Study the EPQ@COOMBE

Watch the film to discover more about studying the EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) at Coombe Sixth Form

What does completing an EPQs involve?

The course is modelled on university-style learning and is tailored to support and challenge students at sixth form level

You will have one timetabled lesson per week in a small group. Your supervisor will deliver the taught element of the course in these lessons and help you find your individual project focus. S/he is there to critically guide you but not to tell you what you should or should not do. This is a truly independent project based on your own decisions.

However, always remember that ‘independent working’ does not mean you’re ever on your own with your EPQ – your supervisor will support you all the way in the process of developing your project.

You will complete your project in the Autumn term of yr 13, which means it will not get into the way of preparing for the exams in your core subjects.

What skills will I develop and where could studying this subject lead?

During your EPQ you will develop skills in independent working, time management, project development and academic writing. Research conducted by the University of Southampton indicates that students who had completed an EPQ progressed more successfully through their first year at university and in most cases achieved higher in their degree compared with students without an EPQ.

Universities increasingly value the Extended Project qualification as an addition to the three core A levels, as it helps them to select students with a head-start in the independent learning skills that higher education demands and those that have a commitment to their chosen specialist area. .

Coombe students who completed the EPQ successfully found that it really enhanced their opportunities of gaining university places, as it gave them something to talk about in interviews or indeed meant that their chosen university lowered the target grades for their desired course.

How will I know if I will be good at it?

The EPQ is suited to all students who wish to gain extra experience in developing their research and report writing skills.

If you have a topic you are passionate about, this gives you the chance to really explore this in greater depth – we currently have students working on topics ranging from astrophotography to the use of drama in the care for dementia patients, from analysing polling methods to creating a monologue in the voice of a forensic scientist.

You may wish to follow up an interest which hasn’t figured in your school curriculum or strategically extend yourself in the field you wish to pursue after sixth form – either way, you’ll get to work on something you enjoy because you alone decide what you want to do.

Modules that you will cover and assessment details

The taught element, delivered in small supportive supervision groups, will give you a grounding in project development skills like time management, project planning, primary and secondary research skills and academic writing skills.

Your supervisor will support you in deciding your research focus and in planning for realising your project.

The EPQ is a ‘process based qualification’, which means that you are graded on how you went about developing your project rather than just on the final product.

EPQ components to be assessed are:

- Your research logbook where you record the development of your project.

- Your final product, i.e. either a 5000 word fully referenced academic report or a creative artefact with accompanying 1000 word report

- A public presentation of your completed project.