IB vs. AP: Which is Better?


The International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement are two high school curriculums that are both recognized as ideal choices for high school students around the world in regards to academic preparation for college. However, there is an ongoing debate on which of the two curriculums is more beneficial for students’ development.

Some say AP is more beneficial because its students don’t have to waste valuable time for  the Theory of Knowledge class or  the extended essay. Others say that the two-year syllabus for each IB course allows for students to be become specialists in the areas they want to pursue after high school. The AP International Diploma differs from the IB in that it provides students with thirty-four different courses rather than six. All AP courses are a year long, and therefore the students who take AP have no problems moving to different schools, whereas in IB all the courses are two years long, thus making it incredibly difficult to transfer schools midway through the program. Also, AP courses don’t require the students to be in 11th or 12th grade; anyone who is suggested to take AP courses by their high school counselor is eligible to take AP courses. Although AP does not have the option of Higher Level or Standard Level it is thought to be generally more useful for students who plan on going to United States for university.

Some students at UNIS who have experience with the AP believe that the IB courses gives its students a larger workload that the AP. However when it all comes down to the admissions process, neither curriculum is looked at as being better or worse. JJ, a student at UNIS who has experience both AP and IB says, “Well, the expectations and the course guidelines are pretty much the same it’s just that I like the American system (AP) better because teachers have a little more freedom and can teach extra things sometimes. Also, they make our tests (until the end of the year AP exam) so the tests are always on what we actually have studied. And since it’s only a year, the AP exam at the end of the year is much easier to pass since you only need to remember for that year and not two, but on the other hand the grading is a lot more strict.”

An increasingly popular choice among 11th and 12th grade students around the world has been to undergo Dual enrollment, where students take on both AP and IB courses. This is an option that UNIS could possibly look into as it allows for students to plan accordingly depending on where they plan to study after high school. This would also allow for students to be able to choose a curriculum that is more appropriate for their learning style. In the meantime, the junior and senior classes of UNIS will continue to push their way through the rigors of IB.