Differences Between AP and IB: Phil Wang – Grade 9

AP exams by subject

To go to a great college, you have to start working hard from when you’re in grade 9. Most people go to honors at grade 9 and 10. At grade 11, some people will go to classes called AP or IB. You might think that AP and IB are the same as the honor classes, but there is a huge difference between the two.

AP, or Advanced Placement, is one of the honor-like classes you can take when you’re in grade 11. It’s basically classes that are as hard as college. Students who want to go to American colleges choose AP more because American colleges accept AP more than IB. There are about 40 AP classes you can choose in school. To go to the top 20 colleges in America, you need to take about 8 to 12 AP classes to increase the chance that the school will take you.

Your AP class score is simply the score you get on the end of year test. Colleges give more GPA to students who get higher AP test scores. Most people take AP classes because of the AP exam, which is a test you can take each year and can earn college credit if you do a great job. This not only saves you time, but also saves your money. However, not all colleges will accept AP credits it depends on the school you’re going to attend.


International Baccalaureate logo. Graphic by IB.

On the other side, IB, or International Baccalaureate, is a kind of class focusing on making students quality thinking people. It’s a class full of writing and debating, and students have to be really smart and react quickly so they will not be kicked out. People who want to go to Europe or want to work on language and marketing mostly choose this because it’s more acceptable and requires lots of writing.

There are 6 different kinds of IB courses. They are: “Studies in language and literature”, “Language acquisition”, “Individuals and societies”, “Science”, “Mathematics”, and “Art”. Each class has 2 different levels, standard level and high level. To graduate, three classes must be in high level. The final score of each class is 1 point to 7 points. Again, to graduate you need at least 24 points in total. Some colleges require more than 24 points for admission. For example, students who want to go to Oxford or Cambridge, need an IB score of 36 points.

It’s important to know how both systems work so you can find the one that better suits you. Teachers in AP basically teach students like college students are taught. They sometimes will let students go to a nearby college and learn with the students there. This helps students adapt to college life better for the future. Teachers in IB work in another way. They give more writing tasks so students think more. Debating is also an important part of the class; it trains students’ speaking and arguing skills.

Another difference is that the AP program is more flexible; you can choose which classes you want to take and which class you don’t, but you can’t do that in IB classes. Although the IB schedule is more rigid, lots of writing in class trains students’ thinking in a very logical way. They will be writing really powerful essays after taking these classes.

The most important difference is that you can take AP exams even if you’re taking IB class. But you can’t take IB tests if you take AP classes. This gives a huge advantage to the IB classes because every school has different aspects of AP and IB, which gives students a higher chance of getting into colleges they want when they have both AP and IB scores.

Both AP and IB have their positives and negatives. Different people are suited to different classes. These systems help with your future and your life during school. AP and IB are both really good classes, so don’t worry about which class you choose, the one you like will always be the best for you.

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