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Should my child take AP or IB courses?

Whether to take all or some AP courses, be an IB diploma student, be an IB certificate student, or take a mixture of AP and IB courses needs to be a matter of student preference, interest, and learning style. Some students who have taken both AP and IB classes feel that AP courses are geared more to learning the facts and IB courses are more geared to analyzing the facts. Students and teachers have said that IB classes cover more material, but that AP classes tend to go more in depth. Students have also said that IB classes can require more reading and writing than do AP courses.

The IB diploma program is comprehensive, but fairly inflexible. The AP program and IB certificate program are more flexible, allowing a student to take AP or IB courses in the subjects which interest them.

It is possible to take an IB course in a particular subject area and take (and do well on) the AP exam in the same subject area (IB teachers will help students decide if they should take the AP exam for a particular subject). However, students who have not taken an IB course may not take an IB exam. Review books for AP exams are commercially available; there are no commercially available IB exam review books.

Plus, colleges generally recognize AP and IB courses as being on a par, although they are generally more familiar with the AP curriculum. The extent to which colleges will give credit or placement varies among colleges, but generally if they accept AP scores (usually a score of at least 3), then they also accept IB scores (usually a score of at least 5). For example, if a college will give credit for a score of 4 on an AP exam, it will also give credit for a score of a 6 on an IB exam. Some colleges give credit for certain scores on AP or IB exams; others will allow students to place out of lower level classes, but will not give credit