IB/ A-Levels/ AP at a Glance

In a nutshell, the International Baccalaureate diploma programme (IBDP) is better at encouraging a “global outlook and independent inquiry” in students, while A-levels give students more “detailed and in-depth” expertise, and Advanced Placements (AP) allow students to take special high school courses that can earn college credits.

Comparison Chart 

 

IB Diploma

A-Levels

AP

Curriculum

International

UK School Leaving Qualification

US college-level curricula for high school students

Duration

2 years

2 years

 

Flexible (about 1-2 semesters per subject)

Overall Difficulty

 Hard

Hardest

Harder

Subject Difficulty

Harder

Hard

Hardest

English language requirement

Highest

High

High

Number of subjects required

6

At least 3

No limit

Subject Combinations

More restraints but flexible within each subject group (eg language, humanity, science, social science)

Entirely flexible

 

Entirely flexible

Grading System

7 is the highest in each subject, with maximum possible IBDP score of 45, of which 3 additional points are available for the Extended Essay, TOK & CAS.

 

A* is the highest 

5 is the highest

Hands-on community experience

Yes

 No

No 

Pros

All-rounded development

Can keep university degree and future career options open

 

More freedom in subject combinations

 

Easier for students who are stronger in certain subject areas, eg all sciences

Can count towards college credits in university

Cons

Heavy workload and time commitment

 

High percentage of A* making it hard for universities to differentiate students

Higher challenge and course difficulty

Suitable for

Students with fluent English who are interested in a broad range of subjects

Most students

 

Students targeting US universities

Exams taken in

May

May, November

May

Can individual candidates enrol?

No

Yes

Yes

Common university destinations

Most countries

Mostly English-speaking countries

Mostly in the US

 

To find out more about Ampla Education’s test preparation courses and university application services, contact us at info@ampla-edu.com

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© Ampla Education  –  Unauthorised use of this material without permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to Ampla Education.

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