The Extended Project Qualification
The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is highly valued by universities, with some offering lower conditions if you complete one. It’s equivalent to half an A level (with A* being the top grade).
What does it involve?
You’ll need to produce a 5,000-word essay (or a product and a 1,000 to 3,000-word essay) based on a topic of your choice. However, this isn’t just about writing the essay. It’s about pursuing an investigation from initial idea to completion. You’ll keep a log of your progress, reflect on the decisions you make and the things you learn along the way.
When does it take place?
You will have taught skills lessons in the autumn term which will cover a range of topics like how to choose a title, research and referencing, time management etc. You will then start working on your essay and log from January in Lower Sixth and ideally hand the project in at the end of your Lower Sixth Year. At the end of the process, you’ll also present your findings to teachers and fellow pupils and field their questions.
How is it taught?
Apart from the taught skills element in the autumn term, you won’t have a teacher in the traditional sense. Instead, a member of staff will act as your supervisor and guide. The direction and responsibility of the EPQ is entirely down to you. That’s why, as well as choosing a topic that relates to your proposed university course, it’s a good idea to pick something you feel passionate about.
The EPQ is a great way to broaden your subject knowledge and develop independent research skills.
Here are a few of the questions students have tackled recently:
• An investigation into compassion theory and doping in elite sport.
• How can we look at the future of prosthetic legs by examining present solutions?
• Is solar geoengineering a more economical solution to reducing climate change than cutting carbon emissions?
• To what extent has post-apartheid South Africa’s income inequality increased despite its transition to democracy and its economic growth?
• To what extent are different candidates for Dark Matter plausible and consistent with observational evidence?
• How were J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy works influenced by his study of Medieval poetry?