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Doing the EPQ can give students an edge for University applications


“Everyone should know that we do the EPQ at College when they are deciding on their options, post-GCSE,” says EPQ Coordinator, Michelle Casserly.

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Published Tuesday 18 January 2022

The ‘EPQ’ or Extended Project Qualification is an independent research project worth 28 UCAS points, equivalent to half an A Level and taken alongside A Levels, that can give students an advantage in getting into the university of their choice.

Doing the EPQ is highly recommended for A Levels students hoping to go to Oxford, Cambridge, or a Russell Group University such as Imperial, Edinburgh, Warwick, Bristol, Bath, Exeter and others.

Top universities such as Oxbridge not only welcome the EPQ but also encourage applicants to undertake one as it helps to develops the independent study and research skills valued in Higher Education.

At the College, only students who would really benefit from doing the EPQ are encouraged to do it, and a percentage of students who initially consider the project later decide not to. Some students’ focus might be better placed on other things such as ensuring they do as well as they possibly can on their three A Levels, spending time and effort on their Academy interests, or getting work experience.

For those who decide on the EPQ they get to choose a topic of their choice and do an extended research project on it, which will usually become a 5000-word report or a practical outcome with a 1000-word report, and every student delivers a presentation on their project and its results.

Students will probably choose a topic that is significantly related to your future university and career aspirations. Pursuing an idea in which you have a genuine interest also means you are likely to enjoy it and do well.

“The EPQ helps develop research skills,” says Michelle. “It’s so advantageous to do a large research project and a presentation. It shows you already have the skills and experience that you will need for university, so they look very favourably upon it.”

The EPQ encourages students to think and perform independently in managing a longer-scale project from start to finish, building skills in decision-making, problem-solving, planning, researching, evaluating, time-management and self-discipline. It can boost confidence while also demonstrating passion for a topic.

There are many videos on YouTube about how to work towards a good result on the EPQ, created by students, so there is much useful and relevant advice available from those who have recently done it and have succeeded.

Student Izzy Stanger from Newquay does A Level Geography, Sociology and English and is doing a Geography-related EPQ about the climate of Iceland that will help her for university.

“It will look good for uni and give me UCAS points,” says Izzy. “I enjoy Geography, and I felt the EPQ would be beneficial for my university application.”

To find out more about the EPQ at Truro and Penwith College please contact us or visit us at an open event to discuss with teaching staff.

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