International and local academic pathways

Graduates from ISWA have the ability to go on to further study at prestigious universities around the world. This is due to a number of factors: our strong academic offering to meet the needs of our diverse student body, our outstanding college counselling program, and our choice of either International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) pathways for senior school students – both highly regarded for entry into local and international universities. ISWA is currently the only school in Australia to offer the AP pathway.

Watch our short Academic Pathways video


What are the differences between the International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement pathways?

Both the IB and the AP are internationally recognised paths of study, and both are academically challenging. Universities across the globe welcome students from both pathways, as evidence shows that students in both programs are more likely to outperform their peers at university or college, and graduate in fewer years.

The IB Diploma Program is run over two years. In addition to studying 6 subjects, students study Theory of Knowledge, and are required to research and write a 4000-word extended essay on a topic of their choice. The extended essay familiarises students with the independent research and writing skills expected at university. IB students must also complete a Creativity, Action, Service module outside of the classroom. This module encourages students to develop interests in the arts, sport and helping the community, developing them into well-rounded, contributing members of society.

In the Advance Placement pathway students study US College Board courses in-depth over an academic year. Because of the advanced level of study, many North American universities admit AP graduates directly into their second year of study, as they consider the AP study equivalent to first year college. AP results are recognised at many universities around the world.

“We all know the value of both programs. Both offer rigorous course work. We don’t preference either one.”
William Fitzsimmons, Director of Admissions, Harvard
“The University of Western Australia welcomes applications from students who have completed the AP program (generous weighting to scores from the AP). The International Baccalaureate Diploma is welcomed for admission to UWA. UWA offers a selection rank bonus to International Baccalaureate Diploma students, acknowledging their achievement in studying a language other than English (LOTE).”
The University of Western Australia

More detailed information about these pathways can be found on our IB Diploma and Advanced Placement pages.

College Counselling Program

ISWA offers a college counselling program to all our students, to help students decide on the pathway that is right for them. Our College Counsellor also assists students with their international university applications, and helps students navigate the often complicated admissions processes and timelines. We also utilize expert consultants from both the US and the UK to support students and families with those specific entrance requirements.

College Admissions Tests


The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States. Most colleges require SAT scores because the results are the only common comparison they have between students coming from a variety of schools and backgrounds. For students going to the USA or Canada, SATs (or the similar ACT test) are required by almost all universities. Non-USA students applying from schools may be required to submit SAT scores if applying to universities in their home countries. The PSAT is encouraged as a practice SAT. Online practice materials are available on Khan Academy

More information available at:   

ISWA test dates:  Saturday 5 May 2018, Saturday 6th October 2018, Saturday 4th May 2019

Register via the US College Board website above. ISWA test venue code: 87 334


The Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test follows the SAT format (with verbal, math, and writing sections) is a formalised practice test for the SAT and gives an early indication of likely future SAT scores. Colleges will never receive PSAT scores; only students, parents and the school will be able to view them.

More information available at:   

ISWA test date (ISWA students only): Wednesday 10 October 2018, from 8.35am-12.25pm.

Register via the Careers and College Counsellor, Ms Laura Nicholson 


The ACT is a college admissions test similar to the SAT. While it used to be that colleges preferred one or the other, all colleges now accept either test. The ACT test consists of four sections: English, Mathematics, Reading Comprehension, and Science Reasoning. While most students earn equivalent scores on the ACT and the SAT, some students do better on the ACT than the SAT or vice versa. Practice materials are available via

ISWA test dates: Saturday 13 April, 2019

More information available at: Register directly via the ACT website above. ISWA test venue code: 87 1300