St. Jude's Academy Blog

IB or AP: Which One Is a Smarter Choice?

Posted by St. Jude's Academy on Jun 5, 2017 4:00:28 AM

While the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Advanced Placement (AP) programs both provide high school students with premier education and unique opportunities, these programs are not entirely the same. If you’re researching AP and IB schools in Mississauga, then you may be curious as to what the difference is; and to know which one would be the best choice for your child. Depending on you and your children’s goals for education, you can create a formulate a focused and well-planned path to success.

It is true that both the AP and the IB program in Canada offer engaging courses for high school students for which they can earn credit, however, their aims may differ slightly. Working together, they create a comprehensive and premier learning experience for all students. AP aims to assist high school students in preparing for University or College by participating in more advanced courses. Alternatively, the IB program is an internationally acknowledged diploma, which must be earned by completing the IB entrance exam and participating in an array of courses which cover a range of topics. The goal is to challenge and expand student’s minds, allow them to adopt a broad scope, and improve their ability to think strategically and form abstract connections. This in turn will help students develop confidence, work ethic, and goal setting, allowing them to thrive in a demanding post-secondary environment.

IB schools in Mississauga


The International Baccalaureate program emphasises the development of critical thinking skills, and requires a significant amount of writing. One requirement for the IB diploma is a long, exhaustive research paper similar to what will be expected for college. IB also places a lot of emphasis on extra-curricular expectations, while AP prioritizes course content and grades. With AP, questions tend to be multiple-choice, with a particular focus on meeting set criteria. Tailoring the education program to your child’s unique strengths and interests will allow them to thrive in and out of the classroom, and develop clear aspirations for university. While different, these choices offer higher learning opportunities and above average teaching conditions.

Course Options

The IB program offers students both standard-level and higher-level course options. In order to achieve an IB diploma, a student must complete at least 3 courses at the higher-level. At some schools, higher-level IB is considered more difficult than the AP program, which alternatively only offers one level. Most post secondary institutions award college credit for IB higher-level exams and AP exams.


The most important factor to consider is which program will reflect most impressively on a university application. For example,  do schools favor one over the other? Generally, universities consider both impressive on a transcript since having your child develop high level learning skills puts them ahead of the competition. In the end, we believe that the discipline acquired in the International Baccalaureate program remains the best preparation for the work ethic required at the university level. This well-rounded preparation will put your children ahead of the line as they transition into a university environment. With a long list of IB schools in Ontario, there are many opportunities to give your children the resources to succeed.

Topics: IB Schools

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