Questions about APs, CLEP exam & other eduactional systems

<p>I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I've looked extensively and this seems the most appropriate place! Okay, first of all I'm an international student, so I have no idea whatsoever on a couple of terms about exams/education systems. I did a lot of research on them, but I still can't get the difference. I'm currently in my junior year and I would like to know which of the following courses are the most beneficial regarding college credit, earning academic scholarships and awards from college and universities, and most importantly standing out in the admissions process, knowing that I might apply to other countries besides the US like Canada for example. Here are the terms:</p>

<p>1) Advanced Placement (AP): I realize that this is a curriculum that is more rigorous than the regular one in the States.</p>

<ul>
<li>First of all, do students in the States take this INSTEAD of regular coursework in the States or BESIDES it?</li>
</ul>

<p>2) IB Diploma Programme</p>

<ul>
<li><p>Again, does this curriculum REPLACE the normal one taken in a certain country or is taken BESIDES it?</p></li>
<li><p>Can I take courses and study for it and gain extra credit even though that I might not be in the IB Diploma Programme?</p></li>
</ul>

<p>3) International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)</p>

<ul>
<li><p>Again, does this curriculum REPLACE the normal one taken in a certain country or is taken BESIDES it?</p></li>
<li><p>Can I take courses and study for it and gain extra credit even though that I might not be in the IGCSE program?</p></li>
</ul>

<p>4) CLEP exam: I know that it is a group of standardized tests that assess college-level knowledge in several subject areas.</p>

<ul>
<li><p>Can I take this exam now? If not, then when can I take it?</p></li>
<li><p>If I can take it, can this bring me extra benefit in the admission process besides college credit?</p></li>
</ul>

<p>5) DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST): What's the difference between this and CLEP exams?</p>

<p>I would like to know which of the educational programs/standardized tests above are the most beneficial and valuable to admission officers and should take now, knowing that I am currently a junior and would like to be the best possible candidate for universities I could be. I'm also not going to apply to the US solely, so I would like a course or degree (don't know what you guys call it!) that is recognized in most countries. I am a hard studier and I realize that almost all of these programs will require self-study, but this is absolutely of no problem to me.</p>

<p>I'm sorry if I sound a bit ignorant, because to be frank, I've only recently learned of the stuff mentioned above. I'd REALLY REALLY appreciate it if someone can explain them for me and recommend what I should do now. Thanks in advance! :)</p>

<p>Oh one more thing: regarding the SAT Subject Tests, why do students take those if they already have studied the same materials in their courses (APs for example), of course besides the fact that some colleges require them. I don't really get this, I mean some students taking AP Biology for example take Biology SAT subject test even if the college doesn't require it.</p>

<p>...bump...</p>

<p>BUMP again... Please, I need someone to help me with these stuff...</p>

<p>I'm not sure about all of those besides the AP one. Ap classes are taken instead of a honors or regular option in schools. It is not a full curriculum but single classes. For example you. Could take ap physics instead of honors. The curriculum for an ap class is standardized around. The world because at the end of the year every single person is given the same test and given a score 1 through 5 with 5 being good. However, there are many study aids, so many people self study for many of the aps like human geography, world history, and euro history and take the tests in the spring so it is possible to get credit without taking the class. Is you get a 4 or 5, you may get college credit, but it depends on which college you are going to. Aps look good on transcripts but they do not exactly make you stand out because many students take ap classes. Good luck!</p>

<p>thanks alot eminemfloop! I get the part of APs now. I also want to draw your attention to the fact that we don't have AP curriculum here, so I guess it'd be a big advantage if I took some APs and self study them. Right? If anyone could elucidate on the rest of the questions, then I'd be very grateful :)</p>

<p>
[quote]
2) IB Diploma Programme</p>

<ul>
<li><p>Again, does this curriculum REPLACE the normal one taken in a certain country or is taken BESIDES it?</p></li>
<li><p>Can I take courses and study for it and gain extra credit even though that I might not be in the IB Diploma Programme?

