Both the Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs give high school students an opportunity to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Depending on the college they attend, these courses can lead to advanced placement (skipping entry-level courses) or sometimes even receiving college credit for the coursework completed under these programs. The AP courses are accepted at virtually all U.S. colleges and universities, while the IB program has more limited acceptance within the U.S. but is growing in popularity.

The AP program began in the U.S. to offer more challenging courses to capable high school students. An introductory college level course is offered followed by an examination in May. Students are rated on a five-point scale on the examination which is administered by the Educational Testing Service. Many overseas and American high schools participate in this program. Classes can be taken in just one subject or in a variety of subjects. Also see AP International from the College Board.

Please note that there is a testing fee for each exam.

The IB program was designed through an international cooperative effort and is based in Geneva, Switzerland. This program offers an academically challenging curriculum emphasizing the philosophy of learning and the integration of disciplines. The IB diploma is designed for the last two years of high school. It can be supported by a curriculum beginning as early as elementary school. Because it is a comprehensive two-year program it can be difficult to transfer during that last two years and complete the IB diploma at a different school. Individual tests, however, can be taken for courses completed even if the full diploma program is not completed. Exams are completed in May with all exams centrally evaluated to set criteria by international examiners. For general information on IB Diploma programs, please visit the International Baccalaureate website.

Looking for IB schools in the mid-Atlantic area? Please visit this listing.

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[This is a mobile copy of Choices for High School: IB and AP]