Top 5 Advanced Placement Courses to Take for College Success

10/11/20239 minute read
Top 5 Advanced Placement Courses to Take for College Success

As high school students prepare for college, they often seek out AP courses to challenge themselves intellectually. Why AP courses? Advanced Placement (AP) courses and strong AP test scores can offer a significant edge for students applying to universities in the US, particularly for those aiming for the Ivy League or similarly competitive institutions. However, with over 30 AP courses to choose from, deciding which ones to take can be daunting.

In this blog post we look at the top 5 advancement placement courses to take for college success. We’ll give insight into why these are the most popular and highlight why they are an excellent option for students aspiring to get into top universities.

A Look at the Most Popular AP Courses

1. AP World History

AP World History is a course taken up by many students. Why? Well, what could be more fascinating than World History? Studying AP World History provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the world's history, cultures, and societies. This course also offers many transferable skills, such as critical thinking, writing and research, as students learn how to analyze historical sources, evaluate evidence, and construct historical arguments.

AP World History is highly valued by colleges and universities, as it demonstrates a student's ability to engage with complex and diverse historical concepts. The course covers key historical periods and events, including the rise and fall of empires, the spread of religions, and the development of political, economic, and social systems across the world. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of the world and develop important skills for future success, AP World History is an excellent choice.

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2. AP English Literature

Studying AP English Literature isn’t just about reading great books. This AP course is a popular program offered by CGA where students study and analyze various literary genres, including poetry, drama, and prose fiction. Taking AP English Literature offers students several benefits. Firstly, it helps them develop their analytical and critical thinking abilities, which are crucial for success in university and in a variety of career fields. Secondly, it boosts their appreciation and knowledge of literature, helping them to study and critique texts from multiple perspectives. Finally, students can earn college credit by scoring high on the AP exam, thereby demonstrating their readiness for university-level work.

The popularity of AP English Literature and Composition can be attributed to its relevance and applicability in a variety of academic disciplines. Moreover, students find the course both engaging and challenging, as it enables them to explore diverse literary genres and analyze them in-depth.

3. AP Psychology

One of the most trending (in terms of popularity) AP courses has to be AP Psychology. A study done in 2022 by Exam Study Expert found that over 290 thousand students took this course, and almost 100% of students would recommend taking this class. Extraordinary! Right?

AP Psychology explores the intricacies of the human mind and behavior. This online AP course covers a wide range of topics such as sensation, perception, learning, memory, cognition, and personality. Students who take this course gain a deep understanding of human behavior, as well as an appreciation for the scientific research methods used to study it. Additionally, students will develop critical thinking and analytical skills that will prepare them for success in university and beyond. Unlike other social science AP courses, many students choose to take AP Psychology due its relatively easy nature that can also be applied to a variety of fields, including medicine, law, business, and education.

4. AP Calculus AB

Are you excited about math and want to take your abilities to the next level? Look no further than AP Calculus AB. This advanced level math course will challenge you to think critically and solve complex problems using fundamental calculus principles like limits, derivatives, integrals, and their real-world applications.

Not only will this course prepare you for university-level calculus, but it's also a prerequisite for many popular college majors like engineering, physics, and economics. By taking AP Calculus AB, you'll develop important skills like analytical thinking, problem-solving, and logical reasoning that will benefit you in multiple facets of your career. And the best part? While AP Calculus AB is a slightly challenging course, it's also very doable. In fact, 20% of students scored a 5 on their AP exam in 2022! So, if you're up for the challenge AP Calculus AB could be the perfect choice for you.

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5. AP Spanish Language and Culture

Did you know Spanish is the official language of 20 countries? AP Spanish Language and Culture is an awesome course that helps you become fluent in Spanish. You'll learn to speak Spanish confidently and gain an appreciation for the diverse cultures of Spanish-speaking countries. Not only is this course lots of fun, it covers exciting topics such as cultural practices, historical events, and social issues, which are relevant to Spanish-speaking communities.

By taking AP Spanish Language and Culture, you'll gain advanced language skills that are useful for a range of academic, professional, and personal pursuits. Plus, colleges and universities highly value AP Spanish Language and Culture, making it a great choice to help you stand out in the admissions process.

Whilst there isn't a clear classification of Advanced Placement (AP) courses according to their level of difficulty, this can be done by looking at the proportion of students who scored a 5 on their AP exams. This is widely used by universities to assist them in giving college credits to the highest performing students.  Using this metric, we can see how these top 5 popular courses ranked on the AP exams in 2022, from easiest to most difficult.

How the top AP courses rank from easiest to hardest
AP Class% of students with a 5 on the exam
AP Spanish Language and Culture23.6%
AP Calculus AB 20.4%
AP Psychology 17.0%
AP English Literature 16.9%
AP World History13.2%

For a complete breakdown of the score distribution refer to Collegeboard’s AP Score Distribution for the 2022 Exams.

Why are students in the US looking to take AP courses online?

Online AP courses provide students with a flexible and accessible way to take challenging college-level courses and increase chances of getting into top universities. As a leading online high school, Crimson Global Academy offers a diverse array of online AP courses to students across the US. Want more valuable insight?

Get in touch with one of our Academic Advisors to find out which online AP courses could best suit your academic and professional goals.