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The Monthly Milestone: AP vs. IB

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In regard to the late AP vs. IB video that premiered in the Harriton auditorium on January 11th, I figured I would throw in a word or two for the good ole International Baccalaureate as course selection rolls around. As I sat in the auditorium watching this mildly amusing and fairly well done debut of High School Musical 3.15 (it was not quite long enough to make it all the way to 4), I found myself saying, “Wait, some of this stuff is true!” Obviously, I cannot attest to the part about all of APUSH throwing down at a “club” in their matching sweatshirts, but I can speak to some of their IB stereotypes.

I will admit to some of them. Yes, we do have a massive amount of work to do. Yes, there have been nights where many of us have barely slept (though that is certainly not the rule). Yes, we are international and thus we do get all the cool French kids in our program. No, we have not recently wasted class time to make a goading, self-entertaining video (I guess that wasn’t actually mentioned in the film).

If what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, then two years of IB have turned me into Chuck Norris. IB is no cakewalk, but it is a fun ride. Almost all of the IBers I talk to say that they are truly happy they chose to do IB. We form incredible bonds with each other—but no, we are no more of a cult than Ms. Murray’s APUSH class. We can bang out an essay or oral commentary like it’s nobody’s business. A lot of those interesting service projects that crop up around school are the products of IB students (thanks, CAS).

Although we do not skip around holding hands all day like the video portrayed (we don’t really have time for that, to be honest), there is a familial aspect in knowing that at any given point there are about 40 other students who can relate to you. You also get a fancy diploma to forever vindicate all your hard homework sweats. That is one of the many benefits of being in an actual program. AP is not a program (though it seems to be a trend to mislabel it as such); it is just a couple of letters that mean you take a hard class with a big test at the end. We also take tests…but we can get 7 points for ours.

All jokes aside, there are a few things that seriously should be said in light of the AP vs. IB video: 1) It actually was a funny and entertaining film and I think everyone got a laugh from it. 2) There is no war between AP and IB, let’s be real. I know both sides have joked about this in the past, but I have never actually heard anyone in IB profess to be superior to anyone else simply because of their academic choices. 3) I have a lot of friends in AP classes as well; we are by no means isolated from each other. 4) If you are taking all AP classes, the workload is essentially the same in IB as well.

`Clearly, students have been incredibly happy with either option. All I can say, personally, is that IB is a big commitment, but through the late nights, the amount of knowledge I found out I could fit into my brain in a year, the quirky traits of my classmates that I now find familiar, the ongoing jokes we develop, and the pride in finishing an extended essay…I have never felt more fulfilled.

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The Monthly Milestone: AP vs. IB