AP vs IB – in this alphabet soup of options, it’s hard to know which choice to make. They will both earn you a foot in the door of a university in any part of the globe. They can both qualify you for college credit (depending on your score!). Luckily for Shanghai American School students, both programs are offered on our campuses, giving them plenty of possibilities for their future.
Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) and the Advanced Placement Program (AP).
Now that you have a general idea of the differences between the two, let’s take a closer look.
What is AP?
AP offers one-year college-level courses and exams in high school, with the final assessment taking place in May. High school students can select in an “a la carte” manner from a menu of classes appropriate for that grade, taking one or many, over three years (Grades 10-12). The scores are determined only by the final standardized assessment, with the exception of AP Seminar.
AP follows a fast-paced curriculum over the course of one year. One of the aims of AP is to create a student who specializes in their fields of interest. So if a student is considering pursuing sciences at university, they could choose more AP courses in high school related to that area. With there being limited time for each AP course, the focus is on knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
What is IBDP?
IBDP is a two-year program in Grades 11 and 12 with internal assessments as well as external exams in May. Generally, students take one class in each of the six different areas, in addition to fulfilling three other core requirements in research, knowledge and personal growth. Subjects are offered on two different difficulty levels – standard level and higher level.
The focus of IB extends beyond academics and challenges students to develop their personal growth with a global mindset and strong character. Subjects are not taught in isolation; IB is an interdisciplinary approach by connecting learning across the curriculum. It develops students into reflective, deep thinkers by challenging them to grow their conceptual thinking. IB is more focused on developing skills than covering breadth of content, and the course provides ample time to delve deep into analysis.
Regardless of the path students wish to take in high school, SAS offers plenty to choose from that will set them up for success.