[/quote]

Your school must offer the IB courses. It's a 11th to 12th grade program. You may choose to do the full diploma programme or subjects singly.</p></li>
</ul>

<p>
[quote]
3) International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE)</p>

<ul>
<li><p>Again, does this curriculum REPLACE the normal one taken in a certain country or is taken BESIDES it?</p></li>
<li><p>Can I take courses and study for it and gain extra credit even though that I might not be in the IGCSE program?

[/quote]

This is a 9th to 10th grade program. You won't gain extra credit in university for it. It is followed by the A-Levels (generally not offered in the US).</p></li>
</ul>

<p>
[quote]
4) CLEP exam: I know that it is a group of standardized tests that assess college-level knowledge in several subject areas.</p>

<ul>
<li><p>Can I take this exam now? If not, then when can I take it?</p></li>
<li><p>If I can take it, can this bring me extra benefit in the admission process besides college credit?

[/quote]

Yes.
No.</p></li>
</ul>

<p>Thanks so much for your reply 082349! Concise yet very clear. I do have two more questions though:</p>

<p>1) What do you advise me to do now? AP or IB or A levels??? What is the best approach for me right now? The tests are all administered in my country, some have courses, and some don't, so which are easier to self study than the others?</p>

<p>2) What about the Subject Tests? Why do some students take one even though that they might already took the test in AP and the colleges don't require the test?</p>

<p>Thanks again for your help!</p>

<p>
[quote]
1) What do you advise me to do now? AP or IB or A levels??? What is the best approach for me right now? The tests are all administered in my country, some have courses, and some don't, so which are easier to self study than the others?

[/quote]

In my opinion, the IB diploma programme is much tougher than the AP and A-Levels. You also have to do community service. I think the difficulty, IMO, is AP<A-Levels<IB</p>

<p>I do the A-Levels. I think you need to be clear about the requirements of the IB. Here's the information from the IBO website:

[quote]
IB Diploma Programme students study six courses at higher level or standard level. Students must choose one subject from each of groups 1 to 5, thus ensuring breadth of experience in languages, social studies, the experimental sciences and mathematics. The sixth subject may be an arts subject chosen from group 6, or the student may choose another subject from groups 1 to 5.</p>

<p>In addition the programme has three core requirements that are included to broaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply their knowledge and understanding.</p>

<p>The extended essay is a requirement for students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the subjects they are studying.</p>

<p>Theory of knowledge is a course designed to encourage each student to reflect on the nature of knowledge by critically examining different ways of knowing (perception, emotion, language and reason) and different kinds of knowledge (scientific, artistic, mathematical and historical).</p>

<p>Creativity, action, service requires that students actively learn from the experience of doing real tasks beyond the classroom. Students can combine all three components or do activities related to each one of them separately.</p>

<p>IB</a> Diploma Programme curriculum

[/quote]
</p>

<p>What country are you in, if I may ask?</p>

<p>
[quote]
2) What about the Subject Tests? Why do some students take one even though that they might already took the test in AP and the colleges don't require the test?

[/quote]

It's a requirement. The AP test is not a substitute for the Subject Test. Why they take it even though ALL the colleges they're applying to don't require the test depends on them.</p>

<p>Ok, well I'm now stuck between A levels and APs. Which one is more universal? Which one should I take? And which one is more appreciated? Thanks again!</p>

<p>I am familiar with the CLEP and DSST exams, so I can at least provide you with some info on those. They are very similar and administered by two different companies -- CollegeBoard (CLEP) and Prometric (DSST).</p>

<p>Both of these programs offer exams that cover college-level material. As long as the college/university you plan to attend accepts these exams, you will either be granted college credit or you will basically "test out" of taking their requirements. There is no benefit whatsoever to taking these exams for impressing the admissions department as they are only useful once you are accepted to a university.</p>

<p>Anyone can take these exams as long as you have the IDs required and can pay the testing fee (currently $77 for CLEP and $80 for DSST). The exams must be taken at an authorized test center. As an international student, you will want to check their websites to see if there are any test centers in your country, let alone close to you.</p>