The EPQ, or Extended Project Qualification, is a qualification offered alongside traditional A-Levels. It allows students to pursue their own interests and passions through independent research and the production of a dissertation or product. The EPQ is highly valued by universities and employers as it demonstrates a student's ability to take initiative, work independently, and produce original research. Some universities will lower their entrance requirements for students who successfully complete the EPQ. Students who discuss the focus of their EPQ in interviews with potential employers or universities are also viewed more favourably.
Here at Woodmansterne, all Year 12 students undertake ‘The Woody Project’ in their first half-term with us. This programme enables students to learn about the benefits of the EPQ, take part in a sample of the types of tasks required to complete this qualification and gain an introduction to valuable skills that will serve them no matter what they go on to do in life.
All sixth formers will learn how to
- Draft a research question around a particular topic of interest
- Identify and evaluate reliable sources of information
- Take notes and organise information for a lengthier project
- Write the introduction to an academic research paper
- Cite sources used in academic writing
Those students who successfully complete the Woody Project are invited to continue with the full EPQ qualification, which is assessed in the spring of Year 13. Woodmansterne currently uses AQA as the exam board for this qualification and subscribes to Project Q and JSTOR to support students in completing their EPQs independently.
Completing the EPQ requires a significant amount of dedication and hard work, as students must complete a project proposal, conduct their own research, and present their findings in a final dissertation or product. However, the rewards of completing the EPQ are well worth the effort. Students who successfully complete the EPQ often find that they are better prepared for university-level research and have a competitive edge when applying to higher education or for jobs.