Is AP Microeconomics easy or hard? We reveal the AP Micro difficulty rating, based on a unique combination of 2021 pass rate data, and 2,627 class reviews from real AP alumnae collected by r/APStudents.

Is AP Microeconomics Easy Or Hard?

AP Microeconomics is considered quite easy, with class alumnae rating it 4.3/10 for overall difficulty (the 21st-most-difficult out of the 28 large AP classes surveyed).

The pass rate is about average vs other AP classes, with 60% graduating with a 3 or higher.

AP Microeconomics is a relatively small class (73,461 entries last year), and 100% would recommend the class.

Is AP Microeconomics Easy or Hard – Difficulty Rating

AP Micro alumnae reviewers found the class enjoyable, easy and had a large focus on memorization and graphs.

You can see how AP Microeconomics compares to other classes for difficulty in the below chart:

AP Microeconomics difficulty

We’ve highlighted AP Micro and related economics classes (Macroeconomics) only – to see the full version of this chart, check out our article ranking ALL the AP classes from easy to hard.

You can read more about AP Macroeconomics here.

How Difficult Is AP Micro – As Rated By Class Alumnae

AP Microeconomics is considered quite easy, with class alumnae rating it 4.3/10 for overall difficulty, making it the 21st-most-difficult out of the 28 large AP classes surveyed.

how hard is AP Micro

What Is the AP Microeconomics Pass Rate 2021?

The AP Micro 2021 pass rate was about average vs other AP classes, at 60%.

However, significantly fewer candidates than average achieved a 3 (16%), whereas notably higher than average received a 1 (23%). The percentage of students attaining a 4 or 5 was slightly higher than the all-AP average.

AP Micro pass rate

AP Micro Pass Rate / Score Distribution Over Time: 2021, 2020, 2019…

The AP Microeconomics score distribution did not vary significantly between 2017 and 2020 (av.68%). There was a notable drop in the 2021 pass rate by 9%.

Is AP Microeconomics Time Consuming To Study: As Rated By AP Micro Alumnae

AP Micro is rated as quite low study time required relative to other AP classes.

A survey of AP alumnae asked for a rating out of 10 for time needed to study each class, with 1 = least time needed, 10 = most time. The average rating for AP Microeconomics was 4/10 (vs the average across all AP classes of 5.3/10).

Is AP Micro Easy or Hard To Self-Study

AP Microeconomics is rated as very easy to self-study relative to other AP classes.

A survey of AP alumnae asked for a rating out of 10 for how easy each class is to self study, with 1 = easiest to self study, 10 = hardest to self study. The average rating for AP Microeconomics was 3.6/10 (vs the average across all AP classes of 5.7/10).

How Hard Is AP Microeconomics: 24 Real AP Micro Alumnae Share Their Experiences

If you’re looking forward to taking AP Micro, it’s important to take both the positive and negative feedback in context. There are multiple factors that could contribute to a great or poor experience of the class, such as a particularly weak teacher and your personal preferences as a learner.

A remarkable 100% of AP Microeconomics alumnae would recommend the class.

AP Micro alumnae reviews focus on course enjoyment and difficulty, the practicalities of self-studying, and the importance of memorization and graphs for exam success.

1.      Many students found AP Micro easy and enjoyable

“This is a great course, have fun with it!” – AP Microeconomics Score: 4

“This class was ridiculously easy for me. It’s mostly just memorization and knowing how to use graphs.” – AP Microeconomics Score: 5

“I took this class on Florida Virtual School within only a month over the summer. The class was super easy and the concepts were pleasant and smooth to learn. Students usually have the biggest issue with Unit 3 (cost curves) and get really frustrated about then (according to my teacher). But do not give up! Its so much easier after that! Use ACDC Econ– it will be you saving grace.” – AP Microeconomics Score: 4

2.      Students disagree about whether the concepts in AP Micro are intuitive or not

“Some found the concepts to be hard to grasp. I thought it was intuitive and, therefore, easy.” – AP Microeconomics Score: 5

“Once you understand a concept, it will be very easy to remember and apply. There are some concepts that will seem counter intuitive at first though. Lots of the basic principles are very easy.” – AP Microeconomics Score: 5

“Honestly it took me so long to grasp because I couldn’t understand why everything is the way that it is. You just have to accept it and memorize the graphs. there’s not a lot of rhyme or reason to it.” – AP Microeconomics Score: 4

3.      AP Micro is a great course to self study

“I self-studied this class since I realized I needed credit for this in college. It really did not take a ton of time and Mr. Clifford (ACDCecon) made his videos super easy to follow and straight forward. I did it in 2 months or so on a very light schedule and basically just filled out the packet and did 2 or 3 practice tests! Was a pretty chill and fun time :)” – AP Microeconomics Score: 5

What Does It Take To Succeed: How To Study For The AP Micro Exam

What is AP Microeconomics? Course Outline & Requirements

According to College Board:

The AP Microeconomics course introduces students to “the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision-makers, both consumers and producers, within the economic system.”

