Advanced Placement (AP) examinations are rigorous academic exams in the United States conducted by the College Board every May of the year. Students can earn college credit or advanced placement before starting college by taking AP exams. It enables them to graduate early, save tuition, pursue a double major, shift to upper-level courses earlier, complete an internship, and get time to travel abroad.

Taking AP classes and courses helps students set themselves apart in the college admission processes by demonstrating their most meticulous curriculum to admission officers. Most universities worldwide look positively at students who take AP courses and sit for AP exams. It is mainly because the performance in the Advanced Placement program shows a student’s commitment and ability to succeed at university-level studies.

Depending on AP exam scores, more than 90% of universities across the United States offer credit, advanced placement, or both. In addition, leading universities in Canada and the UK also recognize AP exams for admission, credit, or placement.

But do you ever think what subjects are most popular for AP exams? Don’t worry. We have brought you this article that will let you explore the most and least popular AP exams.

Here’s the complete list of AP Exams:

● English Language and Composition
● English Literature and Composition
● United States History
● Calculus AB
● Calculus BC
● Government and Politics – United States
● Psychology
● World History: Modern
● Biology
● Statistics
● Chemistry
● Japanese Language and Culture
● Italian Language and Culture
● Art and Design (formerly Studio Art): 2-D Design
● Art and Design (formerly Studio Art): 3-D Design
● Art and Design (formerly Studio Art): Drawing
● Latin
● German Language and Culture
● Chinese Language and Culture
● Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
● French Language and Culture
● Spanish Language and Culture
● Spanish Literature and Culture
● Research
● Seminar
● Art History
● Computer Science A
● Computer Science Principles
● Environmental Science
● European History
● Government and Politics (Comparative)
● Human Geography
● Macroeconomics
● Microeconomics
● Music Theory
● Physics 1: Algebra-Based
● Physics 2: Algebra-Based
● Physics C: Mechanics

Choosing and studying these courses based on your first interest could be a rewarding experience. If you want to explore subjects not usually part of your high school curricula, AP classes are a great way to understand them. AP classes like psychology, computer science, and economics can provide you with a fascinating experience of college courses, even when you are still in high school.

To become a competitive candidate, you should always choose major subjects that showcase your strengths. It would help if you also considered you have some prior preparation before you enroll in an AP course or test. In most cases, you cannot sign up for an AP class if you do not have prior experience in that subject. So, you must choose the AP courses offered in high school because many schools don’t have each AP subject as a class.

Now, let’s see the AP exams based on their popularity:

AP Exams Total Number of Students Taking (2021)
English Language and Composition 476,735
United States History 399,676
English Literature and Composition 297,009
World History 264,254
Psychology 262,700
Government and Politics – United States 260,941
Calculus AB 249,762
Biology 212,198
Human Geography 193,660
Statistics 183,181
Environmental Science 149,106
Spanish Language and Culture 148,040
Physics 1 136,238
Chemistry 134,316
Calculus BC 124,335
Macroeconomics 112,644
Computer Science Principles 102,610
European History 74,202
Microeconomics 73,461
Computer Science A 63,980
Physics C: Mechanics 48,171
Seminar 46,840
Art and Design: 2-D Design 34,481
Research 24,049
Spanish Literature 21,787
Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism 19,944
Art and Design: Drawing 18,907
Art History 18,552
Physics 2 18,449
French Language and Culture 18,312
Government and Politics – Comparative 17,750
Music Theory 16,169
Chinese Language and Culture 13,328
Latin 4,892
Art and Design: 3-D Design 4,568
German Language and Culture 4,275
Japanese Language and Culture 2,208
Italian Language and Culture 2,098

*Source: The College Board

How Are Students Given AP Scores?

AP Exams are measured on a 1-5 scale. A team of AP teachers and college professors who are experts in specific subject areas provide scores for AP exams. The College Board recognizes a 3 to be a passing score. Most colleges grant credits at scores of 3 or higher.

AP Exams With Highest Scores – 2021

Exams 5 out of 5
Chinese Language and Culture 57%
Japanese Language and Culture 47%
Calculus BC 38%
Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism 33%
Computer Science A 25%
Physics C: Mechanics 23%
Italian Language and Culture 21%
Music Theory 20%
Microeconomics 20%
Macroeconomics 18%
Calculus AB 18%
Spanish Language and Culture 17%
Government and Politics – Comparative 17%
Statistics 16%
Physics 2 15%
Psychology 15%
Human Geography 15%
Art and Design: Drawing 14%
Research 14%
European History 14%
French Language and Culture 13%
Computer Science Principles 13%
Seminar 11%
Art History 11%
Chemistry 11%
Government and Politics – United States 11%
United States History 11%
Art and Design: 2-D Design 10%
Latin 10%
World History 10%
Spanish Literature 8%
English Language and Composition 8%
Art and Design: 3-D Design 7%
Biology 7%
Physics 1 7%
Environmental Science 6%
English Literature and Composition 5%

The Wrap Up

To improve your scores in AP exams, you should take AP classes. You can take the classes depending on which classes your school offers. You can even choose as many AP courses as you want. There is no specific number that applies to students when opting for AP courses. However, one of the best ways to choose the courses and classes is to consider your goal for taking AP classes. Let’s say, for example, you are taking AP classes for college credits. So, it is better to load up your schedule during senior year. Finally, taking AP classes in your high school can help you earn college credit with your diploma. It will also lead to savings intuition as an undergraduate.