Advanced Placement Or International Baccalaureate

High school students – mostly juniors and seniors – annually take AP (Advance Placement Tests) or IB (International Baccalaureate tests), but which is better?

            Jay Mathews from The Washington Post argues in an article that the IB tests are slightly better because they force students to write more. Therefore, students must think deeper and provide more-detailed answers. He believes that this is the type of thinking that students will be exposed to in college.

             The AP exams are mostly multiple choice questions that students traditionally find easier and less thought-provoking. However, there is minimal guessing for the IB. Also, the IB has a 4,000 word essay that the AP exam does not have.

            Both tests and programs are great for high school students. They are engineered to accurately depict college courses. The tests are about 3-5 hours long and are widespread in most high schools. However, the AP exams are much more common than the IB tests. Also, it is easier for high school students to earn college credit through the AP exams because most college administrators are more familiar with AP exams. Students still must pass the test to receive credit.

            However, Mathews argues that the IB is beginning to receive more recognition. He states that college administrators are now paying more attention to the IB, and more colleges are offering credit for it.

            Most high schools offer one test or the other, and the test is typically the AP. Not many high schools offer both exams, but Mathews insinuated that high schools might begin to catch on to the IB and offer both.

            The AP/IB debate remains a mild debate and neither side is strongly pushing for one test over the other. If anything, high schools are pushing for grants to offer both programs and let students decide which program to pursue.

            Both programs, however, are strongly correlated to students’ success in college. Studies show that students who enroll in AP/IB programs are more likely to graduate from college within four years. Studies also indicate higher college grades and more success after college.

            Students should consider enrolling in these programs because both allow students to take college level classes. Students can then have an accurate idea of how much more demanding and rigorous college is compared to high school.