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Course Difficulty Ap/Ib Coursework

Once you enter high school, you will have the opportunity to start taking more advanced courses under the Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) system. These classes are meant to assess your readiness and prepare you for the fast pace and challenging material of college classes. College Admissions Officers love to see students take these courses because it shows them that the student has challenged themselves and has been actively been preparing themselves to succeed in college.


However, these advanced courses are no joke. In order to do well in these classes, students have to develop a more disciplined work ethic and sometimes study in a completely different way. What exactly does it take to succeed in one of these classes? We at CollegeVine have compiled our top six tips to help you tackle your first AP/IB class.


A Brief Introduction to the AP and IB systems


The Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate systems offer college-level courses at the high school level for students who want to challenge themselves with rigorous coursework and earn college credit. We at CollegeVine have covered both of these types of classes in detail. Feel free to review these previous blog posts for some more detailed information about AP and IB classes and exams:


The CollegeVine Guides to the AP Program

To IB or not to IB: Is International Baccalaureate Right For You?

How to Earn an IB Diploma

The Beginner’s Guide to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program

Should I Take an AP/IB/Honors Class?


Benefits of Taking an AP/IB Class:


As a student, you can gain a lot by taking one of these advanced, challenging courses. Some of these benefits include:


  • Showing colleges that you can handle college-level coursework: The grades you get in these classes along with your scores on the AP/IB exams can be sent to college to show them that you not only learned this material but mastered it in an advanced classroom setting.


  • Learning college material at a cheaper price than a college class: Most of the material you learn in an AP/IB class is the same material that you would learn in an introductory class in college. The difference is that an AP/IB class has minimal fees, whereas a college class costs a few hundred dollars minimum. Thus, the financial benefits of going through this system are large.


  • Earning College Credit:By passing the IB/AP exams, you can earn academic credit that can be transferred to your college. With this credit, you could possibly opt out of some college introductory courses or start college with enough academic credit to be considered a sophomore or junior.


  • Challenging Yourself:These classes are not like the ones you may have taken before. You are going to have to quickly learn new study strategies so that you can study more efficiently and effectively in a smaller amount of time. These study skills will be extremely helpful in college and the future.


Especially if you’re taking more than one AP/IB class at the same time, you may feel overwhelmed at the sudden increase in standards and workload. We at CollegeVine want you to succeed in your first AP/IB course so that you can impress colleges with your coursework and earn valuable academic credit for college. Here are our best tips for success in these advanced courses.


6 Tips for Success


1. Organize


The time of teachers telling you exactly what school supplies you need for a class (a folder, a notebook, a binder?) are over. While some AP/IB teachers may require you to have certain things like a notebook to turn in assignments or a pen for exams, most teachers of these advanced courses do not care how or if you organize your materials. It’s up to you to do that on your own.


We at CollegeVine highly recommend having a binder, a notebook, or at least a folder for each AP/IB course you are taking. Organize each notebook, folder, or binder based on how each course is organized. For example, if the course is taught based on chapters, have a tab or a separate folder for each chapter. If the course is organized into geographic regions or time periods (as with most history courses), you can compartmentalize your materials that way. Either way, find a way to organize your work so that you know where all of your notes, handouts, and other study materials are at all times.


This way, you’ll always have all of your classwork ready to go. This is essential because unlike some of your previous courses, you will probably need to know the information on most, if not all, of the handouts and lectures that are presented to you in your AP/IB classes. If you lose a page of notes or a worksheet, you may miss valuable material and unnecessarily lose points on an exam.


2. Take Notes


DO NOT fall into the trap of thinking that you will remember everything that a teacher is talking about during a lecture. While you may be able to remember the surface-level concepts presented in class, you will be almost always be tested on the finer details that are less easy to retain in your brain. Thus, it’s important to take notes during class so that you can have the material to review later.


