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AP vs IB

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A full time IB Diploma student, our school also encourages us to take the AP tests, mostly to bring up the school's testing average.

Any teacher of a class who has their students take the AP test as well constantly says something along the lines of:

IB is trying to find out what you know, while AP wants to discover what you DON'T know.

and basically, they say that the IB tests are easier. I somewhat agree, because of so many open and broad questions that are in the IB exams... Psych for example asks broad essays where you can answer in the area of knowledge that you are strong in. AP tests however have multiple choice questions that insist that you know small details about EVERYTHING, and their essays are much more narrow.

However, most AP students don't take ALL AP classes, and if they do, pick only a few that they truly study for and care about. (granted there ARE exceptions to that rule, but at our school at least, this is the case) Therefore the difficulty of IB is that you MUST balance ALL 6 courses and earn good marks in ALL of them, as well as the constant assessments throughout the year such as IA's. there is no resigning oneself to failing chem, for example, as many of my AP friends do, in order to study more for History or English.

What do you guys think?

Edited by cranberry_isle

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I haven't actually taken any AP classes but i'm almost 100% sure that IB has some more challenging aspects. And there's a lot of books on strategy guides for taking AP exams...would love to see one of those for IB! And overall, the exams may be the same difficulty but like you said we're constantly working on IA's, TOK, EE, Group 4...you name it.

But for broad questions, the example of psychology is not good because a Physics HL test will not have broad questions at all or even Economics

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I think IB is harder as a program because you must be well balanced in EVERYTHING. With AP, you can pick and choose to take whichever courses you're better at. Whereas IB forces you to take languages, social sciences, maths and sciences. Also there's the EE, IAs, group 4, CAS, etc which AP doesn't have.

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IB is trying to find out what you know, while AP wants to discover what you DON'T know.

....which is why I as an IB student wouldn't want to write AP tests on top of everything else. I prefer the positive marking policy, thank you very much.

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But for broad questions, the example of psychology is not good because a Physics HL test will not have broad questions at all or even Economics

That's true for psych. Older exams used to ask questions about specific studies/theorists but too many teachers complained about them which is why they changed the exam questions so that students can answer with what they know - and thank god for that. I'm not sure how it is for other subjects that I didn't take, but tvd7 is right. I'd like to see a psych AP test :)

Ok, I have now seen a psych AP test and IB is definitely harder. The fact that 2/3 of your AP grade for psych is from a MC test is a good indicator that IB is harder since none of the sample AP questions seemed to employ deception. I got 6 wrong on the practice test I just took mostly because some of the stuff I haven't studied. The extended response questions are mostly descriptive whereas IB demands 'in-depth critical analysis' and evaluation of empirical evidence and theories. I think all you have to do is compare the exams and syllabuses for each subject to see which is more difficult :mellow:

Edited by blindpet

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I think they're just different, each harder in its own ways. Like you said, AP is more about taking away your points while IB wants to give you them (I love you IB! ;) )

For exams, the APs are maybe harder in most areas because they are so nit-picky and don't give options so you could relate it to your best area.

For IB the work is spread out all year long, with oral presentations, essays, Group 4, etc. Not to mention CAS and the fact you have to balance scores in all the classes if you're Diploma.

Our school favors IB, but most teachers say it varies from one student to another with what works best.

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ive heard that ib is definitely harder than ap, despite ap requiring you to learn the details while ib wants just the whole picture.

my friend told me that ib is about 'how and why' and ap is just about 'who and what'

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:):):o IB harder than AP??? I've taken 6 AP tests (English Literature, American Government, Statistics, Calculus 1 and 2, and Spanish) and two IB tests (Math SL and Physics SL). Granted I haven't taken that many humanity IB tests, I can assure anyone who has ANY doubts that AP is as cranberry said, harder than IB by far (by the way I loved the point you made about AP being a good program since it helps you focus on subjects you will eventually study rather than force you to learn how to analyze shakespeare so that you can then use that in the future to predict when an asteroid bigger than the earth might intercept the earth's orbit path and possible end life on earth as we know it :P ...and while you're doing that you'll probably look back and say, "Oh, right, that's a juxtaposition in that sentence, I think the asteroid won't really hit us, its ok people!".) Now don't get me wrong, IB isn't a piece of cake either, neither is, but I'm sorry to those who think that IB tests are harder than AP because they're not...by far. Let me give you some proof of this:

