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Can someone explain the EPQ

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    I have heard about the EPQ and just wondered what it actually is and how it works and how it benefits me when applying to uni and jobs etc?

    (Original post by SRGW19)
    I have heard about the EPQ and just wondered what it actually is and how it works and how it benefits me when applying to uni and jobs etc?
    An EPQ is a project which you complete independently, with help from a supervisor/mentor. If your exam board is AQA, you'll do it in the form of either a 5000 word essay, or an artefact + a 1000 word essay. I'm not sure about other exam boards as I did mine with AQA, but I expect they're fairly similar. If you choose the essay, you'll come up with a title (ideally in the form of a question, for which you can argue for and against in your essay and come to a conclusion for), research your chosen topic and write the essay. You'll also need to fill in a Log Book, where you write about your progress at the start, middle and end of the project (i.e. what you've done so far, what you're going to do next, what has gone well/badly etc). Whether you do the essay or essay and artefact, you also need to give a presentation at the end of the project, before you hand the project in. I hope that helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask (I got an A in my project!). I also apologise for the lack of paragraphs in my answer, TSR won't let me format posts properly for some reason!

    It's a project where you can study almost whatever you like (you can't do an EPQ on a specific unit of one of your A Levels - well that's what I was told). You generally do a 5000 +/- 500 word essay then a shortish presentation, followed by some questions, in-front of your EPQ supervisor and around 5 other students. You can chose to make an artifact if you would like and then write a shorter essay (this is what I did) but in the essay you need to evaluate what you created. You will also have to create a bibliography and log book for your essay but this prepares you for university.

    The benefits for universities is that it shows that you can do an essay similar to what they would want you to do and shows a commitment to the subject-matter. If you chose to do a law degree, for example, doing an EPQ on a law subject, separate from your A Level specification, could make you stand out a bit more to other similar students.

    The benefits to you are that you learn in more detail a subject that really interests you and it can lower grades needed at your final A levels as it is worth UCAS points - half an A Level when I did it last/this year and I've just checked and it still worth half an A Level in the new UCAS point system from 2017.

    A (EPQ) is worth (currently) 60 UCAS points - where A at A Level is 120 UCAS points.
    A (EPQ) is worth (from 2017) 24 UCAS points - where A at A Level is 48 UCAS points.
    Don't worry about the difference from the current to the new system - offers will show a new UCAS point figure.

    However, some universities and courses, will give you the grades you need to get like AAA (or whatever) but they may lower the offer after seeing a relevant EPQ - that is up to the university though!

    My EPQ was on family history and I created an artifact (book on a particular family) which I researched in great detail. The essay was about finding out the major factor for the popularity of genealogy and my basic presentation can be found here. It was basic to prevent me from just reading of the screen.

    I would recommend it to other students thinking about going to university. Hope this helps!

    Edexcel and OCR also offer the EPQ.

    I have supervised students using both of these specifications. I loved working on EPQs - students developed fantastic skills that were of genuine use to them.

    EPQs can be academic-style dissertations where you learn to analyse sources, do academic referencing, write abstracts and so on; or they can be the creation of an artefact, performance or event.

    Whichever route you choose, as the post above points out, you'll have to show skills of project management, independent working, initiative and the analysis of a range of sources of information. Every student needs to keep a log or diary to track progress and provide evidence of their skills. At the end of the project everyone gives a presentation about their work.

    In terms of marking, there is more importance attached to the process - the way you worked - than the product itself. So lots of stuff can go wrong and you can still score a high mark.

    Basically you get to study something you're really interested in and develop lots of useful skills. It's a great qualification imo.
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