Edexcel Level 3 - Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
Edexcel Level 3 Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
What is the Level 3 Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)?
A Level 3 EPQ is an additional qualification that can be taken alongside other Level 3 qualifications (A Level, BTEC, NVQ, other academic or vocational qualifications including Modern Apprenticeships).
There is no external exam. The EPQ is internally assessed by a Project Supervisor and moderated by both the Project coordinator and the Exam Board.
An EPQ is an excellent taster of university-style learning as it is effectively an independent research project which can, but does not have to, relate to a Level 3 course that is being studied. It is important therefore that students choose topics that they are interested in and curious about and, ideally, relate to further study so they are motivated to complete it. For example, an aspiring medic could write a research article analysing the difficulties associated with the management of the NHS. This could help students substantiate evidence for their desire to study a specific degree course.
To gain the qualification, students will need to:
Complete a Project Activity Log – A diary that logs the progress they have made throughout the year.
Carry out Research – A collection of sources that relate to their topic.
Complete a 5000-6000 word written report.
Deliver a short presentation about their project to a small non-specialist audience.
What are the benefits of completing an EPQ?
An EPQ provides further academic stretch and challenge alongside other Level 3 studies and also helps to evidence a genuine interest in a specific area (which is useful for UCAS university applications). An EPQ also carries UCAS points and is valued at 50% of a full A Level in the UCAS tariff.
Completing an EPQ helps students develop a number of different skills, which are vital for university. It requires excellent organisational skills: planning the project over a 20-week period and making sure that each stage is completed on time is essential to creating a high-quality end product and attracting the highest assessment marks in the process. Students also develop good time-management skills as they have to assign their own time to complete the project while juggling the demands of their other Level 3 Studies
Students, above all, are required to be independently motivated as EPQ Supervisors are specifically not permitted to interfere with a student’s progress, especially in terms of meeting deadlines or completion of the project itself.
How does completing an EPQ affect University offers?
EPQ provides very clear evidence of that you have interests and abilities which go beyond your Level 3 studies. It demonstrates clearly that you are capable of undertaking the kind of independent reading, research, and essay writing that is the mainstay of most undergraduate degrees.
This is hugely important in the UCAS application process where universities often have little to distinguish between students with similar predicted grades.
Additionally, an EPQ provides highly relevant material for your UCAS Personal Statement and for you to talk about in university interviews. Most top schools in the UK have made the completion of an EPQ (or an internal equivalent) compulsory for all Year 12 students.
Universities have always recognised the benefits of students completing an EPQ;
For example, Birmingham University now states the following:
“At the University of Birmingham, applicants who take an EPQ and meet the offer criteria will be made the standard offer for their programme of choice; PLUS an alternative offer which will be one grade lower, plus a grade A in the EPQ”.
Bristol University makes a similar statement in its admissions process:
“The University recognises that some A Level students may also choose to take the Extended Project. In some cases, we may make two alternative offers, one of which involves success in the Extended Project (e.g. either AAA at A Level or AAB at A Level plus Extended Project)”.
Oxford University also states the following on its website:
“working on an EPQ encourages students to develop research and academic skills relevant to undergraduate study. Therefore, we would recommend anyone completing an EPQ to draw on these skills when writing your UCAS personal statement. Whether you undertake a formal EPQ or not, you will be a more convincing applicant if you can demonstrate the breadth of reading and independent research into your chosen subject; if you have pursued study beyond that required by your school syllabus”.
Given that many Universities are repeating the message given by both Bristol and Birmingham Universities, we recommend that all students interested in studying at university look at university A Level requirements. The following website, https://digital.ucas.com/search details the entry requirements for every course offering by all UK universities and Universities will specifically state whether they offer an alternative offer if an EPQ is pursued.
Student success stories include:
Chloe completed her EPQ on the use of light in architecture, looking at its development through European architectural history and examining contemporary technical developments. The completion of the project developed her existing knowledge of architecture in a way that not only enhanced her A-Level subjects, particularly History of Art, but added an extra dimension to her UCAS application, and helped in the interviews which got her a place at one of the UK’s best schools of architecture. Furthermore, her EPQ gave her a considerable advantage over her competitors when she came to apply for work placements in her first year at university.
Thomas completed an EPQ on the use of satire in the work of the Italian author Dante. The project provided strong evidence in his UCAS Personal Statement to support his application to study English Literature. His EPQ was the main topic of discussion in his interview for a place at Cambridge University, which he was duly offered. When asked what he thought was the main reason that his Cambridge interview had been so successful, Thomas answered simply: “I just talked about my EPQ!”.
