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Old 05-21-2010, 07:15 AM
 
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Default The IB vs. AP for College Prep

Our child is asking to attend an IB high school rather than staying in Catholic school and taking AP classes. Her view is that IB is more challenging and will give her a better world view, thus preparing her more for college. She loves Catholic School, but feels a bit boxed in.

Is IB really better prep...or just more work?

T
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:21 AM
 
Location: Camberville
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It's excellent prep. My school offered both and while I chose AP, I was able to take a few IB classes and was thrilled by the way the classes were taught. My few IB classes prepared me better for college level work than all of my 5s on AP exams combined.

That said, if she has a special focus area, IB might not be for her. In my case, I love foreign languages. My high school went as high as Spanish 7 (AP Spanish lit) which I knew from entering high school was for me. IB is such a regimental program that I would only be able to go to their highest level, which was Spanish 5, and not take any more foreign language. I also got to take 2 years of French and was able to participate in the marching band- all things I could not have done with IB.

Just make sure she weighs her options carefully.
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:35 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Also, many colleges have issues accepting IB credit. That was in the news here recently due to the number of IB schools in MD. I can't find the article.
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:41 AM
 
Location: Camberville
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
Also, many colleges have issues accepting IB credit. That was in the news here recently due to the number of IB schools in MD. I can't find the article.
The same could be said with AP. I got all 4s or 5s on exams (except for the AP Spanish's because the curve pool includes native speakers) and couldn't get credit for any of them at my school. They would count for electives but not get me out of any classes since they were electives in the fields that my majors and minors are in.
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Old 05-21-2010, 07:53 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charolastra00 View Post
The same could be said with AP. I got all 4s or 5s on exams (except for the AP Spanish's because the curve pool includes native speakers) and couldn't get credit for any of them at my school. They would count for electives but not get me out of any classes since they were electives in the fields that my majors and minors are in.
Yeah, that's pretty standard-no AP credit for courses in your major.
I can't remember the details for IB so I don't want to say what the problems were. AP is more credible for most US colleges.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:14 AM
 
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IB's a ton of work...college will look like a breeze after that if anything.
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:10 AM
 
Location: New York, NY
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My IB classes were much more challenging than my few AP classes, and I also appreciated them because your coursework over the year is 30% of your grade, so even if you're having a bad day on test day, you may still do OK. Because the program is internationally monitored, the standards tend to be quite high. If you ever want to do a degree abroad, having an IB diploma (as in actually passing all the tests, just taking the classes doesn't help much) will help a lot since the program is recognized world wide.

A word of warning- I found that IB calculus did not prepare me for my school's Calc II class as well AP Calc did for others. They cover slightly different material so there were things I already knew how to do in that class, and other things I had no foundation for. However, that could just be unique to my school or even just that class.
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:52 AM
 
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Both of my daughters did the full IB diploma. We are Americans but live overseas (diplomatic corps). We ensured that they were challenged all through their school years in order for them to be prepared for the work involved in the IB. This is especially true of math since there are only 3 levels of IB math, and you must take math as one of the key elements.

Google IB and look at their web site. Excellent information. My daughters graduated from an American International school in Portugal (CAISL) and were well prepared for university. They applied for both American and United Kingdom universities since we weren't sure where we'd be moving next and, long story, but they don't feel very 'American' after having lived in Europe for the past 11 years (The Netherlands, Portugal and we're currently in Ireland). Anyway...

Because we weren't sure what our daughters' scores would be on the IB until July (they took their exams in late May) and for United Kingdom schools you pick a major to study and are told, "You must achieve X number of points on the IB diploma in order to be able to attend this program at our university." We put a deposit (to hold a spot at an American university, in case they didn't achieve the necessary points for attending the UK university) on Lawrence University in Appleton, WI for our oldest daughter and on Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa for our younger daughter. Both schools said that they would give college credit for IB scores, probably working out to half a year to one full college year (it depended upon the score that they achieved and whether it was a standard or high level course).

The older daughter received 38 points in the IB diploma and attended York University in York, England. She studied English Literature (going on to get her Master's degree in English Lit. at Trinity College in Dublin). Our younger daughter chose a very challenging course of study, requiring very high IB points to get in to universities in the UK. She received 41 IB points and was able to attend her first choice UK school. She just completed year 4 of a 5 year veterinarian program at the U. of Edinburgh, in Scotland.

Because of the intense, and excellent, IB diploma my younger daughter, at age 17, was able to start the vet medicine program. If she had followed the normal American route to become a veterinarian she would have first studied at an American college (she was accepted at Grinnell College), completing a 4-year degree in Biology or BioChemistry (Grinnell would have given her about 1 year of credit so she would have had to study only 3 years to complete her degree). Then she would have tried to get in to an American veterinarian college and study for another 4 years, finally graduating with her degree in veterinarian medicine. Instead, because she studied the full IB diploma, and excelled in it, she was able to go directly in to a UK university program. She will be 22 when she receives her degree. She only applied to United Kingdom universities that offered the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) approved degree. That means that her degree will allow her to practice veterinarian medicine in the U.S., Canada or Europe.

Long story short (sorry, just so darn proud) the IB full diploma really prepares a young person to do well in university. They know how to write, a big plus. I'm not familiar with AP (we've been living in Europe a long time) but I have heard that it doesn't have as strong an emphasis on writing. University is all about writing. My daughters have both commented that they feel much better prepared for university work than their classmates, many who did their A-levels. My daughters think that the A-levels have not done as good a job preparing students for university work.

Best of luck with your daughter's decision. The good news is that she's expressing what she wants so is taking responsibility for her studies. Good for her.

Mari
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Old 05-21-2010, 01:13 PM
 
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One last thing that you might want to look at, or have your daughter look at, is the United Kingdom's common application web site, UCAS (University and College Admissions Service). It will give your daughter a good idea of what IB, or AP, courses she should take, if she knows what she wants to study at university. For example, my younger daughter, who knew that she wanted to get in to a veterinarian medicine program, learned that to be considered she had to do High Level Chemistry and Biology, at a minimum, for vet medicine. Great web site to troll through to help with university planning, regardless of whether your daughter does IB or AP.


UCAS - Home

The International Baccalaureate offers high quality programmes of international education to a worldwide community of schools

Best of luck.

Mari
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Old 05-21-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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Thanks for the feedback and replies here. I am going to have her really give this some thought and read more information. What concerns me about IB is that you seem locked in, whereas with AP you have more choices of the courses you take and with which ones you want to move to the AP level.
That being said, after starting off in Montessori school, she misses the world view of things that IB would give her. Hmmmm
We will see what happens!
T
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