When it comes to college placement tests, you had better know your acronyms. There is the SAT, SAT, and ACT. Not to mention the GMAT, MCAT, and LSAT. And let’s not also forget the PCAT, TEAS, and the myriad of other alphabetical concoctions that college students encounter during their educational careers. As if those were not enough to handle, now there is another new test to add in the mix: the I.B. program.
The I.B. program is gaining popularity as an alternative to the A.P. exam. A.P. exams – also known as the Advanced Placement tests – are subject-specific assessments developed by the College Board to determine whether or not a high school student can gain college-level credits for certain high school courses. In comparison to the longevity of the A.P. exams, the I.B. program – also known as the International Baccalaureate – is relatively new in the United States. However, it is quickly gaining traction as another worthy way to gain college credit.
Developed in Switzerland in 1968, the I.B. program is more popular overseas, though it has been part of the American private school system for years. Today, public schools are finally realizing the value of the I.B. program and jumping in to gain the permission needed to proctor the test; now, it is offered in more than 700 high schools in the United States, and approximately 90 percent of those schools are public, according to an article published in The New York Times. The I.B. program is typically taken in a high school student’s last two years in high school. The classes are focused on typical high school courses such as English, mathematics, and science, as well as I.B. program exclusives, such as oral presentations, international studies, and community service. Upon successful completion of the program, high school students will receive an I.B. diploma, which proves to college admissions officers that they participated in a more rigorous and internationally-focused program during high school. Some colleges even give students with an I.B. diploma sophomore standing in college, which shaves one entire year off of the student’s college career. This can translate to thousands of dollars in savings for tuition costs.
The A.P. examination is still far more popular than the I.B. program. However, with more and more schools offering the I.B. program, the number of students who take advantage of the program will inevitably grow.
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