The Extended Project Qualification
The Extended Project is a single piece of work of a student's choosing that requires evidence of planning, preparation, research and independent learning. It is worth half an A level and allows students to demonstrate the skills and work ethic appreciated by universities.
An Extended Project Qualification, or EPQ, is an independent research project which involves writing an essay of 5000 words or creating a product, which might be anything from an art object to an iPhone app. As the project evolves, you complete a production log to record specific stages of the project and provide details of your research, analysis and reflection to the examiner. You also need to complete an oral presentation.
Generally, the whole process from start to finish takes about 120 hours. We officially start our EPQs in September of Year 12, but there is plenty you can be doing now to prepare, and therefore reduce your workload in the busy autumn term. Most students will complete their EPQ by June of Year 12.
We follow the AQA Level 3 EPQ Specification (attached below), and you need to attend EPQ lessons for taught skills (about 30 hours), as well as having scheduled time with a project supervisor. The taught skills lessons help with planning, researching, writing, referencing and presentation skills, and your supervisor will provide you with individual advice and guidance on your project. Your supervisor will mark your project, but these will also be moderated through the exam board to ensure marking is fair and consistent.
The Extended Project Qualification teaches you some key high-level skills that individual A-level courses don't have time to include.
However, there are also several major benefits to completing an EPQ when it comes to applying to university.
An EPQ is the longest and most extensive project that you will do during your school years, so it stretches your normal skills. The EPQ requires:
The single biggest thing you can do to prepare for your EPQ before arriving is to decide what you want your EPQ to be about. Choosing your topic is easy for some students, and very tricky and time consuming for others. Here’s what you should be doing now:
1. Understand what the EPQ is:
a. Watch this video for an introduction to the EPQ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-ZQeWz5Ssk
2. Identify a topic that you want to write about or design something around.
a. Watch this video. It is aimed at choosing a university project, but the same principles apply. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjuvdglDyoY
b. Download the choosing a title booklet here. You can fill this in online or print it out. Take your time and include as much detail as you can, this will form the start of your written log when you begin the course fully in September.
3. Start some research around your topic. This will help guide your research further: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QbrUjLASxc
4. Make sure you bring your work to school in September!