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IB or AP program which is a better option for normal/accelerated medical program

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by rajayya, May 13, 2007.

  1. rajayya

    rajayya Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    We live in Florida. My daughter will be starting the high school this year. She has a perfect 4.0 in middle school. She would like to become a medical doctor like her aunt, and the intent is to find some accelerated programs. Now she has the choice to attend IB program at another high school (far away from our house) or take all the AP classes along with honor classes at the nearest high school. We are torn apart to make the decision. How do major universities with medical schools like UF (university of Florida) or USF (university of South Florida) view the AP or IB? Does IB have an edge over IB? If she can maintain almost a perfect 4.0 (in honor and regular classes) and then score almost a ‘5’ in all AP exams, how does this be inferior to a more than a mediocre performance in IB program? I have heard IB programs are more competitive than AP.

    Please share your opinions and thoughts. Thanks very much
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  3. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 7, 2005
    First, your daughter probably will not attend the same undergrad as medical school, so it doesn't matter how universities with medical schools will view AP vs IB - it matters how universities your daughter will want to go to will view them. Keep in mind that she can attend a small lib arts college with no hospital within miles and still get into a phenomenal medical school - in fact, some people think this is the best way to go due to the personal attention you can get at lib arts colleges. This is a multi-step process. it's best not to get too far ahead of yourself at this early point in the game.

    Second, when my sister and I were in high school we both wanted to do medicine. I did AP while my sister did IB - I had a much easier time getting advanced credit in college than she did which helped me to get my pre-medical requirements done with sooner. From what I hear IB is really good only if you are seriously considering studying internationally whereas if staying in the US is in the cards, AP is absolutely sufficient and universally recognized.

    Also, AP has an advantage over IB in that you can pick and choose which classes and exams you take for AP and thus play to your strengths; i.e. if you're awful in history (like me) you can just not take AP history, but still take AP Bio, Chem, Macroecon, English Lit, and Calculus. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this personal curriculum tailoring is not allowed in IB studies.

    Also: a warning. Some people on here might jump all over you about "pressuring" your child into medicine or being ridiculous for asking advice on this forum this early in your daughter's education, etc. Ignore them.
  4. Ephesus

    Ephesus Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2006
    AP is a watered down version of what is in the university system. I don't know much about IB, but I hear it is more presitgious. If you can afford it, send your daughter to a Waldorf School.

    If not, I'd just send your daughter to the local school, take the most advance curriculum offered, then transfer into a university for the junior and senior years (dual matriculation).

    Also, you should know that just because your daughter had a X GPA, it doesn't mean she will have X GPA in further studies.
  5. SeminoleFan3

    SeminoleFan3 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    While it's encouraging to see parents want to get involved in the process and their child's education, you have to be very careful at this point in her education. Just because she wants to be a doctor at 14, doesn't mean that's what she'll want to be when she's 18 or 22.
    But, taking advanced classes will help her with whatever she does. No med school is going to even see her high school transcript. As for college, she just needs to go to one and major in something she can do well in. After all, I majored in Religion.
    I'd go the AP route and have her be near by in school. I think the best thing she can do in high school is get a lot of exposure to the medical field. Let her spend some summers shadowing doctors and perhaps some type of medical summer program. Exposure is the key.
  6. Old ortho

    Old ortho 2+ Year Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    IB and AP are considered equivalent for application to colleges. IB is harder because every classes are AP; while AP in a regular program is an elective. It is better to take 8 AP classes and get all "A" and 4 or 5 in the AP exams, then to take IB programs and get a lot of "B"s. Major universities will usually consider AP or IB credits with +1 to your grades. i.e. you get a B in AP biology, the universities will give you 4.0 instead of 3.0. If you score well in the AP exams (4 or 5), most universities will accept them up to a maximum number such as 8-10 classes. Your daughter should go to a program that she can learn and have fun. Having many AP or IB credits give you an advantage in applying to colleges, but there is no advantage in applying to medical schools. Some universities don't accept AP credits in the major - e.g. if you major in Biology and has AP credit in biology, they may require you to re-take Biology 101. If you have AP credits things outside your major like History, that will be perfectly fine.

    Many med schools set some limitations of how many or what AP credits they will consider. From the U of Miami medical school website:

    "AP credits are accepted and can be used to satisfy requirements for English, biology, and inorganic chemistry, as long as the credits appear on a college transcript and are verified by AMCAS."
    I heard some top 10 med schools don't like AP credits as much as college credits, and you need to check it yourself.
  7. Crookshanks

    Crookshanks Juju 2+ Year Member

    Jun 18, 2006

    I think IB is more prestigious (sp?) but AP is fine, you should send her to the school closest to you because there's less travel time and more study time/free time. Commuting sucks, I drive 35 miles to school and I waste so much time sitting in traffic. Local is better.