While you’re taking notes, don’t just write down a few keywords here and there. Make sure to make a detailed summary of what the teacher is saying. Bullet points are fine, and you shouldn’t try to transcribe the whole lecture, but you should definitely write down enough to where you could completely forget the material, come back and look at your notes, and have a decent understanding of what was said.


Some teachers nowadays are letting students take notes on their laptops, and while this is certainly a fast way to note down a lot of material,  just know that it has been scientifically proven that students retain more information when they use hand-written notes instead of typing their notes.  An article in Scientific American explains this phenomenon.

Is any one here can explain this question:
List the courses in which you have taught this student, including the level of course difficulty (AP, IB, accelerated, honors, elective; 100-level, 200-level; etc.).
Actually, I am professor and I am asked to recomend an International student via common Application. But I am not familiar with these courses, please help me !

An AP course is an Advanced Placement course or college level courses that high school students enroll in as preparation for their college studies. Consider it a primer on college level courses. It prepares the student for eventual college integration. IB stands for International Baccalaureate. It is an educational program that children from the age of 3-19 can study. This is a certification that is also given to any student who completes a 4 year college course. Accelerated courses are shorter versions of college classes normally completed within 5-8 weeks. Basically, a professor can make a recommendation letter based upon an understanding of the student whom he or she has taught in (most commonly) an IB setting. I believe you are recommending this student for a masters degree program? You just need to talk about his ability to understand instruction, his learning abilities as per your observation, any special qualities he has a student, his worth ethic, etc.

In our country we do not have such courses so what can I report???

Don't panic. Don't worry. There is a way to do this even though your country does not offer those educational courses. All you have to do is explain in the letter that your country does not have equivalent courses so you will just be recommending the student based upon the classes that you taught which he/she participated in and base any grading comments upon your own country's standards. That way you can deliver an acceptable recommendation letter without having to lie about the course that the student took under your tutelage. Just be honest, tell them you are not familiar with those courses but that you feel that the student should be considered for further studies based upon your observation of his/her study habits and academic performance. That should work just fine.

'He deserves to be admitted' - Recommendation Evaluation for my International Student

Excuse me I am a teacher but english is my third language so I am glad to give me some help to complete this Recommendation Letter and thanks...

To whom it may concern:

I have the pleasure to write a recommendation letter for my student XXX, a core part in my Analytic Mathematics and Geometry class. So, I take the chance to illustrate his potential as a pool of talents and capacities because as I know him for almost 3 years. This familiarity with his personality helps me most to paint a clear picture of him.

I remember when I asked a question in 9th grade about the condition that makes two circles non-intersected. Pupils became confused and didn't get the answer, as he raised his hand and answered concisely that distance between the two centers must be superior of the sum of the two radiuses. His unique reflex as well as his self-confidence gives me a clear idea since the beginning of the year that, one day, he will have a big future not only in high school but also in any community that he will belong to.

As I see his contribution to class-debates, I came to realize his strong critical thinking and vision that even some teachers don't have. I see that he always give interesting insights that push forward the analysis of issues and increase the level of the debate. I pay attention to his meticulous, technical, eloquent and courageous yet concise interferences.

I am totally bedazzled by his capacity to deliver an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of even complex problems.

Another aspect of his personality is his rapid integration within the community. In fact, despite being new in the whole city and school, he takes part of a wide network of friendships, simply because he is helpful, respectful and tolerant. He is always a back for moral support when his peers go down. XXX, highly respected by his peers, becomes a leader of the community as he guides projects and plans programs regarding his wisdom and long-sight. His presentation (which I considered the most well-structured and well-organized project that I ever assist during my 17 year-career as teacher) demonstrates his high leadership skills. I praise his presentation as the fruit of hard-work during the all school year. Under the pressure of work Med Anouar makes his classmates comfortable as he always gives a thrill in the Air.

I recommend X enthusiastically to college and I see that he deserves the admission because the future belongs to the ones who believe in the beauty of their dreams". I see him as a strong competitor regarding his explosive qualities and I think that he is a pearl that should be exactly in its honorable community.

