International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) – what to choose?


Advantages and disadvantages of popular school programs comparing Kimberly Carter, director of admissions office of one of the best private school Branksome Hall Canada.


In recent years, more and more school students and their parents interested in specialized programs of high school. Many people understand that the high school is not enough for admission to world-class universities. Therefore, many educational institutions around the world offer students to prepare for university earlier. There are two generally recognized training program for university: International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP).


Both programs teach students to think analytically, to be responsible, curious, seek to know more and deeper. But what is the difference?


Summary analysis of the IB and AP programs:




(IB) Listed worldwide.
(AP) Quoted primarily in North America.


Specialization program


(IB) education program. In addition to the core academic disciplines it includes such fields of knowledge as geography, art and culture, preparation for international examinations, design and research activities, etc.
(AP) Specific items of the academic program, selected by student according to further objectives in education.




(IB) The year-round program for pupils from 1 to 11 (12) class. At the end of each year of the program, students take required exams.
(AP) program is designed for 1 year (students learn some subjects in high school). Exam at the end of the program is provided, but not required.


Task level


(IB) equivalent to university.
(AP) equivalent to university.


The presence of university loans


(IB) Yes (loans, since high school).
(AP) Yes.




(IB) academic knowledge and practical skills, especially critical and analytical thinking. An interdisciplinary approach to learning.
(AP) The emphasis on academic knowledge and prepare for exams.


Evaluation of knowledge


(IB) 3 levels: school assessment, assessment of external commissions and special IB scale.
(AP) 2 levels: external evaluation committee, evaluation committee of the university.


Methods of testing knowledge


(IB) 7-point rating scale. Intermediate testing. Flexible exam dates, so you always have time to prepare. Exams are not the decisive criterion for the final assessment. Estimated overall performance and student activity for 2 years. The total score is derived from the study of the estimates, oral responses and intermediate exams.
(AP) 5-point rating scale. The final exam for each course. Testing is carried out in the format of choice answers and a short essay. The final grade corresponds to the estimate of the final exam. The choice of subject examinations is limited.


Accreditation of teachers


(IB) All teachers have IB teacher official certificate and has special training Methodology.
(AP) By teaching recommended the teachers with a degree of Doctor of Science. No official criteria for academic staff selection.




(IB) program is paid in full.
(AP) programs and exams paid separately.


From myself i can add that Branksome Hall – one of the three private schools of Ontario, providing IB program. Among the graduates of the school of today’s students at Harvard, the University of Toronto and other top universities of the world.


And what program you prefer?


IB or AP