Adding value with the Extended Project Qualification – Kings Colleges
10 Apr 2019
The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a standalone qualification which is often taken alongside A-levels. It is highly valued for progression to university and carries UCAS tariff points.
Through the EPQ qualification, students will complete a research project to explore an area of their own interest. At Kings this is usually directly related to their ambitions for further study at university and may be in a subject not offered at A-level.
Enhancing skills in prepration for university
By following an EPQ, students will develop and demonstrate a wide range of transferable skills, which can include:
- Project management, planning, research, critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, decision-making, problem-solving, evaluation and presentation skills
- Critical, reflective and independent learning
- Creativity, initiative and enterprise
- E-learning skills and the use of technology
The EPQ is assessed through a final project, report, dissertation and a presentation, or a physical project and a shorter written report. Both approaches result in the following four learning outcomes:
- Managing a project
- Using resources
- Developing and realising a project
- Reviewing the project
UCAS points equivalent to half an A-level
The qualification is graded A*-E and carries UCAS tariff points equivalent to half a full A-level. It is highly-valued by universities. The Russell Group’s ‘Informed Choices’ guidance advises that:
“Russell Group universities value the EPQ which can be drawn upon in your personal statement and at interview to provide evidence of enthusiasm for your chosen subject. Some Russell Group universities may also include the EPQ in their offers.”
Many universities make dual offers to include an alternative offer with an EPQ. The University of Southampton were the first university to introduce an alternative offer scheme but there are now many examples; Queen Mary University of London may provide a dual offer of ABB at A-level or BBB with an A in the EPQ.
For entrance to Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast will accept an EPQ grade A in lieu of their 4th AS requirement.
Other universities, including Oxford, may not make specific conditions for EPQ but do recognise the value it adds and encourage students to take it. Cambridge “welcome and encourage” the EPQ but “recognise that not all students have equal access to them and so completion of an Extended Project won’t normally be a requirement of any offer made”.
Enriching degree subject knowledge
Kings A-level students continue to enhance their university applications, using the EPQ to research a wide range of subject areas including English Literature, Fashion, Motor Engineering, Politics and Product Design.
Anna Pogrebniak (pictured top right) achieved an A in her EPQ project on Artificial Intelligence and is now reading Computer Science at King’s College London.
Students taking the Advanced Level Foundation or Art Foundation do not need to take the EPQ as the Communication Study Skills (CSS) module covers the same skill set and learning outcomes, ensuring they are well prepared for their university degree.
Students taking the International Business Foundation are also able to study for the EPQ, provided they have a higher English level and can therefore use the timetabled English lessons for their own research. Boris Surov did just that, and was awarded an A* for his project on American and Russian Politics and received an offer from Queen Mary University of London.
Boris says, “[The EPQ] helped a lot with learning how to study independently. Actually, I think it was one of the main reasons that the university accepted me […] it was definitely one of the best things I did at Kings.”