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Hello everyone,

I'm currently a sophomore investigating the difference between the IB Diploma and AP courses and my started the IB Diploma this past year.  I live in a urban area and there has been a lot of hype towards the IB at my school and considering it's new there is a lot of pros and cons towards the programme. 



- The UC's (University of California) award 30 units if the candidate gets a 30 out of 45 in the program's exams

- Good preparation of college apparently

- More rigorous than AP

- Develops critical thinking skills

- Saves money on tuition


- Workload is high

- Very time consuming

- Apparently it's viewed the same as AP

- GPA might drop


I mean there are some 'junior' friends that went the AP route and all of a sudden told me not to do it because friends will be separated and then I have to sacrifice a lot of things. Well I found out most of my friends are gonna do the program. But I'm not doing it because of friends, I want to research before I make a decision and clearly that is my situation at this point. But however as I analyze it, the exams are way impacted and are FRQ-based like AP. I want to major in Political Science and TOK might help in terms of the logic and philosophical values but I'm also hearing that you might be behind in college but apparently prepares you for that college experience. I went to the sophomore slump phase this year and it was a really agonizing matter to go through. But however I want to find answers if it's right for me:


Here is what my school offers (and we have a block schedule: 4 periods this day, 4 periods that day)

Group 1 – Studies in language and literature

IB English HL1 + IB English HL2 (senior year)

Group 2 – Language acquisition

IB Spanish HL or SL 1  >   IB Spanish HL or SL 2

Group 3 – Individuals and societies

AP Psychology (junior year) -> IB Psychology HL 2 

Group 4 – Sciences

AP Chemistry -> IB Chemistry SL

AP Physics -> IB Physics SL

Group 5 –  Mathematics

Algebra 2 -> IB Math Studies

Pre-Calculus -> IB Math SL

AP Stats -> IB Math SL

AP Calc -> IB Math SL (new for the class of 2018 at our school)

Group 6 – The arts

IB Visual Arts HL1 -> IB Visual Arts HL2


What I signed up for:

AP US History

AP English

Algebra 2



Constitutional Law






Clearly, that's the route I'm going at this point but I'm considering it and see if it's worth it.  I heard they offer tutoring after school and such.  But honestly, what do you think?


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Everything in life  requires a certain level of sacrifice.    You're right that the IB helps you prepare for college.   It bridges the gap.  But then it's also time consuming and requires a lot of hard work that you need to be willing to do to get the best outcome.   My view is that since you have a clear goal of what you want to major in - political science, the IB would be good for you.   In the sense that it'll help you develop your thinking skills and it'll make you a more suitable person going forward for employment later in life. In the long term, it's always how you package yourself.   Your experiences which have shaped you that make you stand out from other people.    Think of yourself as a product, something that's being built up slowly.   The IB  will help develop you. It'll help you balance subjects, organise time, meet numerous deadlines.  Ask yourself which experience would make you a more suitable product to buy?  How can you increase your worth and value in the long run?


Friendships are sometimes fickle.  You can develop new ones as part of moving forward or if they're your true friends, then regardless of whether or not you decide to chose the IB, they'll still talk to you and stay in touch.


It's an entirely personal decision at the end of the day.    I don't know your background or who you are as an individual, but this is my two 'cents' .  It's what you value most here.    There are so many pro's and cons.    Not just on an employment level but on a personal level that you need to think about.  

It's your choice.

Edited by nametaken

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I personally think the IB does a better job at preparing students for university since my sister does AP and doesn't learn the same skills (such as how to write an EE). Of course, I'm not familiar with the US system so maybe AP is taught better where you are. Since you want to do political science, I think developing essay writing skills are crucial, so the HL English and HL Psych could help with that. If you're worried about difficulty, the IB courses that your school offers are not typically seen as hard (although this is a very personal matter).

Again, I'm not sure who you are as a person. If you think you can push yourself a little harder, then IB could be fun. However, you're on a good path regardless

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