The IB DP is a two-year comprehensive curriculum with a culminating set of externally graded final exams. IB and Advanced Placement (AP) programs are academically rigorous programs that prepare students for college study. There are important differences, however, in the content and exams. The DP is a cohesive and comprehensive program, not a collection of individual courses as is the case with Advanced Placement. The most important distinguishing factor is the core of the Diploma Programme (CAS, TOK, and extended essay).
A 2015 study obtained by the Educational Policy Improvement Center revealed that students viewed AP only as a means to obtain college credit in high school, while the DP is considered a holistic program that develops strong life-long learners.
Additional studies on program impact are available at www.ibo.org/research.