There are no prerequisites for AP Micro, and students should be able to read college-level textbooks.

The course is often taken in tandem with AP Macroeconomics.

Each course “corresponds to one semester of a typical introductory college course in economics”. Whereas AP Micro focuses on individual decision-makers, AP Macro “focuses on the principles that apply to an economic system as a whole”.

You will develop skills in:

  • Developing economic models and principles
  • Explaining and determining economic outcomes from specific situations
  • Visualizing economic situations using graphs and visual representations

The exam consists of one 2 hour 10 minute exam, with 66.65% (70 minutes) given to 60 multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and 33.35% (60 minutes) given to three free-response questions.

For more details, see: College Board’s AP Microeconomics course page.

Examiners’ Reviews: Takeaways From AP [SUBJECT] Test Assessors

College Board released the following official comments about the 2021 exam results:

  • “AP Microeconomics students’ strongest unit was Unit 3, Production, Cost, and the Perfect Competition Model. 20% of students answered virtually every question about this unit correctly.”
  • “AP Microeconomics students’ most imperfect unit was, fittingly, Unit 4, Imperfect Competition. 22% of students answered 75% of questions about this unit incorrectly.”
  • “Of the four “big ideas” of AP Microeconomics, students earned far and away the best scores on questions about Costs, Benefits, and Marginal Analysis. 24% of students earned a perfect score on questions about this big idea.”
  • “The most challenging was Market Inefficiency and Public Policy, the only one of the 4 big ideas for which the average was less than 50% correct answers.”

For best results, you may therefore want to consider investing a little extra study time in the “Imperfect Competition” unit, and “Market Inefficiency and Public Policy” big idea.

For more details, see: College Board’s AP Microeconomics 2021 exam results page.

How To (Self) Study AP Micro: Advice From Class Alumnae

Memorizing the graphs and practicing past tests are a great help – especially for FRQs

“I would just say use common sense as much as you can, learn opportunity cost well (cause it’s the basis of pretty much all of micro) and memorize the few graphs that are in micro and how to label them’ – AP Microeconomics Score: 3

“DO all the ap frqs from the college board website. I did 10 years of frqs of form As and Bs until the point that I started to feel like the questions are the same. They are pretty much the same” – AP Microeconomics Score: 5

There are some great (online) resources available

“Use Professor Clifford to get a solid understanding (if you only watch his videos, you’ll get a 3 or 4). Then, just go over the barrons, or whatever textbook you have, for that stretch for a 5.” – AP Microeconomics Score: 5

“The College Board YouTube viewers are a lifesaver. Barron’s alone does not contain enough material for you to feel completely comfortable with the exam. Sitting down and watching almost all of the AP Micro videos with Mr. Pedlow taught me so much more things that Barron’s failed to cover.” – AP Microeconomics Score: 5

“ACDC Econ is a lifesaver for this class. I had a really good teacher but he explained stuff better and faster than my teacher ever could. Even if you have a bad teacher you could still do well if you watch his videos.” – AP Microeconomics Score: 5

Best books and test prep resources for AP Microeconomics

The most popular textbook for test prep and review for AP Micro is Barron’s, used by 39% of students. It has an average rating of 4.7/5.0 from reviewers on Amazon.com.

Bear in mind that several of the test prep textbooks for Micro encompass both Microeconomics and its sister class Macroeconomics.

Best AP Microeconomics Textbooks for Prep & Review

Other popular AP Micro test prep / review books and resources for include:

Where next?

Find out how AP Microeconomics compares to other classes: click here for an overview of all AP Classes ranked by difficulty, from easiest to hardest.

Or check out how other economics courses are rated with our analysis of Is AP Macroeconomics Hard or Easy?

Wishing you every success in the class!


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