AP and IB Credits: a Head Start into College/University Success

AP, IB credits

Specialized high school programs like Advanced Placement (AP) and the International Baccalaureate (IB) program can boost the student’s education, fast-tracking their academic progress in many ways. These high school programs offer higher-level courses that cover more material than regular classes and require independent work like research and analysis, letting the student experience a curriculum similar to classes at college and universities. 

As a result, the AP and IB program prepares them for the challenges of a rigorous college/university academic experience, strengthening their application to the college/university of their choice, and earning them transferable credits that can lead to benefits like free time, saving money, and qualifying for advanced classes.

If parents are interested in enrolling their children in the AP or IB program, the following is recommended:

  • AP: AP Exams are administered at many high schools and at exam centers in the US and Canada. Most U.S. colleges grant credit, advanced placement, or both for qualifying AP scores. Students have the freedom to choose which AP courses they want to take for college/university credits throughout their high school years, whether they want to start at Grade 9, or simply choose to take Grade 11 and Grade 12 AP courses.
  • IB: Since the IB Diploma program is taught to students aged 16 to 19 years old, parents should start exploring and preparing their children for the program while they’re entering high school. The IB program also offers the Middle Years Program (MYP), in which students aged 11-16 can enroll to fully prepare themselves for the IB Diploma program. Schools all over the world offer the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP), from government-supported schools to independent and international schools. 

Graduating college/university on time, if not sooner, is a possible outcome of these benefits as well. For example, a study observed that 52% of those who had taken AP in high school graduated in four years or fewer, compared to the US national average of 37% of students graduating within four years or fewer.

These programs can also increase your child’s chance of acceptance in prestigious schools. As a notable example on the IB organization’s website, it states that US graduates who studied IB “are 21.4 per cent more likely to be admitted into 10 of the country’s most prestigious universities, including Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Stanford”. “IB students are better able than their peers to cope with demanding workloads, manage their time and meet the expectations placed on them”. “72% of students taking the IB in China attend one of the world’s top 500 universities, according to a 2013 study”.

To learn more about credits from AP and IB, read below and find out how these credits ease your child’s transition from high school to college/university.


Advanced Placement (AP)

The curriculum of the AP program is designed to help high school students prepare for the demanding coursework in college/university, giving them leverage and stability once they are fully immersed in that academic stage of life. Run by the non-profit membership organization, the College Board, the AP program provides students with more than 38 different courses in 22 subject areas, spanning from history and sciences to Chineses language and culture. 

With around 60% of US highschools and 15,000 highschools globally offering the AP program, students have the opportunity to hone in on skills needed for college/university (i.e. time management, scholarly writing), and surpass academic expectations of regular high school classes. 

Earning College/University Credit: For a student to earn a credit that’s applicable to college/university, they will need to score well on an AP test, which takes place every year in May. However, students are not required to complete a full AP course to take the test, as the test can be arranged for students who do not have an AP program at their school or are homeschooled. With the scoring system ranging from 5 to 1 (5 being the highest score possible), colleges and universities generally accept 3s and up for transferable credit. If a student receives such a score, they may skip those first-year college/university courses. Such can be confirmed by a Kaplan Test Prep study about college admissions, in which they found that 66% had given students (with a score of 3) the right to skip entry-level courses. To learn more about the AP program and their transfer credit system, click here.


International Baccalaureate (IB)

The IB program brings students into a rigorous, college-level curriculum with an emphasis on cultural awareness and global citizenship. Studied in schools in over 150 countries around the world, IB requires students to participate in courses that cover six subject areas offered at two levels (standard or higher): mathematics, sciences, arts, individuals and societies, language and literature, and language acquisition. The IB scoring system ranges from 1 to 7 for each course, with 7 being the highest score. The course scores are then added together, making 42 the highest score possible.

Students who are aiming for the IB diploma must also complete IB core elements that consist of: an extended essay, theory of knowledge course, and a creativity, action and service project. However, those who solely want to take the IB courses can opt for IB certificates, which can be used for college/university credit applicable to that subject area. 

Earning College/University Credit: The IB diploma itself is accepted in 75 countries at over 2,000 universities, although some universities only accept credit from students completing higher-level courses. Depending on the college/university, the institute may accept the IB diploma as a whole for granting a certain amount of credit, or will grant credits based on the scores for each individual subject area test. For example, New York University (NYU) accepts grades of 6 to 7 in higher-level courses for credit depending on the program requirements. On the other hand, University of California – Berkeley (UCB) gives students 30 quarter units towards their degree for completing the IB diploma with a total score of 30 and above. To learn more about IB and their transfer credit system, click here.


Through enrolling your child in the AP or IB program at ib schools Oakville, you are helping them not only develop themselves academically beyond regular schooling, but are also giving them the opportunity to ready themselves for college/university to the best of their ability. 

Worried about the demanding course loads of these advanced programs? We are happy to provide free consultation at Math Project, where we help numerous students tackle the workload, prepare them for the challenging exams and help them build a high sense of responsibility and project management. Contact us today at 1-844-628-4243 to book a free assessment, and enter a chance to win a free month at Math Project! Fore more information on our math tutoring programs in Mississauga, Oakville, and Brampton, visit ‘Our Programs’ Page.

Book a free assessment  



IB IBT SciTech PREPARATION – megamindlearning.com
What is an IB education? –ibo.org
Global key findings of International Baccalaureate programme – ibo.org
AP Credit Policy Search – apstudents.collegeboard.org
What Is AP? – apstudents.collegeboard.org
More AP Success; Racial Gaps Remain – insidehighered.com
The Pros and Cons of AP Classes – secure.cfwv.com
AP Program – professionals.collegeboard.org
Getting IB diploma credit at US colleges and universities – blogs.ibo.org
What is IB College Credit and How Does It Work? – study.com
Why the IB Diploma Programme is ideal preparation for university – ibo.org
Are AP® Students More Likely to Graduate from College on Time? – files.eric.ed.gov
Guide for IB students applying to US institutions – ibo.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *