You do NOT need an EPQ to get into a top University!

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The Polymath
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Right, I keep seeing loads of people wondering whether to do EPQ, despairing over not be able to do it, or thinking that they'll be at a huge advantage for taking it, and even someone here http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...3#post39442663 who is annoyed at their school not allowing them to take it.

EPQ automatically benefiting your application (compared to not doing the EPQ but still doing further reading) is a myth.
An EPQ in itself does not magically boost your application.

What an EPQ does is demonstrate that you have researched your subject, are interested in it etc. but plenty of candidates do this every year *without* doing an EPQ.

Admissions tutors would not give an advantage over someone who needed an EPQ to hold their hand through 'extra-curricular' reading (not really extra-curricular though, is it?) compared to a self-motivated student who has read magazines, books, lectures etc. of their own accord.

This becomes even more true when you consider that 1) not every school offers an EPQ, and 2) the EPQ is not advertised very well within many schools anyway, and plenty of top students don't want to waste their time attending countless meetings and organisational sessions - time which could be spent revising or reading around their subject. Certainly within my own school, loads of top students applying to top universities like Oxbridge, snub the EPQ and instead go for free reading.

"But what will I write in my personal statement then?" I see many people cry. Well, write what you would normally - exactly the same stuff. If you were going to do an EPQ on Marxist theory, as I was, then talk about Marxist theory! Read some books on it, research it a little, come up with your own thoughts, and by magic you have hours of interview material and thousands of characters of PS material.

There is no need to do an EPQ unless you really want to.

Sure, it shows you can research a topic fully and write a long piece, but you should have done that for your PS anyway, and your English GCSE and any AS-level essay subjects should show that too. This, then, is the only reason you should want to do an EPQ - to have a go at doing a full dissertation.

Even then, I know people who have written their own dissertations and articles, without the support of an EPQ structure - they worked themselves, took huge interest, and came up with a brilliant piece on their subject.

I'm not saying an EPQ is not a good qualification to take - for many, a qualification is just what they need - a formal structure to guide them through the new world of this idea of 'further reading'. But for many others, it's not necessary, and far too many people are sucked into it when they really didn't need to be.

Edit: Don't just neg me, this is a discussion board - I've posted a reasoned, thought out thread, and I want people to comment, not hide behind the thumbs down button. Obviously some people will have done the EPQ and gone to a top university, but many others did so too without an EPQ.
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username878045
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He has a point here. An EPQ does benefit your application compared to simply not doing one. The EPQ is a way of showing you can work independently, but is just one way of showing this. Given that many schools and colleges do not offer EPQ, and some even make whole cohorts take the EPQ whether they want to or not (only a few) and therefore it would be unfair for an admissions tutor to give an advantage to someone who had the EPQ over someone who didn't, assuming that the person who didn't could prove that they have read around and taken an interest/done independent work. The EPQ as a qualification does nothing, it is what the EPQ entails that makes it worthwhile, and you do not have to do an EPQ if you want to show this.
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Tanet
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I do agree to some extent, EPQ will not make a huge impact on whether you get an offer or not, although SOME, and I mean 'some', Universities however do take it into consideration.

However, I was informed by my University that if you were to miss your offer, the EPQ may help differentiate between candidates when they only have a few places left. This is what happened to me, and although I did miss my offer I was given a place, which my A in EPQ may have had an impact on, but I do not know entirely.

I wouldn't stress over not doing an EPQ, I didn't even want to do it at all but our college pretty much forced us to do it, but if you get a good grade in it then it is worth while.
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liesels
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Hearing this the day after I've handed in my EPQ is just GREAT.

(But seriously, I see your point. I just took the EPQ as it was a chance to work on something I loved for a year, but I don't think I'm going to magically get into Uni.)
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Discombobulate
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I think everyone knows this already. Thanks for pointing out the obvious anyway
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The Polymath
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(Original post by Tanet)
I do agree to some extent, EPQ will not make a huge impact on whether you get an offer or not, although SOME, and I mean 'some', Universities however do take it into consideration.

However, I was informed by my University that if you were to miss your offer, the EPQ may help differentiate between candidates when they only have a few places left. This is what happened to me, and although I did miss my offer I was given a place, which my A in EPQ may have had an impact on, but I do not know entirely.

I wouldn't stress over not doing an EPQ, I didn't even want to do it at all but our college pretty much forced us to do it, but if you get a good grade in it then it is worth while.
'may' help, but if you're a broad reader anyway it's unfair to differentiate when some candidates were unable to take it. Also, when some unis take it into consideration, that makes sense - all universities should do IMO. What I'm saying is it's no better than doing the same stuff without restricting yourself to the EPQ.
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Ree69
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Lol I didn't even know what an EPQ was before going on TSR


This was posted from The Student Room's iPhone/iPad App
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The Polymath
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(Original post by liesels)
Hearing this the day after I've handed in my EPQ is just GREAT.

