EPQ: is it necessary if you do essay competitions?

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sciencegcsesss
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#1
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Hello, I’m in year 12 and I have signed up to do an EPQ because it is very beneficial in terms of the skills you develop, is a formal qualification, gives you extra UCAS points and is a super-curricular activity to talk about in your personal statement and university interviews and makes you stand out. It especially makes sense for essay-based subjects which applies to me (I take History and Literature and French and the degrees I’m interested in are essay-based — law, history, politics, HSPS, PPE). However, I am working towards essay competitions ran by universities (like the Oxford Princeton one) and if I hopefully push myself to actually complete them while balancing a levels + coursework then I will have developed the same skills from EPQ. So, if I then go I on an EPQ then I’m just concerned I would burn myself out (my coursework for my A Levels total 7000-7500 words) in addition to an Oxbridge application.
Could someone please advise me on what to do? I’m currently thinking that the best thing to do is to just give everything a try and then if necessary drop one of the extra things if the workload is too high.
Thank you.
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emrex03
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I think EPQs are good since, as you mention, they help you gain skills for uni and they're a formal qualification. However, if you're already gaining these skills through competitions, I don't think it's completely necessary. Then again, it's also a question of knowing yourself...I know that's not very helpful but it does depend on each person. If you feel you're gonna burn out then don't go for it.
The essay competitions (if you put it in your personal statement) will showcase your skills in essay writing.

If I was in your position, I wouldn't do one unless you absolutely love your EPQ topic. I did one about something I love and managed to balance it with A-levels and Oxbridge, but I wasn't doing essay competitions like you.

(Side note: if the competition doesn't require you to learn referencing, then I would recommend teaching yourself it before uni, don't bother doing a whole EPQ for that.)

Hope that's of some use!...
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sciencegcsesss
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(Original post by emrex03)
I think EPQs are good since, as you mention, they help you gain skills for uni and they're a formal qualification. However, if you're already gaining these skills through competitions, I don't think it's completely necessary. Then again, it's also a question of knowing yourself...I know that's not very helpful but it does depend on each person. If you feel you're gonna burn out then don't go for it.
The essay competitions (if you put it in your personal statement) will showcase your skills in essay writing.

If I was in your position, I wouldn't do one unless you absolutely love your EPQ topic. I did one about something I love and managed to balance it with A-levels and Oxbridge, but I wasn't doing essay competitions like you.

(Side note: if the competition doesn't require you to learn referencing, then I would recommend teaching yourself it before uni, don't bother doing a whole EPQ for that.)

Hope that's of some use!...
Thank you so much for your post, it is very useful for me . Honestly, I’m not sure I currently have a very specific thing I am passionate about to write an EPQ on - I am just interested in some subjects. So I think it might be more beneficial for me to do smaller-scale things like reading books, listening to podcasts alongside essay competitions and if despite that I still can’t write an EPQ on something then I’ll drop it.
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artful_lounger
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It's not necessary at all, and not really worth doing if you don't have a clear and specific idea for a project you want to do that fits well with the EPQ assessment criteria. There's no point doing it if your only aim in doing it is "UCAS fodder" though (much the same as most similar activities like DofE etc).

Also most universities do not use the UCAS point tariff, and the ones that do tend to have very low entry criteria.
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sciencegcsesss
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
It's not necessary at all, and not really worth doing if you don't have a clear and specific idea for a project you want to do that fits well with the EPQ assessment criteria. There's no point doing it if your only aim in doing it is "UCAS fodder" though (much the same as most similar activities like DofE etc).

Also most universities do not use the UCAS point tariff, and the ones that do tend to have very low entry criteria.
I see, thank you.
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