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8 Reasons Why You Should Take IB Over AP

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8 Reasons Why You Should Take IB Over AP

Arthur Zargaryan

1) Preparation for College

Though it may be true that AP Students get much more college credit than their fellow IB counterparts, the IB does infinitely more in actually preparing you for the workload you will receive in college. What makes the IB such a daunting program is the fact that it throws so much information at you. Students that do well in the IB are able to effectively manage this information, learn it efficiently, and at the same time maintain healthy, balanced lives. In college, similarly, you’re going to be bombarded with all kinds of information, both academic and non-academic. You’re going to have to make choices on prioritizing your work over going to a frat party, about whether you can afford to join another extracurricular activity, or whether staying up all night to finish that paper is worth it. In this sense, the IB offers you invaluable experience and you should treat everything it throws at you as a learning curve for college. Last time I checked, AP students didn’t have to write a 4000-word research paper, question their own existence, and manage CAS activities whilst having to juggle six subjects. Truth be told, the IB will make the college transition very smooth and you’ll go in feeling like a rockstar. 

2) Broader Perspective

Let’s be honest: The APs have always been primarily geared to provide an American Education, possessing very few courses such as AP Word History that critically examine society from a global perspective. Before I get bullets fired at me for challenging the greatest nation in the world, let me add that this is completely fine: The APs prepare you very well for college and ensure you learn loads of material. However, I personally feel as if the IB offers you something much more rich and substantial. Indeed, the IB turns you into a scholar of the world: you’re forced to examine things from multiple different perspectives, challenge assumptions, and this leads you to become a well-rounded, critical thinker. Sure, you can argue that this global mumbo-jumbo really isn’t necessary, and that the point of a high-school program should be to simply gain knowledge in subjects you’re interested in (hence why you don’t have as many subjects if you do the APs). But the way I see it, the IB is in a way that ‘study abroad’ experience that so many people claim is invaluable. Think of yourself as Dora the Explorer, always questioning everything around you, and wanting to delve further into your intellectual pursuits. 

3) Alumni Love

This doesn’t really seem like a real reason, but hear me out. Nothing quite compares to being in college, meeting someone new, and then realizing that both of you are IB Alumni! You suddenly feel as if you have known each other for many, many years and can relate to each other. The pain, the misery, the grade boundaries—oh, what bliss! It’s like you’re family. No, you ARE family. 

4) Creativity, Action, Swag

Though the IB is a lot of work (understatement of the year), it ensures that you pursue worthwhile and enjoyable activities outside the classroom. You’re going to graduate highschool having done activities that you previously would never have thought of doing, and the most exciting part is that one of these activities might actually turn up being something you love to do! Take it from me: I unwillingly decided to learn Chess as a way to fulfill my Creativity Section, after my mother went out and actually spent money on buying a chess board. Hundreds of hours later, Chess has become one of my favorite hobbies, one that I pursue even in college! See, the AP Program aims to simply focus on the courses that you take. The IB, as hard as it may sound to believe, actually wants you to go outside and discover the amazing opportunities that are available. SO GO OUT THERE AND CHANGE THE WORLD.

5) Work Ethic

Granted, the average IB student will have more work to do than the average AP student. You take more subjects, have a lot to do outside the classroom, and oh god, there’s just so much writing to do! But whilst doing all of this, you start to develop a strong work ethic. Even if you procrastinate, you realize that you just have to get your work done. Unless you want very little sleep, you start to become much more efficient with your work and know how to prioritize your day. You know whether you can afford to go out with your friends, or should rather stay in to do some revision. Conversely, you realize that maintaining a social life is also important to maintain a balanced lifestyle, and thus you make time to hang out with your friends. These are invaluable skills not only to hone for college, but also for the rest of your life. With each day you start to work smarter, you start to feel like a champion. And you are a champion. I believe in you. DJ Khaled believes in you. 

6) Research + Investigation Skills

If you’ve ever been interested in doing research, or for that matter even if you haven’t, the IB is an excellent program to cultivate investigative qualities. The IAs that you must write for your sciences ensure that you develop skills in data analysis, know how to work with uncertainties, and are comfortable combing both quantitative + qualitative elements to form a cogent paper. The Internal Assessments that you must write for your Humanities, especially Economics, allow you to combine real-life information and theory to craft a compelling argument. The Math Internal Assessment is an amazing way to understand the practicalities of Math in the real world, and also allow you to consolidate your fundamentals in specific areas. The Extended Essay that you must write gives you real-hand experience on drafting a paper of such large volume. And of course, who can forget scourging the Internet for all those precious past papers and their markschemes! I think it’s time for another Dora the Explorer GIF.

7) A Powerful Resume

Think about if for a second. In a world where colleges expect you to do a billion activities, ask you to go above and beyond both within and outside the classroom, and even want you to do research, isn’t the IB marvelous? Your CAS lead to all of those Extra-Curricular Activities, you get to put down your EE as ‘research’ (I for sure did), and your TOK endeavors demonstrate intellectual curiosity. Aren’t you, by simply doing the IB, building up an awesome portfolio for applying to college? All of the stuff that you learn, that you do, and that you’re able to get deeply involved in will look fantastic on your application, for both college and prospective internships. Internship = Job = Money = Happiness.  

8) Way of Thinking vs Curriculum Readiness

 The APs will ensure that once you get to college, you know the curriculum that is going to be covered and that you’ve had some sort of experience dealing with it before hand. That’s in part why the AP Program warrants so many college credits. However, what the IB program will do is that it will force you to develop a dynamic way of thinking that is tailored to new situations. That is, you may not have seen the material presented to you, but you will be fantastically equipped to deal with it. You will recognize patterns, structure your revision effectively, look at details from different perspectives; essentially, you’ll have a mental toolkit ready to tackle all sorts of new problems. To me, that’s something that is much more important than simply gaining enough college credits or having familiarity with the curriculum. Life is all about adapting to new situations, solving new problems, and the IB is what’s going to prepare you best for that.