Kate Sundquist 4 min read Academics, Choosing Classes

A Complete List of All AP Classes

For many students, the introduction to AP classes can seem a little bit overwhelming. At some high schools, there are dozens to choose from. At other high schools, there many be none or only a select few. Students might wonder what other options exist if they choose to self study.

 

For any student interested in AP classes, it’s important to know what’s out there. In this post, we’re going to provide our complete list of all AP classes (and exams) along with our data on which tests are the most popular and which have the highest pass rates.

 

Complete List of AP Classes

 

Let’s get started with the complete list. Here, we include all AP classes, regardless of whether or not they culminate in an AP exam.

 

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

 

*Classes that have some element of performance task weighed as at least part of the assessment

 

It might seem impossible to choose an AP track with so many possible options. If you aren’t sure which classes to take, consider your possible career track or interests and try to take classes that are well suited to them. In addition, if you’re interested in classes that aren’t typically offered as part of the traditional high school curriculum, like psychology or economics, by all means consider taking one of those classes.

 

The bottom line is that your AP choices should show some versatility across subject areas but also some specialization in areas of interest.

 

So, Which AP Exams Are Most Popular?

 

For a little bit more of the bigger picture, take a look at this data from the 2018 test administrations. Here you’ll be able to see the top ten most popular AP exams, and how many students took each is nationwide.

 

AP Course/Exam # of Exam Participants (2018)
English Language and Composition 580,043
United States History 501,530
English Literature and Composition 404,014
Government & Politics (United States) 326,392
Psychology 311,759
Calculus AB 308,538
World History 303,243
Biology 259,663
Statistics 222,501
Human Geography 216,783

Data taken from CollegeBoard

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Other tests with more than 100,000 participants include:

 

  • Spanish Language
  • Physics 1
  • Environmental Science
  • Chemistry
  • Macroeconomics
  • Calculus BC
  • European History

 

These popular classes are more likely to be offered at your high school and if they are, there is probably an enthusiastic group of students for you to  study with as exam time nears. Popular exams go a long way towards simplifying study groups and resources.

 

The tests with the fewest participants are:

 

  • Latin
  • Studio Art 3-D Design
  • German Language
  • Italian Language
  • Japanese Language

 

Taking a test with low popularity can also be a great choice. By doing so, you set yourself apart and highlight some of your unique interests and strengths.

 

Which AP Exams Have the Highest Pass Rates?

 

Some of our students are very eager to figure out which AP tests have the highest pass rates, but we provide this data only accompanied by a disclaimer. High pass rates are not the equivalent of easy tests.

 

For example, if you take a look at our data below, you’ll see that the AP test with the highest  overall pass rate is Chinese Language and Culture. While some might assume that this must be the easiest AP test available, that’s not the truth. Instead, it means that the students who take this test go in exceptionally well prepared. Some may even be native speakers. It’s always important to look at data within its greater context.

 

Exam Name Passing Rate (Scores of 3+) Top Scores of 5
Chinese Language and Culture 91.3% 66.1%
Studio Art: Drawing 89.5% 22.4%
Spanish Language and Culture 88.3% 23.7%
Studio Art: 2-D Design 84.6% 17.9%
Spanish Language and Culture (Standard) 82.9% 16.5%
Seminar 82.8% 8.4%
Calculus BC 79.8% 40.4%
Japanese Language and Culture 77.8% 48.0%
French Language and Culture 77.2% 16.7%
Physics C: Mechanics 77.2% 30.2%
Research 75.2% 11.4%
French Language and Culture (Standard) 74.1% 11.0%
Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism 73.4% 37.4%
Computer Science Principles 71.2% 14.0%
German Language and Culture 71.0% 22.4%
Spanish Literature 70.3% 9.7%
Studio Art: 3-D Design 69.0% 11.4%
Chinese Language and Culture (Standard) 68.6% 20.4%
Italian Language and Culture 68.6% 18.5%
Computer Science A 67.8% 24.7%
Microeconomics 67.9% 20.9%
Latin 66.4% 14.4%
Music Theory 65.8% 22.6%
Psychology 65.6% 21.2%
Art History 64.6% 12.7%
Italian Language and Culture (Standard) 64.2% 8.1%
German Language and Culture (Standard) 63.5% 9.3%
Gov. and Politics – Comparative 63.3% 21.1%
Physics 2 63.1% 13.1%
Biology 61.5% 7.2%
Statistics 60.7% 14.6%
Japanese Language and Culture (Standard) 60.6% 21.5%
Calculus AB 57.6% 19.4%
European History 57.7% 11.9%
Macroeconomics 58.5% 19.7%
English Language and Composition 57.2% 10.6%
World History 56.2% 8.9%
Chemistry 55.9% 13.4%
Human Geography 54.4% 13.0%
Gov. and Politics – United States 53.0% 13.3%
United States History 51.8% 10.7%
Environmental Science 47.7% 8.8%
English Literature and Composition 47.3% 5.6%
Physics 1 40.6% 5.7%

Data taken from CollegeBoard

 

Interestingly enough, it’s worth noticing that some of the exams previously listed as most popular among AP test takers are also some of the exams with the lower pass rates. This is likely due to an abundance of self-study test takers who go into the test without the knowledge gained from actually taking it, and sometimes without having even really studied.

 

If you’re thinking about taking AP exams this spring, whether for a class you’re enrolled in or as a self-study student, don’t make any choices set in stone before you’ve considered the benefits of the CollegeVine Near Peer Mentorship Program, which provides access to practical advice on topics from college admissions to career aspirations, all from successful college students.

 

To learn more about AP exams and classes, check out our complete library of AP guides and helpful tips.

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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.