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PredatorPredator Registered User Posts: 1,318 Senior Member
edited January 2014 in Harvard University
Me and a friend are arguing over which is harder/better. IB or AP. His school has IB and AP. Mine only has AP.

Is IB like higher level than AP? Or are they the same stuff taught in different ways?
Post edited by Predator on

Replies to: IB vs. AP

  • candlefunguscandlefungus Registered User Posts: 220 Junior Member
    That's a good question. I always assumed that both are at a level that colleges consider rather challenging.

    Which is harder? They're probably about the same.
  • MovieBuffMovieBuff - Posts: 971 Member
    Disagree. IB is a lot more challenging than AP and internationally recognized as such. Let's remember that all AP represents is some college level courses. The International Baccaulaurate degree has a broader spectrum and depth. Traditionally, American High School education is dismissed as "inferior" when compared to other developed countries and internationally looked at with some disdain when you try to study at a University overseas. The scope of the curriculum is certainly one of the reasons.

    Hate to burst your bubble guys.. this is well known..
  • catacatcatacat Registered User Posts: 143 Junior Member
    My brother was an IB student, and from what I understand it is a lot more challenging that AP. My school only has AP though and I dont believe it will affect me negatively, after all I took "the hardest classes that were offered to me"
  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,472
    I don't think the choice is so clearcut. Certainly, just taking the curriculum with each label is not the same as taking the tests available in each program and getting high scores. IB math is rather a joke.
  • MovieBuffMovieBuff - Posts: 971 Member
    If you want to take the most challenging courses, and your school offers IB, then take the IB. If the school does not offer IB, the point is mute. Take as many AP or Honor courses as you can. The point is not whether one finds the courses "a joke" or not because they are "easy". What counts is the recognition that they have....and IB wins every time.
  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,472
    Why not do dual enrollment in college (as many strong students do in my state) for high school? I have seen federal figures that suggest something like 5 percent of United States students do at least one dual-enrollment course before finishing high school.
  • bruno123bruno123 Registered User Posts: 1,390 Senior Member
    [MovieBuff] It is not just a matter of scope of the curriculum, but also of length of studies. In most European countries (e.g. England, France, and Germany), students graduate from the equivalent to High School one year later than in the US, i.e. after finishing the 13th grade. As a result, European kids normally enter university with a level that would be comparable to that of someone in the US who has already finished his/her freshman year in college.
  • tokenadulttokenadult Registered User Posts: 17,472
    Predator wrote:
    Is IB like higher level than AP? Or are they the same stuff taught in different ways?

    That's a very good specific question, and I hope it gets some specific answers. Since my post earlier today (in which I intentionally was provocative, to stir up discussion), I tried to find a public Web site posting of the IB math syllabus, something corresponding to the easily found AP calculus syllabus



    or the AP statistics syllabus (which is excellent, by the way)


    So far I haven't seen anything quite that detailed and easily accessible on the IB Web site, but maybe I'm just missing a link.

    I also looked at math placement in college courses for students who have previous scores on AP or IB tests. A high scorer on AP calculus BC will usually be placed in a HIGHER course than a high scorer on the hardest IB math test.

    But the main point is still the most important: the brand name labels don't tell you much. My local high school is implementing an IB program, but it is doing it with the same teachers it has had in the building for years. I have no reason to believe that applying the label "IB" to a course suddenly makes it a good course. Similarly, the College Board has announced plans to do an audit of AP courses, to make sure that they genuinely follow the published AP syllabuses. (Some schools claim to offer "AP" courses in subjects for which there is no College Board AP syllabus or test, which is simply a fraud on parents and students.) The more impressive credential is actually scoring well on the tests, and the AP tests have one HUGE advantage in that they can be taken by distance learning or self-study, unlike the IB program, which is strictly tied to high school attendance. For many advanced learners, the best path is to self-study or distance learn a few AP subjects, and then go to dual enrollment college for high school credit by the age at which other learners are just beginning the IB program.
  • m_cm_c Registered User Posts: 517 Member
    I've done both. In terms of classwork and exam, IB is much more demanding than the AP.
  • candlefunguscandlefungus Registered User Posts: 220 Junior Member

    I live on the East Coast, and I had honestly never even heard of IB before cc.com.

    A lot of my West Coast friends take IB classes, though. Is it more of a West Coast thing?
  • m_cm_c Registered User Posts: 517 Member
    No. It's a European thing. It was begun in Switzerland, I believe, for the sake of third-culture kids who moved around a lot. It has only just started to spread to the West Coast+Florida+some states in the Midwest, but many international schools have been offering the IB programme for decades.
  • viva_sweet_loveviva_sweet_love Registered User Posts: 433 Member
    It depends on how many APs you are taking. A lot of IB SL classes are easier than AP courses to balance out the CAS hours and other things such as internal assessments. In my opinion, taking 5/6 APs and a full IB courseload are comparable. However, you can only take 3 IB Higher Level Courses. Just something to keep in mind.
    Also, AP is MUCH more useful for credit in college and makes your senior year a whole lot easier.
  • viva_sweet_loveviva_sweet_love Registered User Posts: 433 Member
    Also, my school offers both AP and IB and I decided to take 6 APs so that I woul d have more freedom of choice in my classes. I figured that since I was able to go all the way for AP I should. IB can also work for people who are good but not great in every area so that they can take Standard Level courses in their weaker areas. AP- you have to be strong in everything. So I would argue that full AP is harder than IB.
  • PredatorPredator Registered User Posts: 1,318 Senior Member
    viva_sweet_love, I agree with you. IB seems to be more concentrated, while AP is more wide ranged.
  • m_cm_c Registered User Posts: 517 Member
    lot of IB SL classes are easier than AP courses to balance out the CAS hours and other things such as internal assessments.

    internal assessments are required for all IB classes, whether SL or HL. not sure what you're driving at.

    have you taken any IB SL courses? they're definitely comparable to AP courses, no question.
This discussion has been closed.