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The Extended Project Qualification
Coordinators: Mr N H Denman and Dr T Durno
What is the EPQ?
The EPQ is an opportunity for 6th form students to undertake a serious research project on a topic of their own choosing. They will work on their project independently, but with guidance from staff. The finished project is assessed at school, and then moderated and graded by an exam board. It counts as half an A-level and is worth the same UCAS points as an AS-level, but is graded from A* to E.
What sort of project could it be?
Ø A written report of approx 5000 words, eg extended essay, investigation of a hypothesis, or an academic report
Ø Or, a written report of at least 1000 words together with other evidence of extended work such as a video, CD, DVD, model, performance etc
Ø You can work as a group as long as each student’s contribution is clearly identifiable as a separate element and recorded separately. (NB this option is not recommended and would need to be carefully discussed in advance)
What else is involved?
The written report and / or other evidence of work must be accompanied by
Ø A completed project log, detailing your initial ideas, plans, research methods, resources used, record of advice from supervisor, development of ideas, record of the presentation and a reflection on the process of producing the project.
Ø A presentation of your completed project; this will probably be a group presentation to other students and staff such as a PowerPoint show or a short lecture and must include a question and answer element to a non-expert audience.
Why would students want to volunteer for extra work?
Ø AS and A2 examinations are restricted by detailed syllabus specifications. This is a chance to develop knowledge and expertise in an area that really interests the individual. It could follow on from work done in one of their subjects as long as it moves well away from the syllabus, or a combination of subjects, or in a completely different area.
Ø The EPQ allows students to develop and demonstrate independent research and study skills which will be needed at university. It would be excellent to show or talk about at university interviews.
When would the project be done and what commitment is needed?
1. Students are invited to come along to some of the U6 EPQ presentations taking place in the Autumn term; this is the best way to get some ideas, see what is involved and ask some questions about doing a project.
2. Students are then invited to volunteer to be involved in the programme in December.
3. They will then need to commit to attend EPQ training sessions on Friday afternoons in the Spring term. These will cover advice on doing serious academic research, introduce them to the possibility of joining and using university libraries, show them how to do proper academic referencing and bibliographies, and how to complete the project log. There may also be time for individual advice and guidance to help choose a suitable project title.
4. Those who complete the sessions will then need to find a member of staff to be their supervisor. They will need to arrange an initial planning meeting before Easter and then produce a project plan which needs to be submitted by the first week of the summer term.
5. Then they forget about the project and concentrate on their AS examinations! Once the exams are over students should continue their research and arrange to meet again with their supervisor to check on progress, completing both the planning review and the ‘mid-project review’ by the end of the summer term.
6. Then the majority of the work must be completed over the summer holidays!
7. Students can sign up to EPQ sessions during the U6 Skills &Service programme during the autumn term, where they can get help and advice with completing their project log and in preparing their presentations.
8. Ideally students should complete their project by December in the Upper Sixth, but the final deadline is a week before the Easter holidays.
9. The EPQ programme is entirely voluntary and students may withdraw at any stage. If they complete their project then it will be submitted to the examination board after Easter and a grade will be awarded in August along with other A-level results.
“The EPQ is a lot of hard work but it’s a really good thing to do. It gives you the chance to explore something you are really passionate about.” Current Sixth Form Student