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Extended project qualification (EPQ)

During the Sixth Form, students have the opportunity to complete an EPQ. This is the AQA Extended Project Qualification. It is a self-taught and researched, individual project, and students are allocated a member of teaching staff who acts as their EPQ Supervisor and monitors their progress.

EPQ students will choose an area of interest that is not directly covered by their A Level subjects, and then research and produce a 5,000 word report OR complete research to produce an artefact or product and an accompanying 2-3,000 word report. They are expected to complete ninety hours of self-guided work. Students complete their research and work on a project logbook between in the spring and summer terms of year 12, and then produce their draft report over the summer holidays between year 12 and year 13. In the autumn term of year 13 they work on polishing their final draft, as well as giving a presentation about their EPQ journey and finishing their project logbook. In the spring term their project is submitted for marking and moderation.

The EPQ qualification is worth UCAS points equivalent to half an A Level. Around 30,000 students a year complete an EPQ, and it is an excellent opportunity for students to develop their research skills, improve their skills of organisation and time management, and to enhance their UCAS application. Many top universities are keen to see students undertaking an EPQ, as it shows passion for their chosen subject, as well as being very good preparation for study at a university level.

The EPQ suits students who are:

  • Well-motivated.
  • Achieving their minimum target grades in their A-level-subjects in year 12.
  • Looking for a challenge.
  • Interested in enhancing their university application.
  • Interested in studying a topic of personal interest outside of their A Level studies.
  • Keen to develop their research and essay writing skills.

EPQ allows students to extend their abilities beyond the A Level syllabus and prepare for university or their future career. It is worth half an A-level (28 UCAS points) so can be used to earn extra UCAS points. We are seeing more and more universities including EPQ in their offers, and sometimes the successful completion of an EPQ can lead to a reduced/lower offer from universities for acceptance onto courses.

Students apply to undertake an EPQ in December of year 12. This is done via letter to the Subject Leader for EPQ, Mrs Moy. Acceptance onto the EPQ is based upon the strength of this letter as well as on the report card issued at Christmas.

EPQ by its very nature is very enriching. It will develop your skills of self-motivation, independent working, and communication. You will have a weekly on-line module to access and read on a variety topics from using data as evidence to critical evaluation of sources. You will also have fortnightly one-on-one meetings with your EPQ supervisor.

Students are surveyed upon completion of the EPQ and last years’ students were asked ‘What did you enjoy most about undertaking an EPQ?’
They responded:

  • 'The challenge of independent learning, developing your interests, and putting them into use.'
  • 'The skills and knowledge that I gained from the experience.'
  • 'Researching a topic that I love.'
  • 'Being able to study about something out of the normal school syllabus which is related to my prospective university degree.'
  • 'I enjoyed the presentation aspect of the course; it was a nice experience to present what I had learnt to others, and to look back at all of the key skills that I gained through partaking in the project.'
  • 'The benefits to my UCAS application.'
  • 'Developing my skills of long term management, organisation, and independent learning.'
  • 'Learning to teach myself, and fuelling my curiosity on a subject that I am passionate about.'
  • 'Being able to explore in detail a topic that I want to pursue in the next five years.'