    I also like that you can PICK what you take with AP. I don't think IB gives you that much choice.

    In reality, it doesn't matter. There are students that get into medical school that didn't do IB and that never took an AP class. No biggie.

    Another factor is WHICH AP classes are offered at this school? Some schools offer a lot some offer very little, look into it.

    Remember to let her have a normal childhood. It's great to encourage her, but don't make her rush through school and college. These are fun learning experiences and the goal shouldn't be to be DONE ASAP.

    I would send my child to the local school.

    I'm in FL too.... :)

    Another thing to look at is what "grade" does the school have? Is it an A or B school?

    How much "money" does the school have? Do they spend a lot on extracurricular stuff like orchestra and a basketball team? Will she have these opportunities there? What's their reputation?

    Good luck!
  8. lina123321

    lina123321 ralph: im a unitard 5+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    over the rainbow
  9. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist Rocket Scientist Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Having first-hand experience with an accellerated medical program, I have to tell you that your daughter will be better served attending a good university and then applying to medical school through the standard admissions cycle. In the long-run, the extra year or two doesn't make that much of a difference.

    That said, isn't middle school a little early for your daughter to have her career all planned out?
  10. Depakote

    Depakote Pediatric Anesthesiologist Rocket Scientist Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Oh, just wanted to hilight this... when your daughter has her first mental breakdown at the age of 14 b/c she got a "B+", this is all on you, Mom.
  11. lord_jeebus

    lord_jeebus 和魂洋才 Moderator Physician 10+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2003
    Educationally I think IB is superior to AP.

    From a college admissions perspective I think the higher GPA is more advantageous than the IB program, if you anticipate a significant difference. Especially when applying to a large public institution.

    From a med school perspective it doesn't really matter.

    From the perspective of adolescence, I appreciated having a lot more free time (taking lots of AP courses) than my peers at a nearby school taking IB.
  12. MyStiKxFury

    MyStiKxFury 2+ Year Member

    Sep 7, 2006
    I took the IB diploma program at my high school. You have to test in at least 6 subjects language A1(english), second language, individuals and societies, experimental science, math, and arts. You also have to write an extended essay (limit of 4000 words) and complete community service hours (minimal 150 hours). On top of that there are various internal and external assessments in each subject area. Overall it was a very demanding program and required time management strategies. However, it most certainly prepares you for college and the pre-medical curriculum. Actually, I find this, my first year in undergrad, much easier than the IB program. I have alot of free time for volunteering and joining different clubs while still doing well in my classes.

    In light of that, I believe the choice of school should be left up to your daughter to make for herself. During highschool, I saw many of my friends resenting their parents for forcing them to take the IB program and many of them subsequently dropped out of IB.
  13. eeyoreDO

    eeyoreDO 2+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    I graduated from the best IB school in Florida.
    IB does nothing but make you feel stupid while in the background the teachers were raising hell and truly testing our patience, especially during the end of junior year. I was horrible in history (still am :p) and chemistry (at the time). I did not have a choice as to what classes to take.

    AP is better. TRUST ME. Have your child take AP classes, particularly AP chem and AP biology instead.

    I took HL Biology (two-year long class in IB) and I didn't have motivation to do school at the time (I was immature). I did poorly on all of my classes, in particular HL Biology. Luckily I still got into college.

    This made me decide to pursue a computer science major, then I chose to go into IT. I took a simple biology course and I loved it while I took a course in C programming and hated it. I realized that biology wasn't bad, it was just that IB pissed me off. My major is now biology and I made Dean's list this semester :laugh:

    I suggest you have your child do AP instead of IB. It will allow them to concentrate on what they like rather than get kicked in the face by everything. As long as they get good grades, they will be fine in college admissions. My parents forced me to do IB, causing me to rebel and get bad grades.

    The only thing that made IB tolerable were my friends. We had so much fun at 3 AM writing our English essays and suffering and quoting the same quotes from our textbooks that we all memorized. I suggest you search google for "you know you're in IB when..." pages. EVERY one of those statements is true... and not in a funny way. If you want a good relationship with your child, keep them away from IB. They will end up hating your guts for years to come. My parents blame me for doing poorly even though they wouldn't let me drop out. If I failed out, I wouldn't have a place to sleep therefore I did the bare minimum and suffered all the way through.