I caught grammar issues that need to be addressed. I am also going to show you a better way of presenting your statements. The corrections are as follows:


- I am pleased to recommend my student XXX for admission to your school. I am his teacher in Analytic Mathematics and Geometry. I have observed his potential as a student and observed his talent to a great extent since he has been under my tutelage for the past 3 years.

the condition that makes ...

- XXX first came to my attention when I became his teacher in the 9th grade. I remember asking about...

His unique reflex as well as his self-confidence me a clear idea that, one day, he will ...

- ... confidencegave me...

- In class debates, he always gave interesting insights and analysis of debatable issues that helped to increase the level of the debate. He always displayed a sense of thoroughness, eloquence, and conciseness in his answers.

- You can merge this with the above paragraph instead. It is really short. But still discusses his student characteristics.

-He is a sociable person who does not have problems making new friends. He has always been highly respected by his peers because of his wisdom, insight, and moral support for those in need. He also displays leadership skills that proved to be valuable to him as a student since his peers always looked up to him.

I recommend X enthusiastically to college and I see that [...] is a pearl that should be exactly in its honorable community.

- For these reasons. I highly recommend XXX for admission into your university. He deserves to be admitted because of the aforementioned qualities that would make him a fine addition to any university community.

Aside from the concluding paragraph, you can merge all of the corrected paragraphs into one. A recommendation letter should not be too long. 2 or 3 paragraphs will do. It should only be an overview of your opinion of the student. No need to offer samples of his academic breakthroughs. That is for the student to discuss and prove.

You think that I must rewrite it? OR only take notice of your remarks only?

To be very clear, you need to revise the way that you wrote the letter. Do not just note my remarks. Pay attention to the way I rewrote the parts of the essay for you. That is to serve as your guide in writing this recommendation letter properly. You do not need to talk about the student in a highly detailed manner. You just need to discuss the student in terms of how familiar you are with him as a student. His good characteristics and his possible shortcomings or difficulties in learning. Then commend his special skills and academic achievements if any. That is all you need to discuss in the letter. Nothing more.

The student should have provided you with a recommendation letter prompt for the university he is applying to. The prompt are the guide questions from the university that concern the qualities of a student that they are looking for. The university is supposed to give you a set of questions to answer in letter format, or at least provide you with a discussion topic in order to to help you present the student to them from the point of view of a trusted academic instructor. Ask the student for a copy of that if he has not given it to you yet. Without it, you will find it difficult to write the recommendation because English is not your first or second language.

Just a few revisions that you have to apply to the letter. lines across a word or strikeouts mean that you have to delete that sentence. When necessary, you will see a revised version of the text written in red. Those are the corrections you should use in the letter.

I remember asking about condition

- I remember asking about the conditions...

didn't get the answe raised his hand

- ... the answer . He raised his...

gave me a clear idea that one day, he will have a big future

You were able to improve the content of the letter tremendously. This is a good and solid recommendation letter that your student should be happy to submit along with his other documents :-)

I wrote another letter I guess that it's more stronger then the previous:

I have asked to write a recommendation letter for a student that I have the pleasure to teach him:XXX. So it's an opportunity to illustrate his talents .For 3 years in my Physics class, I have been always bound to discover something new in him. I found him as perfect student with high intellectual level since the first time I meet him in his 9th grade class. I was impressed by his diligence and work ethic. Also, he demonstrated a high level of maturity and leadership skills that seem outstanding to me.

