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A quick overview of AP and IB*

February 09, 2011 - The Advanced Placement (AP) program offers college-level courses and exams for which students can earn college credit.

There are 33 AP courses to choose from. Ten of those are offered through Oxford High's course catalog and taught at the school. Those that aren't offered at OHS can be taken on-line.

In AP classrooms, students don't focus on memorizing facts and figures; they engage in intense discussions, solve problems with others and learn to write with a clear and persuasive style.

AP courses help students acquire skills and habits to succeed in college. They help students improve their writing skills, sharpen problem-solving abilities, and develop time management skills, self-discipline and study habits. More than 90 percent of four-year colleges and universities in the United States along with those in more than 60 foreign countries give students credit, advanced placement or both based on AP Exam scores.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme is normally taught over a two-year period to students ages 16-19.

Students study six courses three higher level and three standard level, which represent 240 and 150 teaching hours, respectively.

They study five subjects in the areas of languages, social studies, experimental sciences and math. For the sixth subject, students may choose an arts class or another subject focusing on one of the aforementioned areas.

IB students must also complete three core requirements:

Extended Essay Students must engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question related to one of the subjects they're studying. They must write a 4,000-word essay on the topic.

Theory of Knowledge Students must complete this course which encourages them to reflect on the nature of knowledge by examining different ways of knowing and different kinds of knowledge.

Creativity, action, service Students are required to actively learn from the experience of doing real tasks beyond the classroom.

Students take written examinations at the end of the IB Diploma Programme, which are marked by external IB examiners. Students must also complete assessment tasks in the school, which are either initially marked by teachers, then moderated by external moderators, or sent directly to external examiners.

Diplomas are awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to certain minimum levels of performance across the whole program and to satisfactory participation in the 'creativity, action, service' requirement. The highest point total an IB student can achieve is 45.

* This information was provided by the AP website www.collegeboard.com and IB website www.ibo.org/diploma/

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