    I hate IB. I still have nightmares about it. I will never forgive my parents. Some people are more sensitive to stress when they are young and immature; I am one of them. Take what I'm saying seriously.

    -One last edit:
    Listen to what MyStiKxFury says and GIVE YOUR CHILD A CHOICE. Let her know what IB is about. My mom never told me what IB was, I just had my middle school give me my transcripts and my mom mailed some stuff.

    February 1st, 2002. That was the fateful day that I signed my IB acceptance. I hate my mother for this.
  14. ssquared

    ssquared Member 2+ Year Member

    I want to second this thought. Pressuring your children into having a 4.0 is a recipe for disaster. As long as she works hard and is satisfied with her performance, then lay off of her. I know of kids who never got anything lower than an A, ever, because their parents relentlessly pressured them into thinking that perfection was the only acceptable goal. The results were not pretty. Things can head south quickly under that kind of pressure.

    Oh, and I took AP classes and it worked out very well for me. I had an easier time getting college credit, and came into college a whole year ahead credit-wise. As long as the local school has lots of APs to choose from, then your daughter will be just fine.
  15. brianmartin

    brianmartin 10+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Yakima, WA
    I think you are crazy. Yes, make her aware of the grade requirements as well as all the prerequisite classes. Make sure she knows that she has to work hard to achieve her goals. Beyond that, it's her life. A 4.0 and all AP classes are not required to be a doctor.

    If you think that she HAS to get into a top 10 school and match into a top 10 residency...then you are insane, first of all, there is no "sure thing", especially if your daughter has spent her entire life buried in schoolwork. These people don't make good doctors.

    Your name sounds Indian, if so, I am aware of the strict requirements for med school admission in India. It's not the same in the U.S.
  16. ichimaru

    ichimaru Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2005
    Despite being an IB graduate, my vote is 100% for the AP route. In Texas (and probably Florida as well), AP exams get you virtually the exact same college credits as the IB exams. IB is just more work (extended essay, theory of knowledge, and let's not forget those CAS hours - ugh). Don't push your daughter too hard in high school. Help her develop a good work ethic, but give her enough space to explore her own interests.
  17. mehhh

    mehhh ... 2+ Year Member

    Dec 5, 2006

    hmm, i wonder if we went to the same school. i graduated from a dual program (including IB) from a school in south florida that was consistently recognized for its high rate of IB graduates, worldly... dare i say the name? suncoast

    anyway, i just want to echo eeyoreDO's thoughts. from my own experience, no one that finished both programs did it because their parents had forced them into it. and by "forced", i mean even those persistent comments that parents think is normal. the only ones that made it were the ones that wanted it for themselves... and the same has happened in college. the lesson learned is: you can push your child all you want (or not), but in the end, he/she's the one who is going to stay up night after night doing the work, and if he/she hates it, they'll quit, eventually.
  18. crazy_cavalier

    crazy_cavalier T3-Weighted 7+ Year Member

    I was in a IB program in high school. I enjoyed it. I guess it is somewhat rigorous... I dunno it's been so long that I cant even remember, but it's manageable (I did the full diploma and also an extra certificate, averaged 6's on the exams, and HS gpa was still quite good).

    I'd have to agree that it's a lot of work, and (like the prior poster wrote) it's not worth it if your daughter doesn't want to do it herself. Keep in mind that if you go the IB route, you can always sign up to take the AP exams, but the reverse does not apply (at least I think).
  19. LexiLuthor

    LexiLuthor 2+ Year Member

    Apr 1, 2007
    I took a lot of AP classes in high school. It was a good public school with a range of classes and a good amount of AP options. It worked out well- I could pick which ones I wanted to take and had about 30 credits going into undergrad. One of my sisters did IB, and although I think the challenging coursework was good for her academic development, it didn't yeild as many credits for her (I think b/c all the classes were advanced, as opposed to being able to select easier options for some.)

    Taking a heavy course load in high school prepared me for college- it actually seemed easier in undergrad!

    In the end, I think that a lot of the motivation to do well and to choose a career will have to come from your daughter herself. It's great to set her on a path where she can set herself up well for the future, but you have to step back and let her figure things out for herself. I chose my own class schedules, planned my own studying, and set my own grade goals. I don't think my parents even looked at my report cards :laugh: Doing well overall is important if she does end up going to med school, but it isn't something to get so hung up on.

