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A quick comparison between advanced placement and international baccalaureate

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Many of us parents and even students who are on the lookout themselves for continuing education are already familiar with both to an extent, but more and more families are understanding the benefits of the IB programme and wondering if it is better than AP altogether. Before finalizing your decision, check out an overview of both and see how they differ.

AP Summary

AP or Advanced Placement Program offers a three-year sequence of course work in different subjects. Students in Grades 10 to 12 can enroll to this course, which culminates in rigorous examinations held in May of the graduating year.

Each college or university has its own admissions requirements. A good score in AP constitutes better chances of successful enrolment as admissions staff normally recognizes the standard in that subject area. Many universities will accept scores of 3 or above as equivalent of their first-year or introductory courses in the same subject area. Check out university websites for details.

A student can earn the Advanced Placement International Diploma by earning a grade of 3 or higher in five different subjects. One of these will be chosen from the AP global course offerings: AP Human Geography, AP World History, or AP Government and Politics: Comparative.

Take note, however, that AP is not a replacement for a high school diploma, but only a certificate.

IB Summary

The IB is a renowned comprehensive curriculum created to prepare students for liberal arts education at the tertiary level. It is managed by the International Baccalaureate Organisation with an office in Geneva, Switzerland. The aim is “to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.”

IB Programmes

  • Diploma Programme (IB DP) for juniors and seniors
  • Middle Years Programme for students aged 11 to 16
  • Primary Years Programme (PYP) for students aged 3 to 12

It forms a sequence. However, it can be taken independently based on the needs of individual schools.

The IB Diploma is international both in philosophy and aims. The curriculum involves balance and research. For example, a science student also needs to be familiar with a foreign language, and a humanities student needs to accomplish laboratory procedures. Moreover, all candidates for the IB diploma needs to finish extensive research into one of over sixty subjects. Over 115 universities in different countries accept the IB programme Diploma. Parents are encouraged by this benefit which the IB programs offer their children.

So how do AP and IB compare to each other?

Both the International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) provide excellence. Well-trained educators implement and teach the courses which culminate in specialized examinations. This puts the school’s reputation on the line.

Credibility and universal acceptance in the core of both, which are also the chief factors in a school’s graduates gaining admission to their chosen universities. College admissions officers typically have a good idea of a school’s standards and if the school previously submitted applicants. The school’s track record is established by prior candidates.

Furthermore, the payoff for the student is the entry-level courses exemption. This means a degree requirement can be completed quickly and also fewer credits to pay for.

End Note

In the end, AP courses offer more flexibility when it comes to choosing courses, the ordering, and more. IB Programme has a stricter study course for two solid years, which can lead to better university options. Both programs will prepare a student for college. Lastly, where you plan for your children to study should also be a deciding factor in which program you ultimately choose.


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