Simple AP/IB Comparison - How Do I Decide?

Find out in a quick snapshot which path may be the best fit

Esther Baek 승인 2024.05.07 20:11 | 최종 수정 2024.05.27 14:21 의견 0
Credit: Nail IB

When deliberating how to gain college credit during one's high school career, most students and their parents' minds go to the AP Program regulated by College Board. The largest draw to the AP Program has been the fact that students can pick and choose which courses to take, depending on what their school offers. There are technically zero consequences for deciding to not participate in the final AP exam at the end of the school year, allowing students to attempt to gain college credit risk-free.

However, within the past few years, the IB Diploma Program has been gaining significant popularity globally. According to IB’s “Facts and Figures” published in February of 2024, there were “over 8,000 programmes being offered worldwide, across over 5,700 schools in 160 countries.”

Unlike the AP Program, the IB Diploma Program requires students to take a minimum of 6 courses. These courses must be a mixture of High Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL) courses, with most students taking 3 HL and 3 SL courses. For the completion of the IB Diploma, students must also write an Extended Essay, participate in Theory of Knowledge classes, and complete their Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) hours.

Let’s take a look at the basic core differences between taking AP classes and diving into the IB Diploma.

AP Program IB Diploma Program
Assessment Costs $98 x Any number of tests $130 x 6 = $780 mandatory
Focus of Assessments Factual questions and standardized-test style of exams Process-focused and critical awareness style of exams
Assessment Style Multiple-choice heavy with a free response section that is an essay or problem solving A lot of reading and writing, with labs, oral exams, and extended coursework
Score Scale 1-5, highest is 5 (3 or above is considered passing) 1-7, highest is 7 (4 or above is considered passing)
Length of Time 1-2 semesters, or one school year 2 full school years
Course Offerings 38 AP subjects 57 IB courses
Requirements Student does not need to be enrolled in an AP class to take the exam Student must be enrolled in 6 IB classes, including Theory of Knowledge

Most students and teachers believe that IB courses tend to offer more in-depth knowledge than AP courses. This is because AP courses usually cover a wider range of topics in less detail due to the limited timeline.

It's important to note that both programs offer students the opportunity to earn college credit. However, this depends on their scores in each subject's assessments and how the college they're applying to accepts those scores. In regards to final AP assessment scores, some colleges do not accept any scores under a 4 or a 5 for college credit, while some colleges may accept a 3. With the IB Program, some colleges may only accept a fully completed IB Diploma, while others may recognize individual courses that the student has passed.

College admissions counselors don't seem to have a preference between the AP Program and the IB Diploma. The decision on which program to follow typically depends on each student's course choices and what style of education fits their learning style the best.

If the student is more fact-focused and prefers a more direct method of teaching, they would probably be more comfortable learning from the AP curriculum. If the student enjoys a more holistic yet in-depth method of teaching, they would probably enjoy the style of learning that the IB diploma offers.

저작권자 ⓒ 국제학교뉴스, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지