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Exactly How Hard Are AP Tests and Classes?

Jan 18, 2023

How does getting into AP classes help you enroll in your desired college? Taking AP classes can give you college credit and make your transcript more impressive. But are AP tests and courses hard?

The answer to the question is not as simple as yes or no. Numerous aspects must be considered, such as your academic strengths, college, and average national test scores. We’ll walk you through these several considerations so you can determine how hard AP classes are for you.


AP Test vs. the AP Class

When determining how challenging an AP subject is, you must take two things into account: 

  • The complexity of the AP test and,
  • The way the AP course is given at your high school.

How well you perform on the exam determines your college credit score. Additionally, your class score will impact your GPA and total transcript strength.


For instance, “Is AP Biology hard?” depends on several variables. Based on the instructor and syllabus, AP Biology could be a very challenging course at one high school but, at the very same time, an accessible A at another.

However, the exams are generally consistent from year to year. Some AP courses are more challenging, although your perspective will depend on your particular abilities.


So, answering the question, are AP tests and classes hard? Generally, all AP classes and tests are very challenging. They are designed to be at the same level as an introductory college class. Let’s check a few elements that could make an AP test and class harder or more straightforward.

Are AP Exams Hard to Pass? 

A passing grade on the AP exam (3+) demonstrates that you can learn the content and prepare for a cumulative exam similar to those in colleges. In addition, passing the AP exam can earn college credit and strengthen your college application.


Therefore, before enrolling in any of the courses, it’s critical to understand whether or not our AP exams are hard to pass. With an average passing rate of about 65%, your chances of getting an AP exam are relatively positive. But just because the percentages are on your side doesn’t mean you should relax; In reality, it’s the opposite. 

The chances of passing with a 5—the maximum score—are slim on any exam; they typically range between 10% and 20%. For well-known exams like AP English Literature and AP Environmental Science, the percentage of five rates is even lower than 10%. It is probably because less-prepared students take the exam when there is a larger pool of test-takers.


You should know that many AP programs favor dedicated or experienced students, especially those with high pass rates like Spanish, Chinese, and Calculus BC. Unfortunately, despite having excellent pass rates, these classes are sometimes considered the most challenging AP classes to pass.

Take note of the tests many students claim to be the simplest yet have among the lowest passing percentages, including Human Geography and Environmental Science. These tests have lower passing percentages since they are frequently taken by junior high school students who are not as prepared for AP exams. Additionally, many students undervalue them and don’t study sufficiently. Because of this, passing these tests may be simpler, but you still need to put in some effort and be willing to study.


Make sure to practice many multiple-choice and free-response questions if you’re preparing for an exam with a pass or five rates, the highest possible mark. Additionally, merely relying on the pass rate chart, consider your standard areas of strength; these APs will probably be simpler for you to pass.

On the other hand, even though it might seem like many kids can complete it every year, the AP exam in it will undoubtedly be challenging if there is a topic you’ve always had trouble with.


How Hard are AP Classes?

Are AP classes hard? Is AP Chemistry or AP Psychology challenging? What about English or Statistics? Thus, it’s crucial to consider how hard AP classes will be for you. Scoring a B in any regular course is typically more striking than an A in an AP class. However, if your GPA drops by taking many AP classes, it’s not the best possible score.

Your GPA is considered while applying to colleges and is used to determine your likelihood of receiving scholarships. As a result, you should challenge yourself while avoiding over-committing.

The difficulty level in an AP class will vary depending on your college and its grading system. 

Also, the difficulty of AP classes varies significantly amongst teachers. Some teachers will give you fewer assignments but still expect you to study independently. Others will occupy you with evening homework, mock exams, and projects.

In general, an AP class can be taught either way. But as a student, you ought to be conscious of your advantages and disadvantages. For example, do you learn best on your own, or do you find that having daily assignments makes it easier for you to keep organized? Knowing the answer to this question will enable you to select AP courses that appeal to your strengths, earn high marks, and pass the test.

AP classes are much more complex than regular classes because there is so much information to cover—especially in subjects like AP US and World History, AP Calculus, AP Physics, AP Biology, and English. All of these are substantially more difficult than regular or honors subjects.

There are a few outliers, such as AP US Government, which several schools teach in a semester due to the lesser course load, and AP Environmental Science, which requires less memory than AP Biology and AP Chemistry.

However, your teacher and the school will ultimately determine how challenging each AP class is. Therefore, before enrolling in an AP class, research the teacher and the course material to ensure it’s a suitable fit for you and your learning style.

How to Determine if an AP Class is Hard for you?

It might be complicated to judge whether an AP class will be challenging for you. Here are some pointers to help you both before and after you enroll in an AP course.

Before You Enroll in an AP Class

Consider the Classes you’ve Previously Taken

For instance, before enrolling in AP Biology, most institutions mandate that students take normal or honor biology. The more knowledge you have of a subject, the more probable you will perform well in the associated AP class.

Review the Availability of the Syllabus for the AP Exam

Reviewing the AP exam’s latest syllabus can help you learn more about the workload and how the teacher incorporates practice AP exams into the course. You can also ask the current students about their perspectives on the class.

Discover the AP Test Passing Rate at your school

If the AP test has a low passing rate, you might need to put a lot of effort into your performance and preparation. But if the pass percentage is high, then it suggests that the teacher is using an effective AP-prep curriculum.

See if there is a Summer Assignment.

Most of the AP classes commence in the summer. If you already have summer activities that will make it challenging to finish the work, you should consider you can integrate that class into your calendar.

After You Enroll in an AP Class

Assess the results of your first midterm.

What is your current class grade? How are you seeking the teaching method? How well do you understand the content? If you are having trouble, think about switching to the regular class, but try to stick throughout the initial marking period.

Reassess after the first term

Consider dropping to the standard version of the course if, by the completion of the first quarter or semester, your grade hasn’t progressed or you don’t feel you are grasping the subject. If you know, you won’t pass the AP exam. So there’s no need to attempt it. It’s also not worth ruining your GPA for a test. You won’t die.

Look at Additional Resources Before Dropping

Instead of immediately dropping an AP subject, try looking into other options you have, like in-person tutoring, online resources, private tutoring, and study groups.

How to get into AP Classes?

You take numerous AP classes to help you make your admissions profile and transcripts more competitive. Along with these, before getting into AP classes, consider the following factors:

Remember your Strengths

Students mainly question, How to get AP classes. But before getting into any AP class, you must understand your particular skills and shortcomings. After all, you will probably score better on an AP exam in a subject you are dedicated to.

Check out the AP guidelines of the colleges you want to enroll in.

AP credits can benefit you in completing national curriculum course requirements or placement into higher-level courses in college. Therefore, you must check the AP credit and placement guidelines of the institutions you intend to enroll in.

Check the educator’s experience.

While strengths are essential when choosing AP classes, learners should also assess their teachers’ experience.


Are AP tests and classes hard? Although AP classes can be difficult, you are still capable of succeeding. You can do well in an AP course if you’re academically inclined and motivated to study hard. And remember that students gain from taking AP classes and examinations, regardless of their results.

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How Hard are AP Tests and Classes


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