Extended Project Qualificaiton
Studying the Extended ProJECT Qualification (EPQ)
Introduction by Dr Esslin-Peard: Director of The EPQ
Hear from the Students:
Exam Board: AQA
Entry Criteria: Average Point Score of 6.8 or above at GCSE.
What is the EPQ?
The EPQ is an independent academic research project which involves writing an essay of 5,000 words (around 10 typed pages), or creating a product, which might be anything from an art object to an iPhone app. As the project evolves, you
must complete a production log to record specific stages of the project and this also contributes to your project result. The third component of the project is an oral presentation. Generally, the whole process from start to finish takes about 120 hours. There’s no set time limit for doing an EPQ, but most students use personal time at the end of Year 12 to do the preliminary research and then complete the project in the early part of Year 13. It is a formal ‘level 3’ qualification that
attracts UCAS Tariff points.
You receive teaching and guidance to get you started, to help with planning and researching and presentation skills, and to keep you on track as you work through your chosen project. There’s no formal restriction on what you do the project on:
that is negotiated between you and your project adviser, who will help you choose a topic you will enjoy and cope with.
The three assessments which decide your result are done by your teachers, though the exam board ‘moderates’ their marks to check they’re grading correctly. However, Extended Project Qualification Projects are student-driven qualifications, giving you the freedom and responsibility to select topics and projects you are interested in.
When completing a project qualification, you will follow a clearly structured process: you will plan, research your topic and create a product. The product of your project can be in one of three formats:
• a research-based written report
• a production (e.g. charity event, fashion show, sports event etc.) supported by a written report.
• an artefact* (e.g. a piece of art, a computer game, a realised design) supported by a written report.
This work is all recorded in your Production Log and, finally, you will deliver a presentation. During the process, you will develop as an independent, reflective learner and acquire knowledge and transferable skills that are invaluable for further study and the workplace.
You will be assessed on the product of your project and on the process itself.
The EPQ allows you to develop skills that are highly regarded by Universities and can, in some cases, lead to reduced offers if it is completed.
What is the benefit of completing an EPQ?
The Extended Project Qualification teaches you some key high-level skills that individual A Level courses don’t have time to include, and many students say it adds considerable interest to their sixth form programme. However, there are also several major benefits to completing an EPQ when it comes to applying to university. At its simplest, EPQ helps you with UCAS points – EPQ is valued at 50% of a full A Level in the UCAS tariff. But perhaps the greatest advantage of an EPQ is in helping convince top universities to make you an offer.
EPQ provides very clear evidence that you have interests and ability which go beyond the A Level curriculum. It demonstrates clearly that you are capable of undertaking the kind of independent reading, research, and essay writing that is the mainstay of most undergraduate degrees.
This can be important in the UCAS application process where universities often have little to distinguish between students with similar predicted grades.
Additionally, an EPQ provides highly relevant material for your UCAS Personal Statement and
for you to talk about in university interviews.
For more information, contact Dr M Esslin-Peard