AP Calculus ONE versus Math SL:

Straight off the bat I want to say that if you analyze what happens in the IB program is that it's extremely humanities oriented (literature, history, phsycology, etc). For those who really want to end up being engeneers or physicists and such, as far as IB math courses go...you're screwed. I took the Math SL test and the AP Calculus one test and appart from the obvious fact that the AP test is harder, longer, and way more precise and applied, the curriculum itself also covers about twice the amount that Math SL does (and I know you're about to say that Math HL is way harder and so is further math studies, but I'll talk about those later). There's a link with an AP Calculus 1 test at the bottom so you guys can see, but if you look at the topics you'll understand why IB Math is so superficial:

AP Calculus 1 things that Math SL doesnt have:

1. logarithmic differentiation (very simple method for differentiation)

2. implicit differentiation (very simple method for differentiation)

3. u-sub (easiest method of integration and seen somewhat in the Math SL curric. but very vaguely)

4. related rates (usage of calculus in the real world, i.e. The rate at which the radius of a hot air balloon decreases over a period of time)

5. volume and cross sections (given f(x) find the volume that curve makes when rotated around the x-axis or y-axis and then theres the types of volume such that the base of the object is a square, or a circle, or the leg of an iscoceles triangle)

6. area (IB Math studies simple areas in terms of x while AP calculus goes over more advanced areas like area between two curves in respect to y)

7. Second Fundamental Theorem of Calculus (the one that deals with taking the derivative of an integral)

8. Intro to Differential Equations (equations that require the separation of variables, i.e. dy = xy(dx) find the function y of x: its a simple integration and the answer is Ce^(x^2/2))

9. Slope Fields (its a graph with the slopes of a graph at each point; deals with differential equations)

I can keep going but there's just too much left and I'll just bore you but point being that these are just the things IB Math doesn't have, I still haven't named the ones that it doesn't go into deep enough, like derivatives and integration. Now lets see what IB Math offers that AP Calculus does not:

1. mean

2. median

3. mode

4. z-score

5. probability (conditional and the others)

6. uh...binomial theorem?

7. how to factor equations?

8. Matrices

I don't know if anyone noticed, but except for z-score and probability, which are ridiculously easy, EVERYTHING else is kind of redundant from previous math courses...I mean if you're a senior taking AP Calculus and don't know how to find the mean of a set of points, well then you're not going to pass the test either way so it doesn't matter what math class you're taking.

Now who still thinks that IB is harder than AP? Ok lets talk about Math HL...you guys never give up huh?

You got me, Math SL is just for people with low math skills or simply for those who their schools don't offer other math courses. But what about Math HL? I'm not going to go over the curriculums again because it'll be redundant, all I'll say is this: AP Calculus TWO. Just like Math HL, you don't need to take Calculus 1 to take Calculus 2 and it could be said to be the Math HL of the AP math courses. As far as curriculums go, add a couple of topics to the Math SL and about 45 to the AP Calculus. Kid you not, AP Calculus 2 is said to be the most rigurous, most exiting, most challenging, calculus class in all of the math classes offered at highschool level. This class not only prepares you for any math class in college, but also applies to so many topics in real life that most Ivy colleges require you to take the class over even if you passed perfectly the AP test. I took the test a wensday morning and 5 minutes after I finished I sat up and went next door to take the Math SL Paper 1 (I'm not making this up). It was like being sent back to ninth grade.

I know..."IB Math is broader than AP Math and is designed to teach calculus as well as statistics and other "valuable" topics". But please...is MIT or Oxford going to take the kid who knows how to fill in truth tables or the one that knows how to integrate a function using trigonometric substitution, integration by parts, and partial fractions at the same time? Think ahead people, you're in either 11th or 12th grade and you're going into the real world. You won't be studying classes you don't like anymore, from here on out it's all about what you like and what you intend to make a living out of. So don't tell me that IB is harder than AP cause I won't believe it.

