What is the Difference Between AP and IB Courses?

Although most students don't know it, there is a big difference between AP and IB courses. Keep reading to learn about the differences between an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program and Advanced Placement (AP) courses.

What is an AP Course?

An Advance Placement (AP) course is a college-level class that is designed for high-school students. The goal is to connect students to college success through allowing them to take college classes while still in high school. Studies show that AP students are generally more successful at college compared with other students. In fact, AP courses are the best way to encourage a high school student to enter college. Students report that AP classes are typically more interesting and beneficial than other classes. These classes increase a students' academic competency while offering challenges and rewards.

How Many AP Courses are There?

There are almost 40 AP courses available to high school students. Some of these cover basic topics, such as math, chemistry, history, English, and physics. For example, a student could take an English composition, European history or basic biology course. However, there are advanced topics available, such as calculus, economics, environmental science and studio art. In fact, their language courses available in Spanish, German, Italian, Chinese and Japanese.

How are AP Courses Scored?

AP exams are scored on a scale of one to five. That is, one means failure and five means extremely well qualified. Most colleges require the student to receive a score of at least three to four. When the high school registers with college, their AP test scores will be used to exempt them from taking applicable prerequisite classes. Finally, approximately 30 percent of college scholarships use AP course scores. All AP courses are created and offered through the College Board.

Who is the College Board?

While technically not a college, this non-profit educational organization collaborates with thousands of schools across America to provide standardized tests, college prep resources, and AP courses. For example, they administer the well-known SAT tests in public schools. Their Advanced Placement Program is a fee-based system that allows high school students to prepare for college, take AP classes and earn credits.

What is an International Baccalaureate (IB) Program?

The International Baccalaureate is a European-based academic program for children and teenagers. There are four basic programs that use 10 different learning profiles. For example, there is the Primary Years Program (PYP) and Middle Years Program (MYP) for children. Learning profiles are divided among categories such as Thinkers, Inquirers, and Communicators. International high school students between the ages of 16 to 18 can take either the Diploma Program (DP) or the Career-related Program (CP). These programs will prepare teenagers for college through learning key subject areas such as math, science and the arts. There are also core career classes and community service projects.

What are the Differences between AP and IB?

There are basic differences between the AP and IB programs. The AP program is American based and is very subject focused. Conversely, the international IB program takes a holistic approach to learning. However, most American high school students participate in the AP program. In fact, over 14,000 public schools collaborate with the AP program, compared with only approximately 800 for the IB program. In the end, both programs have rigorous academic standards and will help the student prepare for college.

To sum up, the AP program is American based and provides courses that high school students can take for college. The IB course is international based and provides an integrated approach to learning. The biggest difference between AP and IB is that AP is more popular and useful for an American high school student.

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