Pros and Cons of taking IB exams


Taron Masi, Online Editor

Fenton High School is different from many schools in the district in that they offer students interested in classes that promise more rigor, demand and provide new challenges in their academic careers and alternative to regular education classes. These classes are known as International Baccalaureate, or IB classes, with classes available in all subject areas. These classes don’t just offer students more of a challenge, they also come with the opportunity of earning college credit. Students taking these courses can register for the exam at the end of the year to earn various credits at the college level. As it is a complicated process,choosing whether or not to take a certain course or its exam can be a challenge. Here are some of the pros and cons of doing so. 


  • Credit availability – Many colleges and universities accept certain scores on various IB exams as a means of earning credit. Students have the opportunity to earn a certain number of credits determined by the school after completing a course exam. For example, Michigan State University requires a student to score a 6 or a 7, while Western Michigan University requires a minimum score of 5 in order to get credit. 
  • Recognized internationally – Unlike Advanced Placement (AP) exams, IB exams are recognized for college credit worldwide, meaning universities overseas will accept scores from IB exams for credit to their institution.


  • Fees – Each IB exam a student chooses to take is a separate fee of $199. For those students participating in the full diploma program fees can cost $714 just to take the exams, with more fees included for internal assessments and other commitments.
  • Credit availability – Each higher education institution offers different amounts of credit for different exams. Some universities and colleges will not give any credit to some exams. Some colleges accept only AP scores. Students need to check their desired schools’ website to confirm they will be able to receive credit for an exam before registering. 
  • Attaining a high enough score – Depending on the university or college, students may need to achieve a 6 or 7 out of 7 as a final score to receive any credit. Large amounts of time and effort are needed to be put forth by a student in order to get such a high score.

If a student believes he/she can score well enough on their IB exam and the cost is not an issue, taking the exam might be worth it. Students can stop in the counseling office or see Kelly Boike, the IB coordinator, in the library for more information.