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Articles / Applying to College / Must IB Student Take AP Exams, Too?

Must IB Student Take AP Exams, Too?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | July 6, 2012

Question: My school adopted this system called the IB Program. We choose the courses that we all want to take (limit is 6) and we are required to make 3 or 4 of the courses higher level, and the rest standard level. Apparently, HL courses count as AP exams, and so we are never required to take the AP exams. But these days I'm hearing from people that I should take AP exams in addition to the IB exams that we take after 2 years. Does that mean I should take AP exams for all HL courses as well or only SL courses? Or should I simply not take any AP exams at all?

If you take the IB exams, there is no need to take AP exams. If you do well on your IB exams, you will receive credit in those areas at most colleges. Note, however, that different colleges will give you different amounts of credit for your IB tests. In other words, a score that is acceptable at one institution may not be acceptable at another. Sometimes credit policies will even vary from department to department within the same college or university. This is also true for AP credit.


Good luck with your IB program. IB is well respected among college admission officials, especially if you earn the full IB diploma. However, IB is fairly common these days so, although it is indeed respected, it won't help you to really stand out in the crowd at the most selective universities, but it will certainly work in your favor.

(posted 7/5/2012)

Best wishes,

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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