Achieved an A* in my EPQ - AMA (2020/21) edition

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kxch
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bit of background - i did my qualification from September 2019 until October 2020, with the bulk of my work done in the UK lockdown from April-September. threads like these really helped me when i was doing it so i hope it might help some of you to know what goes into it!
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Sadaf12
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Hello
Can I please have a fe of your top tips on the EPQ?
Structure wise and what u think got u ur A*
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heldbygrace
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How much time did you spend on it roughly per week/per month
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kxch
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(Original post by MiriamL)
How much time did you spend on it roughly per week/per month
i did the bulk of mine from april since i changed topics in march. in april and may i focused on planning, and in june/july/august i wrote it (1st draft). it's tricky to put numbers on it, but i would say at least two revision sessions a week dedicated to it alongside my alevels. i was so immersed in the topic and loved researching and writing it so i might have spent longer on it than usual!! okay cutting to the chase lol, i probably spent 5-10h most weeks on it, all done in evenings. i did take a few weeks off so i wasn't solid for months on end and i had that scheduled into my gantt chart. hope that helps!
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kxch
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(Original post by Sadaf12)
Hello
Can I please have a fe of your top tips on the EPQ?
Structure wise and what u think got u ur A*
of course! so the main thing i did once i had the essay written was go through (by myself and with my supervisor) the different assessment objectives and write out how i had achieved that aim. i think also keeping a really detailed planning document helped a lot since a large bulk of your marks - no matter what topic you do it on - is achieved from planning. i haven't seen my mark breakdown yet so i'm not sure what i lost marks on (i'll try update when i have that).

if you're talking about the essay itself, i did an abstract, introduction, main paragraphs explaining my idea and providing supporting evidence, challenges (strengths and weaknesses of my overall argument), conclusion, appendix, and conclusion. my whole project was based around a question in which i gave my viewpoint at the start, and then explained my reasoning and supporting evidence throughout. going into detail with research made me easily formulate an argument that helped my essay.

