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ISWA offers two Academic Pathways for our Senior School students: the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP), and the U.S. College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP).

  • 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 programmes are more likely to outperform their peers at university or college, and graduate in fewer years.
  • Both are a valid and progressive alternative to the WACE programme, and are recognised for entrance into Western Australian universities.
  • High results in either the IB Diploma Programme or the Advanced Placement can significantly increase eligibility for university scholarships.

Academic Pathways at ISWA

Discover the various academic pathways to Higher Education study locally and internationally, available at International School of Western Australia.

What are the main differences between the IB Diploma Programme and the Advanced Placement? 

The IB Diploma Programme is run over two years, with knowledge being built upon from one year to the next. The full two year programme is examinable in final assessments. 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, Activity, Service (CAS) 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.

Universities and colleges around the world are increasingly keen to enroll DP students (with many offering scholarships).

In the Advanced Placement pathway, students study U.S. College Board courses in-depth over an academic year. AP courses are valued highly at the tertiary level, particularly in the U.S. 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.

Taking AP courses and exams can improve a student’s chances of getting into US colleges and can also help students reduce college costs. AP courses on a school transcript show colleges that a student is capable of learning the content and skills expected of college students, while AP exam scores provide colleges and universities with additional information about a student’s ability to succeed in college-level study.

As with the IB’s Diploma Programme, taking AP courses can also increase eligibility for scholarships.

“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 University

“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).”

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