The Extended Project Qualification is an exciting opportunity for students to take charge of their own learning and is designed to contrast the normal experience of studying in the A Level classroom. The student picks the subject focus based on their own interests, and the end product may be the 'traditional' academic report (5000 words) or it may be an artefact – a film, a concert, a painting, a website etc., accompanied by a written report (1000+ words). The process of planning, researching, recording and reviewing is deemed just as important as the end result, so roughly half the marks available are awarded for the process and half the marks for the finished project. The EPQ is a stand-alone qualification, and is equivalent to half an A Level, graded from A*- U.
The students have timetabled lessons in which they are taught key skills, ranging from note-taking and time management, to referencing and presentation skills, which they can then implement in their own projects. The Library staff are also available to advise and facilitate research and can order appropriate reading material. Students are also assigned a teacher-supervisor to provide support throughout the project. As this is an independent project, it is not the role of that member of staff to teach any of the subject matter within the student's choice of project. The role is one of facilitator and advisor.
The EPQ requires candidates to identify, design, plan, manage and complete a project which is independent of any of their A level subject content. Candidates will also have to problem solve and think creatively as well as evaluate their learning and present their findings to an audience, usually composed of parents, teachers, governors and their peers.
Completing the EPQ should prove to be a very rewarding academic experience in the sixth form as well as an attractive addition to any UCAS application. To succeed in the Extended Project will indicate to universities that the individual in question is an independent learner, an essential quality for success as an undergraduate and in the world of work. A successful project will also mean that the student will be able to talk with some real expertise about their chosen subject matter if called for interview at the universities of their choice.
University of Cambridge: "We welcome the Extended Project and would encourage applicants to undertake one as it will help to develop independent study and research skills valuable for higher education."
The range of EPQ projects completed in the past few years at Kingswood has been vast. To download a selection of recent project titles please click here.