What about the rest of the classes? I keep talking about math this and math that, but what about english (I live in the states, I don't know how it works in the rest of the world) and history and phsyc? Very fast I'll say this: IB history is at most 2 years of history, AP history has about 4 different courses avaliable; AP English offers Language, Literature, and Journalism, IB English has SL and HL which is two years of never-ending papers and presentations; and phsyc I can't say.

And now, tell me, is broad but general better than specialized and specific? Should the Physics genius be forced to take a mediocre physics class and Higher Level English, History, and TOK? Should the clever german Biologyst be forced to take Spanish HL? Should the Novel Prize winning novelist be forced to go clean old people's behinds? Well if you answered yes to any of those questions then odds are you believe IB is a better program than AP and should defniately finish it. But now I gotta go cause I have to get started on my Extended Essay. :D

Multiple Choice Tests Calculus AB since 1969 (Total time for 45 questions: 105 minutes)

Free Responses 1998 (90 minutes)

Edited by ezex

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A.P and I.B are both very challenging and demanding course. What are your opinions? It depends on how you look at it. You can take more classes in A.P for a more variety of choices. However in I.B you take fewer classes but are allowed to really go in depth. I personally like I.B better because you come out of the DP as a better student, but many I.B is not as recognized as A.P for universities.

So what do you think guys?

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I feel like IB makes you into a more well-rounded student, because for AP classes, you can pick and choose which AP subjects you want.

And IB is more difficult in that you have to complete CAS, group 4, EE and IAs.

I do feel that IB is a better program but it's not as renown in North America as AP is.

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A.P and I.B are both very challenging and demanding course. What are your opinions? It depends on how you look at it. You can take more classes in A.P for a more variety of choices. However in I.B you take fewer classes but are allowed to really go in depth. I personally like I.B better because you come out of the DP as a better student, but many I.B is not as recognized as A.P for universities.

So what do you think guys?

IB works on your time management skills and focus more on university in-depth curriculum...

AP is basically just shoving as much knowledge into you as possible within the years of high school...

IB prepares you for university type of labs...and basically make the transition easier

AP just gets you in...not really all that helpful afterwards

that's my take on this issue

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Also, I think that the I.B exams are a lot trickier than the A.P one. There are more thinking questions which really differentiate the scores and therefore the standard deviation is pretty high. I heard from my Physics teacher that last year 72% is a 7!! That's a D in the A.P score range!! So surely I.B tests are more difficult! Right?

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OK, first things first.

IB does have everything you guys said: it undoubtfully makes you better for college in the sense that an IB High School graduate can write more and better than the average college freshman. It also helps on the time management, duh, since there are a trillion things that you do while in IB. BUT as far as harder, I'd reccomend that you watch out when you use that word, because harder means difficult matterial, and IB is more abstract than AP, it's not harder. And the reason why AP is more recoginzed in North America is simply because IB is a program designed to teach you how to be the best student in college, while AP is a specified program for the people with certain skills. I can safely say that there about 90% of the IB kids in my school do not have the potential to take Calculus 1 (AP which is almost the same, if not harder, than in college). While IB trains students on in-depth quesitons, they are usually to vague and abstract, not practical is what I'm trying to get to.

So is IB good? Of course! You get out of IB and you'll be at the top of your college classes (history and writing classes at least). But you go to Oxford to study medicine and I can guarantee you that whatever math and science you took in IB will be disregarded and seen as "low-leveled" because IB just doesnt focus enough on quality, just on quantity. Of course you already have a head start, but odds are they'll make you retake biology if you wanna major in medicine.

IB=nerves tester, writing skills, devotion to school.

AP=practical uses of high level degree courses, requires special skills (at least to pass the tests), and has no strings attached (CAS, EE, IA's...damn i gotta go write my WL2 for tomorrow!)

So choose: practical knowledge or knowledge about how to be practical

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IB is a much more challenging and prestigious program

so for sure IB !!!

more challanging maybe, more prestigious...not exactly.

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Being good at everything and all-roundedness are better qualities than being able to know one subject really well, in my opinion. Of course in the IB you can also take a risk and revise only for History questions based on Mao and China like AP people do.

I think that IB is a lot better in terms of recognition worldwide, which is why I take it. AP won't help me unless I go to the States.

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