AP Courses Ranked by Difficulty


AP Classes are a significant source of stress for high school students due to their rigorous nature.

Sierra Lynch, Staff Writer

   I’ve taken nine AP classes over the last four years and although they were designed to be college-level courses, some definitely felt more difficult than others. 

   The easiest AP course in my opinion was AP Environmental Science. The content builds on topics that have already been presented to us in earlier science classes, like global warming and pollution. The trickiest part is learning the chemical processes and individual compounds that contribute to these phenomena, but that’s not a large portion of the course. 

   The second easiest AP course that I’ve taken is AP Government. This course requires a lot of memorization, but the concepts are relatively simple. However, it can be difficult to keep the required documents, supreme court cases and legislation straight in your mind. If you’re detail-oriented, this will be a breeze.

   The next easiest are AP English Language and Composition and AP English Literature and Composition. The essays on the exam are extremely formulaic, especially if you know how to work the scoring rubric. The multiple choice can be a little difficult since there are typically two very similar answer choices, but practice will help with finding the best answer.

   This may be an unpopular opinion, but I think AP Biology is the next easiest. It’s a very content-heavy course, requiring you to learn the specifics of many concepts you’re likely already familiar with. Many of the hands-on labs are fun, in my class we baked bread to learn about respiration and ate “miracle berries” to learn about inhibitors. The concepts build on each other, making the later topics easier to understand.

   Next, is AP World History. I typically find history incredibly boring, but it was interesting to learn history beyond the U.S. It was hard for me to understand the timeline and how different countries were experiencing vastly different things at the same time. Remembering specific events and key names was a struggle for me, but it helped to think thematically. 

   AP Statistics was difficult for me because I didn’t apply myself. Apparently, it’s the easiest math AP, but personally, I just don’t care for math. The concepts build on each other, so if you don’t grasp the earlier concepts the later ones will make no sense. On the bright side, a lot of the work can be done on the calculator.

   AP European History was one of the hardest classes for me for similar reasons to AP World. While some of the content is interesting, it’s a lot of conflict over land. Learning the intricacies of the battles and specific generals, philosophers and artists was not my strong suit. It’s also my seventh period, so my attention span and energy dwindle.

   The most difficult AP for me was AP U.S. History. I was totally unprepared to take it when I entered my freshman year, missing important studying and note-taking skills that would’ve helped. If I had AP experience prior to taking APUSH I likely would have had an easier time. It’s a rough introduction to AP, and every AP class felt easier in comparison.