AP bio vs Ap chemistry: which one is the best?

In this post, we’re going to discover the main difference between AP biology and AP Chemistry exam.

 Also give you some tips about which one will be good for you to to take as a result gives you the maximum benefits.

Students are taking AP biology more than AP chemistry

Students tend to take AP biology exams more than chemistry and the numbers prove that according to albert.io 230,527, students have enrolled in the ap biology exam in the previous year while 134,316 in chemistry. So 50% more enrollment for biology AP courses than chemistry ones.

Students prefer to join AP biology classes because they tend to be easier than chemistry classes.  but it is not a general rule because the numbers of success indicate some contradictions that’s where I went to discover in the next paragraph.

Ap biology is harder than AP chemistry

We’re going to list the results exam comparison between the biology and chemistry AP exams.

Ap Exam Score 54321
AP Biology7.4%19.4%32.4%30.0%10.8%
AP Chemistry11.2%16.4%23.7%24.7%23.9%
resources: https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/about-ap-scores/score-distributions

If we analyze and compare these exam results we find that AP biology students are more successful by 6% than AP Chemistry ones.  the principal reason is that the number of successful students scoring higher between 3 and 5 is bigger for AP biology.

Even if we find the top rankings in AP Chemistry are higher than in AP biology but when we took it in general we find students succeed even more in biology than in chemistry.

In general, what makes AP biology easier than AP Chemistry is math intensity,  if you aren’t good in math, especially in algebra, AP Chemistry might be hard for you.  In addition, in AP Chemistry you should be good also at physics foundations. As a result, being able to study thermodynamics, as the most challenging physic in a chemistry course.

 but if you don’t like a lot to memorize a lot, AP biology classes can be hell for you,  you would be studying a lot of subjects that are required a lot of memorization like Cell structures and their functions, and analyzing a lot of graphs and documents.

But the difficult questions are related to and dependable the orientation of each student and the hard work he put into the preparation phase. But we’re going to list both the Ap courses curriculum in detail on biology and Chemistry.  Then listing the difference. 

Biology ap curriculum

1 – chemistry of life

2 – Cell structure and function

3 – Cellular energetics

4 – Cell communication and cell cycle

5 – Heredity

6 – Gene expression and regulation

7 – Natural selection

8 – Ecology

Chemistry ap curriculum

1 – Atomic structure and properties

2 – Molecular and ionic compound structure and properties

3 – Intermolecular forces and properties

4 – Chemical reactions

5 – Kinetics

6 – Thermodynamics

7 – Equilibrium

8 – acides and bases

9 – Applications of thermodynamics

Things you have to be aware of AP chemistry and biology

The second reason is that makes you choose between AP Chemistry or biology is depending on the major you want to choose for your career. it would be obvious to choose AP biology if you want to Major in biology or prepare for pre-med schools.

 On the other side taking AP Chemistry will be useful if you want to join engineering classes especially if you want to become a nuclear or chemical engineer.  So in general it depends on your visions,  or let’s say who you want to become.

 The other thing that you have to consider is the school are University you’re going to choose,  you have to check the University you will apply to if she accepts AP  credits for biology and chemistry. But there are some schools that don’t.

 In addition, some universities demand to have higher scores on AP exams like 4 or 5 for AP Chemistry.  so you have to be aware of that and investigate to know more details to prevent falling into the trap of losing money and time.

Final thoughts: the best one you should choose

So you have to know who you are, are you good at memorization and analysis,  or do you like to use math and physics knowledge a lot to solve your problems.

If you are in the first class then AP biology courses would be a good choice.

But if you’re in the second class then AP Chemistry would be a good fit in this case.

you could read this related article: Is AP statistics harder than calculus? (proved)


Yassin ajanif is a physics graduate and electromechanical engineer width more than 5 years in the field. My goal and my team are to share our experience to help you succeed in your career as a stem major. we talk about all tips, problems, and struggle STEM students face in their career and how to overcome them.