XXX has astonishing analyzing and interpretation skills. He is able to successfully cope with Scientific Experiments with high proficiency and accuracy. When I present an experiment or an issue to discuss as part of the course, he is always there to answer concisely analyzing the experiment and providing a witty conclusion, he was even meticulous raising debate and searching for demonstration for even aberrant results. When I correct his tests, I found future scientist spirit in the answers especially with the detail and construe that other students are not able to provide. He was always seeking additional knowledge as we argue after each physics session with related topics. His curiosity is a character that I liked most in him. As part of a trimester project, he developed an innovative collaborative research about modern physics with his classmates. This research is now being considered for publication. Despite being under pressure Med Anouar not only headed the project but also ensured its success by demonstrating leadership abilities that his peers both admired and respected: He perfectly distributes the work between classmates and manages time in order to get the research ready in the time. I am, also, aware that XXX is fully responsible as he holds down a part-time job while keeping academic achievement.

I must also make note of XXX personal academic performance. Out of a class of 150 students, XXX graduated with honors in the top 5. His excellent performance is a direct result of his hard work and strong focus. I would say that he is in the top 10% of all students I have taught.

If your undergraduate scientific program is seeking superior candidates with a record of achievement, XXX is an excellent choice. He has consistently demonstrated an ability to rise to any challenge that he must face. I can not foresee any circumstances in which he would disappoint college level work and scientific research. I am certain he will succeed in scientific field. I give him my strong recommendation.

Since it seems that you cannot leave well enough alone, I will correct this new letter for you. You should know by now what the color codes and strike outs mean. I really do not understand why you had to change the previous version. I hope this will be the last version that you will write because the more you try to add information to your letter, the worse it gets correction wise. Then you will find yourself never really being satisfied with the letter you submitted. You only need 1 well written letter for this student. Not numerous versions that just go overboard in talking about the student. A simple paragraph or two will suffice. He has to prove his ability to enter the school. Not you. You can only recommend his study ethic and character as a student. Keep in mind, he will not get into the school if he does not qualify for admission. Regardless of how strong your recommendation letter is. Just a word of caution and advice. The university will only consider your recommendation to a certain degree when considering his application.


- I had the pleasure of being the academic instructor of XXX for 3 years in the subject of Physics. I had an interesting experience with him as a student because XXX amazed me with with scientific mind and academic abilities. He was one of the highest performing students in his 9th grade class due to his high level of maturity and outstanding leadership skills.

- XXX is a highly gifted student with astonishing analytical and interpretative skills with an uncanny ability to cope with scientific experiments with a high level of proficiency and accuracy. He was born with a curious scientific spirit and an attention to detail and meticulousness in his work that I have never before seen in a student.

- I was specially impressed with his trimester project regarding an innovative research project that he collaborated on with his classmates as their work is now being considered for publication by a scientific journal in our country. He is an exemplary leader who inspires his classmates because he manages to work and study at the same time. In fact, he headed the team researching the aforementioned project while also working and studying, displaying a degree of responsibility that even adults sometimes do not have.

If your undergraduate scientific program is seeking [...] I give him my strong recommendation.

-It is for these reasons that I believe XXX will be an excellent addition to your university roster of students. He will not disappoint you as a student and a leader in the student community.

I am trying to avoid hurting his admission because I am not familiar with US Universities and admission offices
ok I will take your correction
you think it's suitable enough?

Don't worry about hurting his chances for admission. Your letter is almost the least of the admissions committee's priorities when considering the admission of a student. The burden of proving his worthiness for admission falls to the student. That means that aside from your letter, they will also consider his transcript of records (grades), his academic achievements (honors), notable achievements (his possible publication),his relevant volunteer activities and internships related to the major he applied for ( the part time job if it aligns with his chosen major), and a host of student essays based upon their specific prompts that serve as his preliminary interview, to name but a few of the more important considerations of the college or university.

Your recommendation is just a testimony to the fact that he is capable of performing as a student and will be a good addition to the student roster if admitted. There is no pressure on you to deliver anything in the letter. Your recommendation letter does not guarantee his admittance. His academic performance until he graduated is what will speak the loudest for him. So in answer to your question, yes, this 2nd version of the letter is more than suitable for the purpose that you you wrote it for :-)

Thank you I understand now.

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