My AP Tier List (with explanation)

This list is pretty much an overall ranking. I took into account usability in college, difficulty of the exam, how easy it is to self-study, etc. I tried to avoid any teacher biases but they are inevitable with the experience of your class. If you’re using this, please don’t be one of those people who just takes the most amount of APs possible just because.

If you want a difficulty tier list, the ones on the Internet are pretty accurate toward my opinion.

AP tier list (what I've taken):
S: Environmental Science
A: CS Principles, CS A
B: World History, English Language, U.S. Government
C: U.S. History, Psychology
D: English Literature

Environmental Science
I took this one test my junior year at the spur of the moment since I didn’t take the class nor planned on self-studying. I didn’t pay for any tests junior year so I had nothing to lose, and I knew that the exam was easy. Freshman biology was honestly enough prep for this class. I passed and took a major requirement out for a lab/physical science in college.

Honestly, the only prep you need is just to binge watch Jordan Smedes, use some common sense during the test, drill some important facts in your head, and write the rest down in your calculator’s notes.

CS Principles
I took this class my freshman year. If you’re new to programming, this class is perfect for you. It will go over the basics and is more of a concept-heavy class than it is technical. For those who are a bit more adept at programming, you may want to challenge yourself in creating more difficult projects than assigned.

For the AP exam, don’t try to do more than what is asked of you. You’ll get a higher score on the exam just following things by the book and having good writeups rather than the technical difficulty of your project.

I took this one over quarantine my sophomore year; sadly, my school doesn’t offer this one anymore. This class is more technical than CS P, but nothing the normal person can’t handle as long as they pay attention. I can’t accurately gauge the difficulty of the exam, considering that I was decently adept at programming by the time I took the test, and the fact that it was online made the course and having instant access to Stack Overflow a lot easier.

Java is a good high-level language starter, as I find it to be capable of many things, but at the same time, shares qualities of lower-level programming languages.

World History
I took this one over quarantine my sophomore year; my class was more reliant on filling out AP classroom videos and just watched videos to learn the curriculum. THis curriculum has the most content, considering the fact that it covers from the 1600s-present. However, the material is more presented at a top down view.

To prep, I used Heimler’s History to prepare for this exam. You’ll also want to look at the FRQ with images and try to analyze the historical context for practice.

Out of all the humanities classes I’d taken, this one was definitely the toughest. This class has curriculum overlap with AP Euro, so if you want to self-study for the class, go for it.

English Language
Like Environmental Science, I took this without any prep and took the class on independent study. While I do recommend you practice the pacing of timed writes to get an overall feel for the exam, the multiple choice section is very similar to the SAT, and the best way to prepare is just to write for fun and read quality material.

U.S. Government
This is one of those classes where I really can’t distinguish the line between teacher and class. I took this my senior year for a semester (with the other half being Econ), and people in my school usually took this class, whether they had an interest in the subject or not, for the teacher.

I personally found the topics of this class to be fairly easy, with not that much content to go over, and the fact that Boys State exposed me to so much of this knowledge.

U.S. History
I took this test with barely to no prep my junior year on independent study. A lot of the things are just general knowledge and remembering 8th grade U.S. History (s/o Santiago). The best thing to do is to know the rubric of the FRQs well, and binge watch Heimler’s History as with every other AP history class.

I didn’t take the exam for this test, but I did take the class on independent study junior year. This is pretty easy to self study as it’s all rote, but I already had the college credit for this class so there wasn’t really a point in taking it. Make sure to be familiar with the different studies and what approaches affiliate itself with it.

English Literature
This class was pretty useless to me. While I thoroughly enjoy reading literature and analyzing it past its surface level meaning, this class was pretty useless to me. The amount of added courseload is too time consuming for its little reward (for the UCs, you can’t get addtional credit if you passed AP English Language). I’d wanted to drop this class at the beginning of the year, but my high school’s 4 year graduation requirement and risk of GPA dip forced me to stay in it.

The AP exam requires you to have knowledge of various literary works. From poetry to long novels, you should be exposed to all types of works throughout all time periods. Make sure to practice the timed write and read the literature that your teacher gives you.