We enjoyed a wonderful A-level results day with our Year 13 students this summer, and among the huge successes were those who took the EPQ with 100% of passes at grades A* or A. Here we tell you a bit more about this subject and why it is such a great choice at A-level.
What is EPQ?
In the words of the examining body, AQA, the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) is “an A-level standard standalone qualification designed to extend and develop students’ abilities beyond the A-level syllabus and prepare for university or their future career. It can be taken as an extension of other Level 3 qualifications or vocational qualifications and is worth half an A-level (28 UCAS points). It’s recognised by universities and employers, and many universities make lower A-level offers to students undertaking an EPQ.”
How it works.
The EPQ allows students to lead their own projects. Students get to plan and carry out research on a topic that they’ve chosen and isn’t covered by their other qualifications. They can take inspiration from something touched on in class or something personal and unrelated to their studies.
They then use this research to produce a written report and, in the case of practical projects, an artefact or a production. By taking responsibility for the choice, design and decision making of an individual project (or an individual role in a group project) students:
- become more critical, reflective and independent learners
- develop and apply decision-making and problem-solving skills
- increase their planning, research, analysis, synthesis, evaluation and presentation skills
- learn to apply technologies confidently
- demonstrate creativity, initiative and enterprise.
By offering the EPQ at A-level we are giving our students a great opportunity to focus on something they are really interested in, and work independently with staff supervision to achieve a university level piece of work. It really is a great experience and great practice for the type of study undertaken at university. And it clearly works, looking at the results achieved this year.
Here are some of the project titles chosen by our Year 13 students this year:
Is there a link between ACES and ASPD?
What is the difference (if any) in destructive power between the “Fat Man” and “Tsar Bomba” nuclear detonations, and why is such a difference present?
Which is the most important factor influencing Lewis Hamilton’s success between 2007 and 2021?
How bitemarks and dental imprints are used in criminal investigations
How fake news might influence young people’s engagement with the political process
Ethnic disparities in maternal healthcare
To what effect does the contraceptive pill have an increased effect on anxiety and depression in teenagers?
Phantom Limb Pain: History, Research and Treatment
Can regenerative medicine fix the organ transplant crisis?
Reasons for the downfall of the Ottoman Empire
Are mandatory vaccinations scientifically and ethically justified?
Assessing the case for Universal Basic Income
This variety of topics goes to show the length and breadth of our students’ interests and passions. Studying for the EPQ gives them the scope to really research and delve into their chosen subjects and express their findings in a way that is hugely beneficial to them, to their UCAS applications, to their futures and to the results of the school as a whole.
Most of them used the EPQ as evidence to support their university application for their chosen university and degree, proving their ability to successfully study at undergraduate level in the future. Universities really do see the value of the EPQ and adjust their entry criteria to reflect this, giving more students the chance of success. It really is worth doing and is an excellent way to get an insight and a head start into higher education. We’re proud to offer it and delighted that many students choose to pursue it and achieve such great results.