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The Eagle

IB vs. AP

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So, the time is coming for the current grade 10s to begin to think about the upcoming years. As we all know, we have the choice between IB and AP for our final two years. The big dilemma is which one to choose, how do we know what suits us best? It’s commonly thought that IB is harder and for UK applicants and then AP the easy option and is for everywhere else, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Having chosen the IB I can’t say I regret it. I was pretty set on taking IB from the start of high school. My sister took it, so it was something familiar, I felt like it was less of a risk. Also, I had always liked the idea of not having my final grade entirely depend on the exam. Lastly, a lot of the teachers I had heard good things about, taught all the classes I was keen on taking. I couldn’t think of a reason not to take it.

Being over a year in I now see some things differently.

  1. You really shouldn’t pick anything based on the teacher you’re going to get, because honestly if you don’t like the subject it’s a lot harder to score well.
  2. The fact that your exams are worth 80% rather than 100% definitely doesn’t outweigh the stress that coursework puts on you. Admittedly, the fact it counts is obviously an incentive to do well, but considering all the extra work you need to do, don’t deem it a positive to IB.
  3. For those of you that are leaning towards IB because you don’t test well, take another look at #2, but also, take into account that IB has a minimum of 15 exams whilst with AP you can pick and choose what best suits you.

Obviously, I don’t have a lot of first-hand knowledge on AP, but taking a look at my friends’ school life over the past year I can tell you that:

  1. You have a lot more power to choose for yourself what you want to do. You can make it as easy or as hard as you like. The only classes you need to take is a math and an English, but if these aren’t your strong suits you can also take them at a high school level!
  2. AP is great for people with a good work ethic. If you have the discipline to do a lot of self-studying & textbook reading throughout the year, this is the way to go. If you aren’t motivated to do your best on things that don’t count towards your final grade (like me), this isn’t the best option.
  3. Since APs are a one year course, you can do as many as you like in the first year & actually know your final grade for those courses. This can actually be quite reassuring as you’ll know your capabilities before you choose your year 2 APs & apply to universities.

All and all, both courses are vastly different and therefore work for different kinds of people. But most importantly, it’s just good to know that you shouldn’t choose one or the other based on where you want to apply, as most countries recognizeboth.

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