    Maybe let her look into the options and choose for herself what she likes best? Let her go to the school she feels most socially comfortable and where she will get involved in extracurriculars easily? Pick one that minimizes commute, as mentioned earlier?
  20. little pebble

    little pebble 5+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2007
    Southeast USA
    I graduated full IB and valedictorian from a school in Georgia and loved it for several reasons. As a side note, I also took the AP US History exam, AP Music Theory exam, AP Calculus BC exam, AP Spanish Language exam, and AP Statistics exam.

    1. I did end up driving an hour to school everyday, but that was because I lived in the middle of nowhere. I would have ended up skipping 2 grades (from entering 8th to entering 10th) to stay on level at the school near my house. I liked staying with students my age.

    2. I felt it was better preperation for university as compared to AP classes. On IB exams, it's not only the test that matters. It's the papers that are turned in and the projects that are graded that also factor into the grade. I felt it took stress off of me when I was taking the IB exams. It simulated university better since it was not only the test grade that mattered. In none of my classes (even science ones) have my grades only relyed on tests.

    3. From what I've heard, Florida is quite nice with handing out credit for IB exams. A friend of mine went to UF and got 30 hours of credit off the bat from his exams.

    4. If she does second science for her sixth subject, she'll have seen two out of three: biology, chemistry, and physics. Even if she retakes them, seeing the material previously will help!

    5. All of the TOK and CAS hours made me a well rounded candiate for college. And honestly, CAS isn't that bad. Marching band counted!

    6. Remember, AP classes are a one year thing. I had 4 years of pre-IB and IB classes preparing me for the exams and the workload required for the exams.

    7. This is sick, but I actually felt the IB tests were similar to university tests and were more relevant than the AP tests. In university, I recognized the marks scheme, and partial credit. AP is mostly multiple choice.

    What's most important is the teachers. If the teachers are great, her experience will be great. If they are only so-so, she will not enjoy it. However, make sure it is her choice! There were several people whose parents forced them to do IB, and they always did poorly. However, people like myself who chose it and saw it as a great experience did very well.

    Hope this helps! I also remembered all of the "You know you're in IB when..." webpages, and while my classmates and I laughed, very little of it was true for us. The stress actually was a good thing, as that also prepared me for college. As a result of knowing how to handle multiple high level classes with multiple projects, my first year of college was only slightly stressful, and I go to a top 20 public university. Like I said...all comes down to the teachers. I did marching band, winterguard, and was active in my church, and NEVER pulled an all-nighter for an IB class. The teachers helped us in making sure everything was done ahead of time, and when they screwed up (as one teacher did when he had us write the history paper in the wrong format) they gave us class time to fix it.
  21. Ephesus

    Ephesus Member 2+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2006
    I just checked his posts. His sister is in an Indian med school. He also says his daughter is in the AP curriculum, and asks if she should change to IB.
  22. crazy_cavalier

    crazy_cavalier T3-Weighted 7+ Year Member

    I def. agree with that. My CAS hours were pretty fun... I volunteered playing chess with elem. school kids, gave free tennis lessons to some kids, shelved books at the local library, and I wrote a really awesome database program that compiled summer camp evaluation forms and generated analytical reports for my local community center.

    So, so true. My teachers rocked. That's gotta be why I enjoyed it so much. I very rarely felt stressed out and was generally very happy in IB. :)
  23. el aye

    el aye O_o 5+ Year Member

    Feb 18, 2007

    I'm pretty sure I wanted to be a neurosurgeon in middle school... I'm leaning away from that one now :)laugh:), but I still want to be a doctor :D
  24. orrghead16

    orrghead16 decimals and dollars 5+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Where does your daughter want to go to school? Where will she have the most fun? Instead of worrying about medical school, think college first. I agree with some of the above posters. I really, really feel sorry for your daughter. Out of all the kids I know who wanted to be docs in middle school, I know of very few that are still sticking to it. Most of them were very smart. The beauty of it all is that when they entered AP/IB programs and college, they found out that there was much more to be than a doctor. I wish more younger kids could realize that, but the sad case is that everyone wants to be a doc. Don't encourage a High school because it will be best for medical school. Find out where she wants to go. The next eight years of her life should be fantastic. It could also easily be ruined if she is unhappy. The ones that are bottled up in High School are the first to blow once they get away from the parents in college.

    That being said, I went to a very large public HS. It had the largest AP program in the state. Ended up taking A TON of AP tests and entering college as a Jr. with 50 some credits. Almost all of the pre-med requirements will have to still be fulfilled by taking upper level classes. I worked a ton harder for all my AP classes over my last two years of HS than I did my first year of college while taking 18 hrs each semester. Had great teachers, and it really prepared me for college. I wouldn't even worry about this decision. AP or IB, whichever YOUR DAUGHTER chooses, she will be fine.

