How is an International Baccalaureate Diploma Different from Advanced Placement Classes?

AP ClassesHigh-achieving high school students looking to make their college application dazzle should know how the international baccalaureate diploma is different from advanced placement classes to choose the right fit. AP courses are very popular in the United States for recognizing excellent performance of high school scholars in exchange for college credits. One-year AP classes follow curriculum guidelines created by the College Board. On the other hand, the IB diploma is a two-year program for juniors and seniors that’s built on a curriculum created by the Internal Baccalaureate Organization. Only around 830 high schools offer the IB diploma in America, but it’s increasing in popularity to support students at the top of their class. The following is an overall guide showing how IB diplomas and AP courses differ in their approach to higher learning.

Similarities Between IB and AP Courses

Both IB and AP classes offer rigorous training at the college level for exceptional high school students seeking an edge in their studies. Students enrolling in an IB diploma program or AP course will be required to pass a comprehensive culminating examination. AP students will take a final exam in their subject and be graded on a five-point scale based on their mastery. IB students are required to write a 4,000-word research essay, complete 150 hours of service, and pass an exam graded on a seven-point scale. Depending on their score, students may be eligible to earn college credits for their AP and IB courses. Both can help scholars impress admissions committees and save money on their future degree.

Major Differences Separating AP from IB Classes

While AP and IB programs have a shared goal, their curriculum is vastly different. Students taking advanced placement courses will focus intensively in a singular subject. AP classes look deeply into one issue from multiple perspectives, which is great preparation for a college major. On the flip side, international baccalaureate diplomas take a more holistic, inquiry-based approach to challenging high school students. Students in an IB diploma program will take a standard set of rigorous courses that delve into several topics and explore how they impact other parts of the world. IB diplomas are more intensive school-wide programs, whereas AP courses are more flexible and focused in a certain academic subject.

IB and AP: Which is Best for High Schoolers?

Although some argue that AP is best in U.S. schools, one program isn’t necessarily better than the other in helping students reach their educational goals, according to The New York Times. It all depends on students’ strengths and learning styles. For instance, if you’re a notorious note-taker and lecture lover, AP classes may be best because IB programs are usually focused on engaging group projects. Students who thrive in a demanding environment may be suited for an IB diploma, but those with serious extra-curricular commitments may find it too time-consuming. It’s important to note that IB programs are also more expensive than AP classes. One size doesn’t fit all, so students must weigh the pros and cons of each program.

Overall, AP courses and IB programs are scattered across the United States to give academically talented high school students a jumpstart on their college freshman year. If you’re considering an AP or IB course, do your homework first to determine whether it aligns with your future goals and fits into your schedule comfortably. Now that you know how the international baccalaureate diploma is different from advanced placement courses, you can make a well-informed decision for your enrollment.

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