What is the EPQ?
The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a qualification that enables you to complete an in depth and detailed project, beyond what is normally produced at A-level. The outcome of your project can be anything from an essay, a piece of artwork, to a performance. You are free to choose the subject area you plan to research and the type of project you produce; students often choose an area of interest they already have. The EPQ offers the opportunity to demonstrate skills which you are not able to through your A-levels, such as planning, managing, researching and presenting a large project. This is a rare opportunity to work on a project where you have the freedom to choose whatever topic you are interested, however obscure and develop the project however you want.
Why do an EPQ?
There are many reasons students carry out an EPQ:
-It is worth the equivalent of an AS level, and UCAS points associated with it (A* = 70).
-Many students find it valuable when applying for university, as many choose to do the EPQ on a related subject to what they want to study at university. This shows their interest in the subject and gives a topic to talk about in depth at an interview.
-It demonstrates essential skills that are you are expected to develop quickly at university that are not always part of an A-level: managing a project over many months on your own, critiquing academic sources, justifying the decisions you make along the way, and showing independent thought. Dr Geoff Parks, director of admissions at Cambridge University:
"They give students the opportunity to get deeply involved in a subject that interests them, to develop research and critical thinking skills, to pull together learning from other subjects and to develop extended writing skills - all of which are hugely valuable preparation for university study.”
-Interest in a subject area. If you are going to be studying a topic for many months it has to be interesting to you! Many students enjoy researching and have to opportunity to go into undergraduate-level detail and understanding of a particular subject area and speak to experts in a particular field.
How is the EPQ completed?
You will be assigned a teacher who you will see once a week to teach you the skills needed, discuss your progress and give you the opportunity to work on your project with your peers . You will also be timetabled for four periods per week and must use this time to complete your project.
As part of the presentation part of the course you will have an opportunity to present your findings at the end of the course.
When is the EPQ studied?
You should start you research, reading relevant books and contacting relevant sources in Autumn 1. You should have aim to have all the research finished by the end of the first half term.
The autumn term is when you should do the majority of the writing of the dissertation and some of the supporting documents.
In the first week after the Christmas holidays you will need to show your mentor your completed dissertation.
During the first half of the spring term you will be completing supporting documents, evaluation of your project and presenting your findings.
Final submission date is the first week back after February half term.
Marks are published at the same time as A levels, in August.