus concepts. Applications and methods: derivatives, limits, and integrations. Students need to learn mathematical reasoning, to solve the problem, and theoretical basis.
The importance of memorizing formulas is significant. The reason that the exam will not provide the formula sheet. Thus, a student needs to increase its memorization skill to perform well. Because there are many things, they need to memorize. With this, a student should use a calculator as it is almost impossible to solve problems without it.
10. World History:
AP World History is the 10th hardest AP class with the least passing rate of 60.2%. This class is about 800 years of world history, from 1200 CE to the present. World history focuses on many central themes. These are cultural developments and interactions, economic system governance, innovation, social interaction.
It's 3 hours and 15 minutes exam split into 3 components. 55 MCQs(Multiple choice questions), 3 short answer questions, and 2 free-response questions. One of the reasons it's hard is that it covers 800 years of history, which is a lot for a single AP class. World history is about understanding the long term trend happening in the world.
The subject is more focused on understanding the historical concepts of the course. Checks the ability to take the historical sources into the analysis. Need to support a historical interpretation.
Hence, the subject requires critical thinking of the historical movements. If you are a person who prefers to memorize history, you will find this subject hard. Also, another important factor is a student's writing skill. Your writing skills can make a difference because of your writing skills. The way you write can decide if the subject will be challenging for you or not. The course is challenging if you lack critical thinking, writing skills, understand patterns. Opposite to that, if you are good at these things, you can pass this exam.
9. English Literature and Composition:
One of the Hardest AP classes, AP English literature, and composition, is a 3 hours exam. It consists of 55 multiple-choice questions and 3 response questions. The passing Rate of English literature is only 60.1%. It requires you to read a difficult text and explain it by writing an essay. Here you need to understand and test fiction, drama, and poetry work.
English literature considers crime and punishment as non-fiction. And it is tough to study. You need to explain literature work in this class. And for this, you need to have the ability to read a given passage pretty well. You have to write an essay on a play or book which you read in your class. But unfortunately, you can't bring your book to the exam. It makes it even challenging as you need to very focused study to understand.
Thus, it would be best if you fine-tuned your reading and writing ability. It will help you to explain the literary work. If you think you are good at close reading and writing, it may be easier for you. Otherwise, as we know now, it is one of the problematic AP exams.
With a passing rate of only 60%, AP Statistics is the 8th hardest AP class. This class, based on collecting the data, analyzing it, and drawing a conclusion from the data. For example, how to predict the importance of randomization by using models.
The exam time is 3 hours, in 2 sections, 40 MCQs, five response questions, and investigative tasks. MCQs are for checking the course's understanding. And response questions test your ability to explain and justify by given data use. Thus the mathematical concept is the most essential to pass. It says the exam can be difficult if unable to understand statistics.
7. European History:
At 59.3% passing rate of AP European history, it is the 7th hardest AP class to score three or above. This 3 hours 15 minutes long exam consists of European history. The subject covers the economic, political, social, cultural past from 1450-present.
It is the least common AP exam given by the students, only 100000 in 2019. It consists of Europe's significant individuals, events, and development, from 1450-present. This course needs analytical ability to pass the exam. You need to analyze the significant issue of European history, evidence, data analysis.
6. Human Geography:
AP human geography’s passing rate is 59%, making it the 6th hardest AP class to pass. It's 2 hours and 15 minutes test with 60 MCQs and three free-response questions. Human geography is where students study processes and patterns that shaped human understanding. The study is of how they used land and how they changed the earth's surface.
Here students need to use landscape analysis and spatial concepts. It is to observe the human social organization and its environmental consequences. They need to learn the tools and methods used by geographers in science and practice.The factor which can decide your exam will be easy or difficult is geographical terms. To pass this exam and get a good score, you need to know the terminology used in geography.
5. United States History:
And here are the top 5 most challenging AP classes to pass. The 5th one is AP US history, with a passing rate of only 58.7%. It is a 3-hours 15 minutes exam with 3 sections consisting of 55 MCQs and 5 questions. Here you need to write the short answer for 3 questions and long answers for 2 questions.
United States history covers political, economic, social, and cultural events from 1491-present. For example, the rivalry of the USSR and the United States and the American revolution. AP US history is a much more difficult history exam than any other history exam. For example, AP World History and AP European History are easy compared to US history. Although it covers fewer years of history and even the geographical area is small. But, the curriculum is much more detailed than the other history classes. Here you need to know specific peoples, movements, dates, and laws of American history. Not like world history, where you could rely on observations and general trends.
For example, it's enough to know when a specific incident in the world happened in world history. Like the United States abolished slavery during the civil war. In the AP US exam, you need to know the exact date when an event took place. Like a specific year of emancipation proclamation and content of amendments.
Thus, if interested in taking AP US history, you should keep in mind that it is an in-depth study class. If you are the one who has a knack for history, then it may be easier for you. Otherwise, it's a complicated exam.
4. Government and Politics - United States:
With a 57.5% passing rate, Government & politics - US is the 4th most challenging AP class. It's a 3 hours exam with 55 MCQs and 4 free-response.
Here, students study the structure and function of the USA's Government and Politics. They know the US political system's foundation and analyze the United states constitution. The things studied are political culture, political, and the working of political parties. The exam checks your knowledge of the course. In the exam, you need to explain, describe, and compare concepts in US Politics. You also give a real-life scenario where you need to apply the supreme court's decision.
The exam is challenging if you consider the structure of the questions. But if a student prepares it, he may pass. The problem may come if he/she tries to underestimate this class.
Here are the top 3 hardest AP classes starting with AP Chemistry. It's 3 hours & 15 minutes exam with 60 MCQs, 4 questions where you need to write short answers, and 3 essay questions.
In this class, you will learn chemistry's fundamental concepts. It includes the intermolecular force and reaction, the state and structure of matter. You need to do lab investigations and use chemical calculations for problem-solving. For chemistry, you need an excellent conceptual understanding of chemical processes. These processes are very complicated. Also, there are a lot of things to memorize and heavy material to study. And for this, you will have tests and a lot of homework too.
The exam will be on scientific concepts in the course. You need to justify a scientific claim and describe the chemical experiments. I recommended you to take this course only if you know chemistry already. If not, then it's easy to pass this exam.
2. Environmental Science:
The second hardest AP class is environmental science, with a passing rate of 53.4%. This class is often known for students underestimating the course. It's 2 hours and 40 minutes exam with 80 MCQs and 3 free-response questions.
It provides methodologies, concepts, scientific principles. These are necessary to investigate interrelationships within nature, analyze environmental problems. To get the knowledge of risk from the environmental issue and how to resolve it. This class considers being one of the easiest. Thus, it is also the class that students underestimate the most. Hence, the passing rate is the second-lowest of them all.
1. Physics 1:
AP Physics 1 is the hardest AP class with the least passing rate of 51.6. It means almost half of the students fail this exam. It's 3 hours exam consist of 50 MCQs and 5 free-response questions.
Physics 1 is an algebra-based physics class based on foundational principles of physics. It covers energy and power, Newtonian mechanics, introductory, simple circuits, mechanical waves, etc. As it is algebra-based, the exam will check your ability to solve the problem by using algebra. The passing rate for this class is the least. The reason behind this is the tricky application of algebra in it.
We recommend that you complete the course like algebra 2 for preparation before.