AP and IB: What’s the Difference

By Emma Berkel

At Leander the students have a variety of courses to choose from, a number of which fall under either Advanced Placement (AP) standard or International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.

Both AP and IB courses are recognized as advanced and allow a student to earn college credit as well as potentially stand out to college admissions boards. Given two wonderful windows of opportunity, for many it becomes a question of which will better suit their needs.

There are more than thirty AP courses and all are developed by leading professors. By taking these courses a student can gain recognition from more than 3,600 colleges nationwide and, having already been through a college level course, obtain more flexibility for their college years. In addition, AP gives students the chance to develop good study habits and improve their writing skills and problem-solving techniques.

Exams for an AP course are taken at the end of the year and are used to determine how much college credit a student has earned.

The IB curriculum includes the study of six subjects, all of which are at a college level and are recognized as such internationally. The IB diploma is acknowledged by many of the world’s leading universities and is derived from schooling based on the best from many different countries. IB promotes a high quality education, international-mindedness, and a positive attitude toward learning in general.

At the end of the two year program there are final examinations that will be accessed both internally and internationally to get a good measure of an individual student’s performance.

Valerie Reyna, the teacher of a combined class of IB Chemistry II and AP Chemistry students, states that while the two programs are quite a bit different, one being centered nationally and the other internationally, they’re both good, rigorous, and definitely prepare students for college.

“AP Chemistry is closer to freshman year in college… IB is good for that international aspect,” said Reyna.

Aside from the difference of national study and that of international, the main distinction between AP and IB is how much is required and, in truth, a student’s decision to partake in either should be based on how much work they are willing to do. While a student can take one or two AP courses along with a few regular high school courses, IB requires that a student take all six IB subjects.

In that sense, IB is more of a challenge. Jordan McConkey, sophomore, who expects to participate in the program professes, “I want to challenge myself… see how much I can push myself.”

However, students that would rather dedicate most of their time to the one subject they intend to pursue in the future may want to look into AP as it allows for such specialization. In the words of AP student Elizabeth Hinderer, “I know it will better help me get to college.”