How Does GroundMark Learning Support Students?
At the start of the Project, you will be assigned a Project Supervisor who will be your point of contact throughout the EPQ.
You will have 5 meetings with your Project Supervisor during the process:
Initial Meeting to Discuss Your Project Proposal
Review of Literature Review
Review of Discussion Chapter
Review of Introduction, Abstract, Summary, Conclusion, and Evaluation
You will also be given access to GroundMark Learning’s learning platform which has resources specifically written to support you as you work through the EPQ.
You will receive teaching and guidance to get you started, to help with planning and researching and presentation skills, and to keep you on track as you work through your chosen project. There's no formal restriction on your project topic: that's negotiated between you and your project adviser, who will help you choose a topic you will enjoy and cope with.
Your Project Supervisor will:
Review your initial ideas
Agree on your working title and proposal and sign off the Project Proposal Form
Discuss the record of initial ideas and how you intend to develop the Project
Arrange regular progress reviews and give appropriate feedback and guidance
Assess/mark the Project (which will be moderated by the Exam Board)
Oversee the Presentation
Endorse your Project Activity Log
It is, however, important to remember that the EPQ is highly regarded as a qualification earned through self-study and research so it is important that the input of your Project Supervisor is light touch, thereby ensuring the integrity of your result.
How long will it take?
Generally, the whole process from start to finish takes about 120 hours.
What Does an EPQ Look Like?
The two main components of the EPQ are the Written Report and the Project Activity Log.
The Written Report should contain between 5000 and 6000 words.
The Project Activity Log is an integral component of the EPQ and must be submitted as evidence on
completion of the EPQ. It is a document that is used to record your journey through the project
process. The Project Activity Log is not an admin document but rather provides you with the
backbone of your EPQ.
The EPQ is a process-based qualification. The Written Report is a significant component, but the
Project Activity Log is just as important as it charts your progress from initial ideas, through your
research to your final outcome and evaluation.
It is vital that you appreciate how important this document is in relation to your final outcome and
that you complete the log as you go along, rather than trying to fill it in retrospectively.
We have created links below to some examples of some completed EPQs. Some of them include just
the Written Report and some also include the Project Activity Log. We have also created a link to a
stand-alone example of a Project Activity Log.
How is the EPQ Graded?
The EPQ is graded A*-E
If you don’t get enough marks to pass with one of the grades listed above you will be awarded a U, which means ‘unclassified’.
When is the best time to complete the EPQ?
There are two assessment windows for GroundMark Learning to submit the EPQ.
These are January and May.
HOWEVER. to give us time to mark and moderate each EPQ we will require students to submit their completed EPQ to us by the following dates:
For May submission, we will require the completed EPQ by 15 March
For January submission, we will require the completed EPQ by 15 November
PROJECTS RECEIVED AFTER THE 15 MARCH OR 15 NOVEMBER DEADLINES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR SUBMISSION AND WILL BE DEFERRED UNTIL THE NEXT SUBMISSION WINDOW.
We appreciate that students will be starting the EPQ at different times of the year so at the initial meeting the Project Supervisor will advise each student on the most realistic assessment window to target for completion and submission.
At GroundMark Learning we recommend that students complete the EPQ in the Summer preceding the final year of their A Levels or similar studies.
This will enable them to focus fully on their A Level, or similar studies, in their final year.
The all-inclusive fee for completion of the Level 3 Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) £595 and includes:
Supervision and guidance
Access to GroundMark Learning’s learning platform for access to additional guidance and support
The Exam Board entry fee
Submission to the Exam Board for Moderation
How do I Apply to Complete the EPQ
Your first step is to contact us at GroundMark Learning for an informal chat on 01926
935635. If our lines are busy, we would suggest that you leave a message or use our
email contact form. One of the team will then respond as quickly as possible.
The reason for the chat is to assess the suitability of your Project Proposal and to outline
If you wish to proceed with your application you will need to provide us with the following
Full name of candidate (as used in official documents)
Date of birth of candidate
Contact email for correspondence
Contact address for correspondence
GroundMark Learning will contact Tutors & Exams and confirm approval of your
application. Tutors & Exams will then invoice you and, on confirmation of payment, you will be
assigned a Project Supervisor and will be given full access to the online learning and
GroundMark Learning works in partnership with Tutors & Exams and all Project applications are administered through Tutors & Exams’ Coventry Centre.
Please note that Tutors & Exams will not accept your application unless it has been approved by GroundMark Learning.
For further information contact us
Exemplars: Click the image to open file.