A Level Extended Project Qualification


What is it?

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is designed to teach you how to plan, research and deliver a project. The project normally takes the form of an essay (of between 4-5,000 words) though it can also be a creative piece (such as a short play or short story), an artefact (such as a model) or a presentation (such as a portfolio of photographs or a performance). At MPW, the essay is the option we pursue. In principle, you can choose to research anything you like. As an indication of the range of possibilities, titles have included “What are numbers?”, “What was the cause of the Rwandan genocide?”, “Why do people join cults?” and “How does early Victorian literature portray female insanity and how accurate is the representation of ‘mad women’?”

This said, it is important to grasp that the EPQ is not an extended essay by another name. The focus is the delivery of and development of research skills. You will have lessons on how to draw up a plan, how to structure a timeline for research, how and where to look for resources, how to organise your ideas into a thesis and how to deliver a presentation. You will have to detail your progress as you go in the form of the EPQ production log. You will be required to spell out your research plans and later to reflect upon them, along with the challenges you faced and the skills you have developed as an independent researcher. The majority of the marks reflect the quality of the log.

Whereas in your other subjects you are taught the content of what you need to know, the distinctive and valuable feature of the EPQ is that you research and develop your project largely by yourself. You will have a supervisor with whom you can discuss ideas, who will teach you research skills and who will provide advice on the structure and form of the essay.

The EPQ is a special Level 3 qualification that is neither an A level nor an AS level. It is worth 50% of an A level in terms of UCAS points.

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

An ever-growing number of universities are becoming aware of the attractions of the EPQ. It is an excellent way of developing a broad range of study skills that you will find invaluable at university, where you will increasingly be required to be an independent learner, and in the world of work beyond. It adds particular value to applications to Russell Group universities. This is especially so for Oxbridge applications, as it may become a discussion point in an interview. You will learn how to manage your time, how to prepare a professional-looking project and how not to get lost in the vast amounts of material in libraries and on the internet when undertaking research.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

No prior knowledge is required. The most important skill you will need to have is self-motivation. This is a project you will be mainly managing yourself. Although your supervisor will provide an over-arching structure, you will need to set and keep to your own deadlines!

How is the course assessed?

The EPQ is internally assessed and externally moderated. Your project is assessed on the basis of four criteria. The first is how well you managed your project. The second is the extent of the resources you used and how well you used them. The third is quality of the final outcome, this being the final version of your essay, for example. The fourth is quality of your review of the project. This will be determined by the end-of-project presentation you give. Criteria one, two and four are worth 20% each and criterion three is worth 40%. It is very important to observe the relative importance of these figures. Put simply, the outcome of the project is worth 40% of the marks and the process of the project is worth 60% of the marks. If you produce a good essay at the last minute, but showing no resources and with poor reflection, you may struggle simply to pass.


The reading will be specific to your chosen project.

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AQA 7993 

Mat Carmody
Head of Department


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
Royal Veterinary College (Veterinary Medicine)

"I have loved MPW. The class sizes are very small and it is easy to ask questions. The teaching is really interactive and they all care so much about the students. My Director of Studies helped a lot with my UCAS statement, suggesting what to include and perfecting it with me. I honestly don’t think I would have go any university offers without her help."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Bristol (Law)

"I’ve had three fantastic years at MPW: I’ve had a happy time; I’ve met some amazing people; and, most importantly, I’ve left school knowing that I have fulfilled my potential, leaving with GCSE and A Level grades that I can be proud of. I feel that the teachers and Directors of Studies all care deeply about their students' futures and performance."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Edinburgh (History and Politics)

"All of my teachers have been great; they are experienced, friendly and treat us all like adults rather than teenagers. I’ve also enjoyed being in a city. There is so much to do and we’ve been on a lot of theatre trips after school which is something I hadn’t been able to do before. My favourite thing about MPW has been the people I have met."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
King's College London (Biology)

"I would like to say a big thank you to my teachers. Everyone at MPW has been so warm towards me and my teachers are so friendly and willing. They also adapt to learning styles and have been sensitive about responding to my needs; they provide extra help when I need it but also give me space to absorb new topics or information when I need that."


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of Bath (Mechanical Engineering)

"One of my favourite things about MPW is the people I have met, who are all really nice and really fun to be with. My Director of Studies was really enthusiastic which rubbed off on me. She also helped enormously with UCAS, taking the time to clearly explain what I needed to do and supporting me."