(But seriously, I see your point. I just took the EPQ as it was a chance to work on something I loved for a year, but I don't think I'm going to magically get into Uni.)
I respect you for that - of course the EPQ will help you. But if you can't do it it's not an issue. You were still able to work on that thing you loved for a year. The attitude that by not taking it you can't research stuff, though, is ludicrous

(Original post by Discombobulate)
I think everyone knows this already. Thanks for pointing out the obvious anyway
Cheers, but why the 3 neg reps then :confused:
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cyfer
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I'm doing the EPQ because I absolutely love how you get to decide the scope of it, plus its independence. I'm also not doing English A-Level, so I need the EPQ.
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The Polymath
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(Original post by cyfer)
I'm doing the EPQ because I absolutely love how you get to decide the scope of it, plus its independence. I'm also not doing English A-Level, so I need the EPQ.
Okay, fine. I absolutely agree with you. That's not what my point was against, I was arguing against taking it because you think it's the only way to demonstrate interest in a subject.
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Agenda Suicide
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My EPQ not only give me a good thing to demonstrate my interest in personal study and my preferred areas, I got an A* yet missed my grades for entry intoa top uni, yet they let me in.

I can only think that it was that that pushed me through the door.

I don't understand why so many people have this irrational thing about saying how EPQS aren't vital or anything, no they're not, but they are a bloody brilliant help if you go about them correctly.
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PopDaRouge
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(Original post by Junaid96)

Cheers, but why the 3 neg reps then :confused:
Because 3 people disagree with you for whatever reason? No biggie...

I do get what your saying though, like someone else said I didn't even know about it till people were raving about it on TSR lol
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The Polymath
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(Original post by Agenda Suicide)
My EPQ not only give me a good thing to demonstrate my interest in personal study and my preferred areas, I got an A* yet missed my grades for entry intoa top uni, yet they let me in.

I can only think that it was that that pushed me through the door.

I don't understand why so many people have this irrational thing about saying how EPQS aren't vital or anything, no they're not, but they are a bloody brilliant help if you go about them correctly.
Yes, and so is further reading, if you go about it correctly. EPQ vs. non-EPQ but reader is a match. I think it's unfair to discriminate - some schools run the EPQ really badly, some don't do it at all.
Congrats on your offer
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Discombobulate
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(Original post by Junaid96)
I respect you for that - of course the EPQ will help you. But if you can't do it it's not an issue. You were still able to work on that thing you loved for a year. The attitude that by not taking it you can't research stuff, though, is ludicrous


Cheers, but why the 3 neg reps then :confused:
Dunno but I didn't actually neg rep you, so you'd be better off asking whoever did.
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The Polymath
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(Original post by Discombobulate)
Dunno but I didn't actually neg rep you, so you'd be better off asking whoever did.
Maybe I should subscribe...
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lukas1051
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I do agree to some extent, but I'd hardly say you're qualified to speak on behalf of all university admissions people given you're not even at university yet. The idea that they're necessary is obviously not true, and I got into a pretty good university without doing one, but to suggest they help no more than a bit of further reading? I'm not so sure.

Personally I'd have taken the opportunity had I been given the option, and I think students should if they're given the option, if only to reinforce their interest in a subject. However, I don't believe it's necessary to go to unreasonable lengths to seek out the opportunity only to slightly improve your application.
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The Polymath
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(Original post by lukas1051)
I do agree to some extent, but I'd hardly say you're qualified to speak on behalf of all university admissions people given you're not even at university yet. The idea that they're necessary is obviously not true, and I got into a pretty good university without doing one, but to suggest they help no more than a bit of further reading? I'm not so sure.

Personally I'd have taken the opportunity had I been given the option, and I think students should if they're given the option, if only to reinforce their interest in a subject. However, I don't believe it's necessary to go to unreasonable lengths to seek out the opportunity only to slightly improve your application.
Yeah, fair enough, I was just posting what I thought, maybe it was a bit strongly worded

Not just a bit of reading - the same time spent on extra-curricular academics, I mean
I actively chose not to take the EPQ as it involved too much faffing around with meetings and more meetings.
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cyfer
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(Original post by Junaid96)
Okay, fine. I absolutely agree with you. That's not what my point was against, I was arguing against taking it because you think it's the only way to demonstrate interest in a subject.
I wasn't arguing with your point

The OP just came across as if people were only doing the EPQ to get into Top Unis. In my school you get chosen to do it, so it's seen as a great privilege and a great way to enjoy a subject.

But no, I don't think it's the 'only way' to demonstrate interest. I'm actually doing my EPQ in a subject that I'm not doing at University, I'm just doing it because I want to learn more about that specific area of that subject, because for my Uni subjects I will be focussed more on reading books/doing work experience/watching documentaries.
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qgujxj39
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(Original post by Ree69)
Lol I didn't even know what an EPQ was before going on TSR
I don't know what an EPQ is, and I'm at Cambridge.
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The Polymath
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(Original post by cyfer)
I wasn't arguing with your point

The OP just came across as if people were only doing the EPQ to get into Top Unis. In my school you get chosen to do it, so it's seen as a great privilege and a great way to enjoy a subject.

But no, I don't think it's the 'only way' to demonstrate interest. I'm actually doing my EPQ in a subject that I'm not doing at University, I'm just doing it because I want to learn more about that specific area of that subject, because for my Uni subjects I will be focussed more on reading books/doing work experience/watching documentaries.
I am the OP That's a very different way it's done for us - we apply for it and it tends to be those who can't think for themselves to read around their subject on their own.
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