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What's the difference between AP and IB?

I don't know if I want to do IB. My school has both AP and IB, so I could just do AP, but I don't know the difference.

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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi, Eli!

This is a great question. Both offerings are beneficial in their own way and depend on what experience you're looking for when making the choice. They are unique, however, in their philosophies and goals.

AP offers individual accelerated coursework that prepare you for coursework beyond high school.
In contrast, the IB is a concerted program offering coursework and additional opportunities to learning (e.g. TOK, EE, and CAS).

AP is focused on mastering content in the chosen area.
IB, on the other hand, offers an integrated approach as they relate to the 13 characteristics of an IB Learner Profile.

What kind of challenge are you looking for in your high school experience? What do you want from the experience? What kind of commitment are you able to make?
Colleges and universities, in the admissions process, consider the rigor of your coursework. Both programs are held in high regard and may earn you college credit depending on your exam scores. Depending on your priorities, the school websites will indicate which courses and scores will offer credit at that institution. If this is a top priority for you, do a little research.

If you have access to the resources, I would recommend a conversation with the coordinators of each of the programs. Go in prepared with your questions related to your list of priorities and goals. With the information they will be able to provide, weigh your option against the schools to which you think that you'll apply. [If you haven't already made a potential college list and/or your top priorities and goals for the college experience, this would be a good time. You'll be able to make a better, more educated decision, if you're able to articulate what you want and are able to compare the offerings to what that is.]

Gaining credits, in my opinion, isn't a wholly solid reason to pick one program over the other. Nor do I think that which program the admissions offices will consider "better" is a deal breaker in making the decision. Taking the time to examine the benefits and challenges of the programs as they relate to what you want, who you are and how you learn, and what you look to do in your future make far more sense to me in this endeavor. Given the amount of time and effort going into either of these programs, I'd want to see you reap the full benefits; education is so much more than checking off the boxes as quickly as possible.

I encourage you to take the time to really focus on what's important to you. It may seem like a ton of work on the front end, but I believe that you'll be very glad you did your homework on this when you are able to enjoy the program that works best for you!

Please don't hesitate to ask follow up questions. I'll continue to follow you and answer any additional questions or concerns you may have.

Wishing you all the best!

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Aun’s Answer

Hey! There are tons of youtube videos online, but the IB is generally internationally recognized, and can really be used for admission anywhere. If you're looking to attend a school in the states (or even Canada), I'd recommend doing AP. That way you can decide on the number of AP courses you can handle, as well as showing top colleges that you can manage time effectively. Good luck!