overall, i think it was the constant questioning of why i included sections, ideas, and keeping a lot of evidence from my research which shows i thought critically about the project!
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heldbygrace
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(Original post by kxch)
i did the bulk of mine from april since i changed topics in march. in april and may i focused on planning, and in june/july/august i wrote it (1st draft). it's tricky to put numbers on it, but i would say at least two revision sessions a week dedicated to it alongside my alevels. i was so immersed in the topic and loved researching and writing it so i might have spent longer on it than usual!! okay cutting to the chase lol, i probably spent 5-10h most weeks on it, all done in evenings. i did take a few weeks off so i wasn't solid for months on end and i had that scheduled into my gantt chart. hope that helps!
Thanks that’s really helpful! What was the question you did it on?
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kxch
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(Original post by MiriamL)
Thanks that’s really helpful! What was the question you did it on?
happy to help! my EPQ was international politics based - "is China the next superpower?". it's a simple question but i looked at different factors affecting a superpower (political, economic, and military) and to what extent China dominated them, as well as making comparisons to the US. really inspired me to look into international relations more!
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(Original post by kxch)
happy to help! my EPQ was international politics based - "is China the next superpower?". it's a simple question but i looked at different factors affecting a superpower (political, economic, and military) and to what extent China dominated them, as well as making comparisons to the US. really inspired me to look into international relations more!
Wow that’s a really awesome subject! What did you conclude?
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Laboromniavincit
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When and how did you get the result?Are you current year13?
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kxch
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(Original post by Laboromniavincit)
When and how did you get the result?Are you current year13?
i am current y13 yeh! i got my result today via email from the school - the results are sent there and then sent out to us. our projects are still at school though so i want to have a look at the breakdown of marks when i can
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kxch
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(Original post by MiriamL)
Wow that’s a really awesome subject! What did you conclude?
thank you! what is your project on?? are you y12 or y13 btw?? and i concluded that yeh ofc they are - especially with the whole situation in the US right now!!! it may take a few decades but china defo is, and to some people they already are
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(Original post by kxch)
bit of background - i did my qualification from September 2019 until October 2020, with the bulk of my work done in the UK lockdown from April-September. threads like these really helped me when i was doing it so i hope it might help some of you to know what goes into it!
Same! I also got my EPQ result today of an A* too! I agree the threads really helped me to understand all the work you need to put into such a project and how to manage time accordingly. Well done!
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heldbygrace
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(Original post by kxch)
thank you! what is your project on?? are you y12 or y13 btw?? and i concluded that yeh ofc they are - especially with the whole situation in the US right now!!! it may take a few decades but china defo is, and to some people they already are
Yes I think I would agree, whether that’s a positive thing or not idk. It’s interesting. Haha I’m actually year 11 but my school are really keen on EPQ like we start from the first week of year 12. I was actually having a discussion about this yesterday on here, I want to do dentistry at Uni and one dental school requires you EPQ to be dental related if you want it to lower your offer grade. I’m not adverse to doing it dental related but I kind of want to explore something completely different because I guess it’s there to show your interests in other areas making you a more well rounded person. However people on there told be, apart from that one uni it generally for dentistry it doesn’t really embellish your application if it takes away from your A-Level grades. So yeh I’m just speculating at the moment
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heldbygrace
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kxch I have done the GCSE version of an EPQ (I think its a level 2 qualification at gcse and level 3 at A level.) I did it on having a healthy lifestyle. I got a B, I tried hard on it but I decided to have an app as my final project which was a mistake because It took me so long to create but because it’s a very hard thing by the end it didn’t look like I had done much. So I think I just need to pick a more sensible way to produce what I do
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Laboromniavincit
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(Original post by kxch)
i am current y13 yeh! i got my result today via email from the school - the results are sent there and then sent out to us. our projects are still at school though so i want to have a look at the breakdown of marks when i can
What exam board
I did edexcel
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Unknownx12
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what exam board did you use? Also, I've heard that those who received top marks did some sort of planning journal ? or do you think the planning section in the logbook and evaluation of sources will be enough?
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kxch
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(Original post by MiriamL)
Yes I think I would agree, whether that’s a positive thing or not idk. It’s interesting. Haha I’m actually year 11 but my school are really keen on EPQ like we start from the first week of year 12. I was actually having a discussion about this yesterday on here, I want to do dentistry at Uni and one dental school requires you EPQ to be dental related if you want it to lower your offer grade. I’m not adverse to doing it dental related but I kind of want to explore something completely different because I guess it’s there to show your interests in other areas making you a more well rounded person. However people on there told be, apart from that one uni it generally for dentistry it doesn’t really embellish your application if it takes away from your A-Level grades. So yeh I’m just speculating at the moment
damnn that’s really interesting!! if you want to go to that school i would do it on dentistry, but i know people that have done it on stuff completely different to their aspiring degree which also works. the main way to do well is doing a topic you’re passionate about, so make sure it’s on that. surprising that the school is making y’all think about it this early !! i know for us the first few weeks weren’t helpful, and it took my until november to get my original idea and then i changed it in march/april. tbf it will get you higher marks if you change it a bit i think bc it shows development of ideas!
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kxch
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(Original post by Laboromniavincit)
What exam board
I did edexcel
i did AQA - not the greatest one aha but did the job!
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kxch
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(Original post by Unknownx12)
what exam board did you use? Also, I've heard that those who received top marks did some sort of planning journal ? or do you think the planning section in the logbook and evaluation of sources will be enough?
i used AQA, so a loT of our marks was on planning and development of ideas!! unlike most people i didn’t actually do a journal !! something i kind of regret bc i probably could have gotten a few more marks!! we use ‘project q’ which is assume is the logbook, so i filled out all the sections in there in detail. i did a big source evaluation document where i analysed sources i did and didn’t use in detail. i also think i used my presentation as a journal-style thing, explaining my whole process with photo evidence. i also attached a bit of my research to show depth.

tldr; for EPQ, the more you do, the more evidence you’re showing to the examiner that you hit the top criteria and therefore can get the top marks. examine everything and think through why you did certain things and what they mean
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heldbygrace
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(Original post by kxch)
damnn that’s really interesting!! if you want to go to that school i would do it on dentistry, but i know people that have done it on stuff completely different to their aspiring degree which also works. the main way to do well is doing a topic you’re passionate about, so make sure it’s on that. surprising that the school is making y’all think about it this early !! i know for us the first few weeks weren’t helpful, and it took my until november to get my original idea and then i changed it in march/april. tbf it will get you higher marks if you change it a bit i think bc it shows development of ideas!
That’s really helpful thank you. Yes it is surprising however I think its because in the first term of year 12, you work towards your ‘St.John’s essay’ which is an award the school gives to the year 12 who writes the best essay, I don’t know what the reward is but it comes from a fund that was given to my school because we hid some paintings from St Johns college at Cambridge during WW2, and in return they have a fund for an award for pupils. And then, after that if you want you can then take that essay and make it into an EPQ. You can restart and do it on something different but there’s not much point if it’s basically already an EPQ.
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