What is the A level about?
The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a free-standing qualification that allows students to embark on a largely self-directed and self-motivated project. d’Overbroeck’s offers every student in the Sixth Form the opportunity to pursue an EPQ, in addition to studying for their three main A levels.
- gives students the opportunity to choose their own topic to research
- makes students responsible for their own learning and development
- inspires and motivates – completing the project gives students greater confidence and a sense of achievement
- teaches new skills, such as independent research, project management, academic referencing and multimedia presentation technique
As one of the first schools in Oxfordshire to introduce EPQs into the Sixth Form, our experience of the qualification has been wholly positive.
As well as providing students with a competitive edge when applying to top universities, the EPQ offers students a genuine opportunity to engage in high level research or to plan and produce a creative product, all in a supportive environment.
What does the A level consist of?
We do not assign EPQ titles to students at d’Overbroeck’s. We expect each student to develop their own ideas and we delight in any project concept that is both original and that pushes beyond the boundaries of A level. Having said this, we do encourage students to focus on topics that relate to what they would like to study at university, since this is most likely to provide a benefit when students are writing personal statements as part of their university application, as well as in any interviews that they might have.
A small proportion of d’Overbroeck’s Sixth Formers complete ‘artefact’ EPQs, in which they might, for example, produce a piece of creative writing, put together a photographic exhibition or choreograph a dance performance. Students engaged in an ‘artefact’ EPQ must document the planning and organising process underlying their project and also support their practical product with a sourced 1000 word statement of academic theory.
The majority of d’Overbroeck’s EPQs, however, take the form of ‘dissertation style’ EPQs, in which, supported by extensive reading, seminar attendance, interviews and relevant work experience, the student attempts to answer an academic question.
Students doing a research EPQ must document the planning and organising process underlying their research and then produce a report on their findings of 5000 words or more.
Whether attempting an ‘artefact’ or a ‘dissertation style’ EPQ, all students complete the project process by giving a multi-media presentation to an audience of staff and students during ‘EPQ Presentation Week’ in the Spring term of their Upper Sixth year.