What’s the difference between AP and IB?

What’s the difference between AP and IB?
October 21, 2021 GWHS


The College Board’s mission is to connect students to college success and opportunity, and is committed to excellence and equity in education.

Students can select AP classes that fit their strengths and that are independent of one another.

AP classes are taught over one-year, and move at a rapid pace, similar to college entry-level survey classes.

Any student may take AP exams; specific courses are taught but are not a prerequisite for exams.

AP scores are based solely on the AP exam performance. The score is on a scaling of 0 to 5. AP students with exam scores of 3, 4, or 5 have the potential to earn college credit or advanced placement. (Colleges set their own policies.)


The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

A cohort of students wherein they all take classes from six different subject areas in addition to completing additional core requirements.

IB courses are taught over a two-year period, to include in-depth research, inquiry, and analysis.

Only IB students enrolled in IB courses may take IB exams or receive IB credit. AP students cannot take IB exams without taking the IB course.

IB scores are based on internal assessments scored by the student’s teacher and on IB external exams taken in May of their junior and senior year. The score is on a scaling of 0 to 7. DP students who earn their IB Diploma are guaranteed at least 24 credits at a Colorado public university. DP students with individual exam scores of 4, 5, 6, or 7 have the potential to earn college credit or advanced placement. (Colleges set their own policies.)


Students have access to college level work that could end in college credit.

Each program asks challenging questions, and develops students critical thinking and analysis skills.

Students develop a strong sense of their own identity and culture.

Students develop the ability to communicate with and understand people from other countries and cultures.

Students gain the edge in college preparation by having a head start in college-level work.

Students develop the study habits necessary for tackling rigorous course work.

Students stand out in the college admissions process, as they are taking the most rigorous course load offered at GW.

Each program broadens a student’s intellectual horizons.

Teachers work as a team that meets on a regular basis to support students and to connect the curriculum across disciplines.