What is an EPQ and Why Should I do one? (EPQ Advice #1)

Relevant to
I’m coming to the end of my EPQ project this month, so I thought I’d offer some advice to those of you considering doing an EPQ as I know it’s a pretty big commitment to make. Hopefully this will be the first of a few blogs I’ll be writing about my experience so keep an eye out if you want to know more details!

I wrote an essay for my ‘final product’ so that’s what I’ll be focusing on in these blogs – sorry but unfortunately I don’t know much about the ‘artefact’ option so I can’t offer much on that!

An EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) is, to put it simply, a BIG independent project for which you’ll earn an AS-level once completed (so yes, you’ll get a final grade). It involves (in my case) writing an essay of about 5000 words, a pretty long piece of paperwork about your research and how you approached your project, and a final presentation where you’ll talk through this essay and paperwork. Alternatively you can make an ‘artefact’ - this can be a piece of artwork, or something else you’ve physically made – and an accompanying shorter essay. Depending on your college/sixth form, you might get some guidance on how to go about the EPQ, but you’ll have to do most of it in your own allocated time, so you need to be able to organise your other subjects and commitments around this.

Perhaps the BEST thing about an EPQ is that you can choose your topic and project title. As long as your topic and title give you enough to talk about in an ‘academic’ style, you can do whatever you want! This is exciting, yes, but there are a couple of things you might want to consider if you want to get the most out of an EPQ - I’ll cover this in my next blog.

So what are the benefits of an EPQ? The biggest benefit for me was practice for university. I’m going to be studying English Literature so obviously essays are going to be on the agenda. I feel a lot more confident going into uni having written a 5000 word essay in an academic style AND based on my own research and ideas. For some people, an EPQ can also help you get into uni in the first place as not only does it look great on your personal statement, but some courses offer lower grade
requirements if you get a certain grade in your EPQ. If this sounds AMAZING to you and is likely to determine whether you do an EPQ or not, I seriously advise you to check with your prospective universities to see if they will lower grade requirements (because some won’t!!!). Finally, as cliché as it sounds, an EPQ can be fun. If you choose a topic you enjoy and you keep on top of what you have to do, it’s nice to be in charge of a whole subject for yourself.

Watch out for my next EPQ blog instalment (sometime next week) where I’ll give some tips on choosing a topic. I’ll also be revealing what MY EPQ topic and title is! It’s ever so slightly more exciting than you might expect...