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What are the differences between general and AP courses?


If you’ve spent any time cruising around the Khan course library, you’ve probably noticed that we’ve got an AP US History course, and a “general” US history course, or a general Biology course, a High School Biology course, and an AP Biology course. You've probably also wondered why we have these different versions, and what are the differences between them.

First up: Why? The specifics vary a little subject to subject, but the overall reason is the same: we’re trying to help different audiences learn. As a general rule, if you’re taking a course in a specific context (e.g., you’re enrolled in an AP course at school), then that version of the course on Khan is the one for you. But if you’re not taking an AP course in that subject, then the general course (the one without "AP” in the name) is likely the best one to choose.

Next: What are the differences? Typically, our general courses are aimed at the widest possible audience and include pretty much all our content for that subject. Our AP courses, on the other hand, are set up to match the College Board’s AP course frameworks. It’s rare for us to have something in the Khan AP course that isn’t in the general Khan course; it’s much more likely to be the other way round.

The reason for this is the question of scope for AP courses (or other course versions that match a certain curriculum). Some topics aren’t included in the AP course framework, so they’re considered out of scope for AP, and we don’t include them in the Khan AP course. For example, we have videos about indifference curves in the general Microeconomics course, but they’re not included in the AP course framework at the time of the writing of this article, so we’ve left them out of our AP Microeconomics course.

If you’re studying for an AP exam and have limited time, it’s probably not a good use of your mental energy in the short term to wrap your head around a concept that’s not going to come up on the exam. That doesn’t mean that we don’t think you should learn it or think about it—if we have content related to that topic, we’ll still include it in our general course!

If you have questions about a specific subject that’s not covered here, get in touch, and we’ll be happy to help!