What Are The Most Popular AP Tests? The AP Test Pass Rates

The following list is comprised from College Board data, showing the most popular AP exams based on the number of students taking each test. The top 3 AP Exams are English Language, United State History, and English Literature.

AP Course/Exam # of Students Taking (2018)
English Language (study guides) 580,043
United States History (study guides) 501,530
English Literature (study guides) 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
Spanish Language 180,435
Physics 1 170,653
Environmental Science 166,433
Chemistry 161,852
Macroeconomics 146,673
Calculus BC 139,376
European History 101,740
Microeconomics 90,032
Computer Science Principles 72,187
Computer Science A 65,133
Physics C Mechanics 57,399
Studio Art 2-D Design 36,249
Seminar 30,964
Spanish Literature 27,451
Physics 2 25,741
Physics C E&M 25,074
Art History 24,964
Government & Politics (Comparative) 24,675
French Language 22,867
Studio Art Drawing 20,853
Music Theory 19,018
Chinese Language 13,825
Research 9,640
Latin 6,409
Studio Art 3-D Design 5,777
German Language 5,053
Italian Language 2,926
Japanese Language 2,459
Total Number of AP Exams Taken 5,090,324
Total Number of Students Taking AP Exams 2,808,909

Source: The College Board

What are the passing rates for each AP exam?

The pass rates and 4+ Score rates for each AP exam varies greatly. In fact we find that many of the AP exams that are based on language tend to have a higher pass rate.  Chinese Language and Culture, Studio Art: Drawing, and Spanish Language and Culture have the highest pass rate. While, Physics 1 has the lowest pass rate with about 40% of students passing.

AP Test Passing Rates 2018

Exam Name Passing Rate (3+) 5 Rate
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%

Source: The College Board