Program wars: IB vs. AP – AP allows students to focus on specific interests


Reed vs. Mason: Jane Reed and Deana Mason duke it out over IB versus AP. “We really love one another,” said Reed.

Matthew Howerton, staff writer


Get those pencils aready. And medical treatment for your resulting carpal tunnel.

The Advanced Placement and Dual Credit routes are two of the many options to take at North Kansas City High School.

A person is not defined by their education, and the worth of a man is not determined by the size of their brain. As a human being in a free nation with liberal opinions, I think the best choice of curricula is AP.

During my attendance of Northtown since freshman year, I have changed my diploma three times. From the NKCSD Diploma my freshman year, to the College Preparatory my sophomore year, to the current change of Gold Medallion, I have always been a student who decides something without reassurance. This was the initial reason why I did not join the IB Programme.

Last year, I decided to go into the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, chemical and biochemical engineering, and biotechnology. All I wanted to take were science classes my junior and senior year. A quality I love about IB are the HL (Higher Level) classes. And I wanted to take HL Chemistry and HL Biology, badly. But, I would not have the same options like I do in AP.

There are six required courses in six different class areas that come with the IB diploma. Some of these classes are chosen for you.

With AP, I earned the merits to take Independent AP Chemistry, AP College Biology, AP Physics, AP Psychology, Anatomy and Physiology, 2D Design and (required) Research Methods and Exhibition. These courses couldn’t all be acquired with IB and would conflict with my desires.

So I feel like I get more individual freedom with my studies and choices for my high school life. Students like me are introverts. We don’t necessarily enjoy the company of society, nor do we like doing what’s popular.

Lastly, we definitely don’t like being with people we don’t want to be with. It’s just a personal thing of some people and being forced to share a network of separated education is dreadful and a severe form of torture. To be alone and independent when able is music to my ears.

The IB Programme is great, and I love it. It should be recognized more throughout the country because there are many smart students currently enrolled.

Unfortunately, IB is over-hyped at Northtown. A lot of teachers think IB students are the cream of the crop and the future of this generation. When really, they’re just like any other student, equal in value, and we have the same opportunity as a whole.

Let’s face it, there is a small chance of getting into Oxford, where only 9 percent of those 11 percent who get accepted after applying are from the United States, according to USA TODAY and I’m pretty sure those 300 students are not all from the IB Programme, and definitely not from Northtown.

Plus, the IB intercom announcements are annoying. No one wants to hear them, not even the IB kids. I wouldn’t want my College Chemistry class announcing that our 12-page lab is due the next day.

Don’t get me wrong, Advanced Placement isn’t the best thing in the entire world either. What we don’t have is a criterion for judging or a common standard to learn by. Each AP class varies in difficulty and each teacher’s method of teaching is a little bit different. It can get confusing for students and it can be a difficult change from college (Dual Credit) classes.

What we do need is a common ground for curricula like IB with a freedom of choice in classes. The perfect diploma to me would have open IB classes and AP classes. Together, we would have the best prepared students in our region.

In the end, both AP and IB classes are both rigorous and are great for learning in high school. Both classes give a good start for college and they both cause health problems from studying, lack of sleep, and stress.

In my opinion, if you want a broad challenge covering many subjects, IB is perfect for you.

On the other hand, if you want a concentrated challenge focusing on a certain field of subjects, AP is the greatest fit.