APs and IBs: What are the Rewards for the Struggle?


Simran Kaur

Sophia Ugorets, Staff Writer

Minnetonka High School is a competitive school which offers a variety of courses ranging in difficulty. If a student hasn’t yet taken a college-level course, it may seem daunting. College-level content, more intense coursework, and a single exam at the end of the year that determines whether or not college credit can be earned are all aspects of AP and IB courses that can definitely intimidate students. Although, teachers and students both recognize that these more intense courses still bring benefits alongside their challenges that can make them worth taking.

Mr. Whitcomb is a teacher of AP Calculus and believes “the calculus topics covered in AP Calculus are well aligned with those taught in college classrooms.” Although, high school students taking this class get an advantage as there is a smaller student to teacher ratio and more opportunities for extra help.

Despite minor curriculum differences, Whitcomb explains that, “the obvious difference is how a student earns credit.” Unlike colleges which have multiple exams throughout a semester that can impact whether or not a student will pass the course, students in AP classes have one exam in May which determines if they will receive college credit.

Profe Fitzpatrick is a teacher of IB Spanish, among other courses. She believes that IB classes attract students who are “principled, open-minded, inquisitive, balanced, caring, curious, communicative, brave, knowledgeable and reflective.”

IB language classes differ from other language classes since they center the curriculum through “exploring the five IB themes: identities, experiences, how we share the planet, social organization and human ingenuity” Fitzpatrick elaborates.

Fitzpatrick adds that the incentive of specifically an IB language course is that, “students will have a profound and challenging learning experience” as well as, “improved language skills, looking great on college applications and a weighted grade.”

Nick Kucherenko, ‘23, is a student at Minnetonka who has taken multiple AP courses throughout his highschool career.

Kucherenko reflected on his choice of taking AP classes, “I personally feel that AP classes were worth my time due to the skills I’ve developed from them including learning how to manage a fast-paced environment and how to comprehend more complex concepts.”

Ayesha Yousef, ‘24, is an IB Diploma Candidate, so she is very familiar with IB courses.

Ayesha comments on what she likes about IB courses by noting that “it’s not a lot of test taking and it’s much more writing based. I also enjoy how we do a lot of in class discussions and go in depth with the subjects we study.”

Overall, students and teachers alike view AP and IB courses as a worthwhile challenge for the right student. Not only do students gain more concrete knowledge and skills that will be useful throughout their lives but also a chance to earn college credit.