    Even though I thought my life was going to end when I got a 4 on my AP english Lit test, no one cares any more. Med schools wouldn't have cared if I scored a 4 on all my exams. No one asks about about my HS GPA or where I went. What you think is big fish now, just wait with what is to come. It is a huge ladder, and all the next step cares about is the one that is right behind. Med schools look at the college stuff. Colleges look at HS stuff. Residencies check out how you did in medical school.
  25. lina123321

    lina123321 ralph: im a unitard 5+ Year Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    over the rainbow
    can someone please clarify...when i was in school, the only advanced classes there were were AP...what's IB, TOC, CAS, etc.?:confused:
  26. Dooooom

    Dooooom Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 14, 2006
    combined/accelerated program will do the undergrad/med at the same school. Do IB you get a ton of more credits.
  27. trevagandalf

    trevagandalf 7+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2006
    Well in terms of IB and AP, I was able to obtain both the diploma and AP credits. When going to college, AP was what gave me 60 (2 years worth) of college credits and the IB diploma only gave me about 9. Having taken about 15 AP exams at the end of high school and finishing the IB diploma didn't really help me get into college or college programs though, what is more valuable is your GPA and SAT scores (which I could have probably done better at if I wasn't taking so many AP classes). AP and IB will get you credits, but most medical school accelerated programs, because they are accelerated won't take these credits to begin with. I would suggest your daughter to enroll in one of these, but if what she wants is an accelerated program, know that APs and IBs won't necessarily help her.

    The IB curriculum is more in depth, straightfoward and I would say is more focus in knowledge that most people who didn't have the curriculum wouldn't know about. It is definetly more comprehensive and makes your daughter more well-rounded. The AP curriculum is more about testing certain skills or general understandings like the English literature test (you don't really have to have read a bunch of literature), just how to write about them and analyse them.

    Since most of my high school education was focused on AP, on my senior year, on a whim I decided to get a IB diploma and I was able to get it almost effortless (only spending extra time outside of class doing the in-class assessment tests and making up for the theory of knowledge class that I had missed). The disadvantage of IB is that you can only take 6 subjects while AP you can take as many as you want. For college preparation, I would definetly say that the AP curriculum helped me more, just because in high school, through the AP program was able to learn statistics and calculus at the same time as well as biology, chemistry and physics and was able to place out of all basic science classes.

    Another idea would be to follow the IB diploma and study for the AP tests on your own after school. Which is really not that hard if you have the discipline. Since the AP exams are only 3 hour tests, you can very well not take the class and just take the test. I did this for several classes and was able to get 5 in a lot of AP classes just by working through the Barron AP books. Good luck, any questions you can PM me.
  28. medgator

    medgator Senior Member Physician 10+ Year Member

    Sep 20, 2004
    Alot of us did this in our high school where we had an IB program. I think IB has that advantage where you can take both sets of exams--- and in florida (at least where I went to HS), the school would pay for your AP exams as well, which was a nice perk. When i got to college, I was able to get more credits by having the AP exams back me up where I had trouble on the IB exam (HL chemistry comes to mind). As far as the sciences go (bio and chem for me at least), I was able to pull off 5's on the AP exams while I didnt get the equivalent 7's on the IB exams. I think its a testament to the rigor of the IB schedule.
  29. SoFla62

    SoFla62 2+ Year Member

    Sep 1, 2006
    Just to put this out there, I did IB as a magnet program in Florida (it sounds like a really similar situation.) The school was far from my house and in the inner city, a big change from the suburbs. That being said, going IB was hands down the best decision I have ever made.

    IB teachers have to undergo extra training/certification and as a result, they tend to be the teachers who actually WANT to be there. The kids chose to be there too, for the most part (and the ones who didn't wound up dropping in the first few years) and so my classmates were intelligent and motivated. On top of that, they were a highly dynamic, fun, talented, diverse group of people. I had friends from all over the world.

    Academically, I was well prepared for college (possibly over-prepared, I was bored my freshman year) and the IB diploma helped me get a full tuition merit-based scholarship to an out of state private school (I didn't have anywhere near a 4.0 but I did graduate 5th in the class. All IB gpas tend to be scaled down somewhat, and schools take that into account.) I would highly highly highly recommend IB - but only if your daughter really wants to be there because it is a commitment.

    That being said, she can also take AP exams along with IB exams. You're not prepared the exact same way, but many of us did that and did well. Just something to think about.

    PM me if you have any questions.

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