Is AP Stats Hard?

This kind of questions frequently pop up, especially when students are considering to whether or not take some advanced placement courses.

Academic applications are becoming increasingly competitive, and students are looking for options to go beyond and above the 4.0 GPA taking AP classes.

But then AP courses and AP Stats specifically can vary substantially. It can happen that some AP Stats class is particularly difficult, because one instructor may decide to make it more challenging so to "prepare students for what is coming in college".

But those instructors wanting to "show the way to college" with their particularly challenging AP Stats class are an exception, statistically speaking (pun intended), and majority of times you will face a fairly standard difficulty level when taking your AP stats course.

is AP Stats hard

What is covered in AP Stats?

AP Stats will cover some basic Stats topics that can be useful for a future Stats course in college, for a large percentage of the cases. This is what you will learn in AP Statistics

• Data exploration and descriptive statistics: Use measures like the mean and standard deviation to describe the center and dispersion of the distribution, and use graphics to assess the general behavior of the distribution

• Sampling: Different sampling methods are covered. The whole philosophy of sampling as per why de it is covered in relative depth

• Basic Probability Theory: Basic probability properties of continuous and discrete distributions are discussion, including Binomial and Normal distributions

• Inferential Statistics: The basics of hypothesis testing are covered, including sampling distribution, Central Limit Theorem and basic z and t tests

Advanced Placement

Is AP Stats harder than AP Calc?

Here I should say no, and I should make the emphasis on that all AP classes are meant to be at the same level of difficulty. But I am here to tell you as I have seen it, and not to sugar coat it.

From what I have seen, AP Stats and AP Calc go about more or less the same difficulty, at least from the point of view of students.

BUT, I have seen some AP Calc classes that are quite difficult for the context of high school students. I have seen AP Calc classes in which not every student should enroll without a second thought (not even good ones), and but most AP Statistics class are usually found easy by good students.

Perhaps, AP stats may be among the easiest AP classes.

Is AP Statistics useful?

ABSOLUTELY. The topics cover in AP stats are essentially the same that are covered in STATS 101 in college. So if you did well in AP stats, it is likely you will do well in college. One caveat: Stats 101 in college may a bit deeper, so there are no guarantees here.

Ultimately, taking AP stats is a good opportunity to get a 5.0 to increase your GPA to strengthen your college application, even if you don't plan to take Stats in college. If you ask me what AP class should I take to improve my GPA, I would say Stats.

So, if you are wondering whether AP Statistics is good for college or not, I will say YES. Either you use to improve your GPA or to get a taste of what Stats 101 will be like, or both, you should take it.

And if you have passed AP stats, I would advice to take Stats 101 in college, even if you don't need to take it. Why? Because you would have done most of the leg work with the AP stats class.


  1. I could not say that AP stats is the easiest AP class, but it is not the hardest for sure
  2. AP Calc could be potentially harder from my point of view
  3. AP Stats can be a great way to increase your GPA, even if you don't plan to take Stats in college
  4. AP can be a great way of preparing for Stats 101 in college, because you will have done most of the leg work.
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