Considering EPQ

Completing an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is an excellent opportunity to develop independent research skills and gain UCAS points whilst exploring a topic of your choice. Below there are examples of EPQ projects and advice (see comments at the bottom of the page) from students that have completed projects.

The most recent EPQ’s are the at the top of the list.

To what extent is the combined use of ipilimumab and nivolumab in cancer treatment viable

To What Extent does Research in Space Benefit Health of the Musculoskeletal System on Earth

Is It Ethical To Fluoridate Our Nation’s Water Supplies?

To what extent do mass extinctions prevent evolution?

What alternative legislation could be implemented to replace the ban on all performance enhancing drug use in sport?

The Potential Applications of Reoviruses within Medicine 2013

HOW IS THE SCHMALLENBERG VIRUS AFFECTING LIVESTOCK FARMS IN THE UK

Does a 24 week foetus feel pain?

Application of Archaea

Embyonic Stell Cells

Ethical Guidelines Restricted Medical Treatments

Malaria and Global Warming

Stem cells

Marking Criteria: Assessment Criteria_Mark scheme

Infotrack

Science sources available: Astronomical Review, Biology Direct, British Medical Journal, Chemistry Review, Human Biology, The Lancet and Physics Review. These are accessible via this AWESOME research tool (it will even give you the actual reference for your reference list):

references

If you are struggling to use this tool please seek advice for your friendly neighbourhood LRC.

8 thoughts on “Considering EPQ”

  1. One of the biggest challenges I faced during the EPQ was time management. With the stress of A-Level studies, UCAS application and entrance exams such as the UKCAT, I had to manage my time very effectively to meet the demanding fast track EPQ deadlines. So the first tip I would give EPQ students would be to start the EPQ early and work on it over summer. The earlier you start the EPQ, the more time you have to research different areas for potential project titles. Giving yourself time to write your EPQ essay is useful as you can give yourself time at the end to reflect through your work and make changes accordingly.

    Another tip I would give future students is to spend valuable time writing in the EPQ log. When trying to write a perfect essay and prepare the presentation, the EPQ log goes unnoticed, however its important to spend equal time writing in the log as majority of the marks in project fall on to the quality of the production log.

    Remember that a lot of valuable time is going to go in this project, so choose a topic which you are genuinely interested about. As simple as it looks, coming up with a title is hard work. To make life easier, browse through articles from magazines of your topic. So a scientist may find the New Scientist useful for finding the latest advancements in science.

    I hope this helps and I wish you the best of luck for your EPQ.

  2. For your EPQ, my advice would be to research a topic that you are interested in and to stay organised. If your project is about something that you are enthusiastic and passionate about, it will be a lot easier to research and write your final essay. It will also be a more enjoyable experience.

    One thing that I found to be extremely beneficial was recording sources in a separate word document when I accessed them and writing down the date that I had accessed them. This made it much easier to revisit sources and when it came to actually referencing them in the essay. I would also highly recommend referencing as you write your essay, because it makes it a much simpler task than having to go through and reference right at the end. If using any aids such as http://www.refme.com when referencing, make sure to double check the information and don’t just assume that it’s correct. Make sure that you are informed of how to Harvard reference, and consider visiting the school librarian to gain some valuable advice.

    It is also vital to fill in your production log as you carry out your project, this way you don’t lose small details that are actually a significant part of your EPQ learning journey. Recording failures and how you overcame them is almost more important than your successes, be sure to note down examples of this, and evaluate them, as it is an important part of the EPQ as a whole.

    Evaluating sources is also a good idea, and I would recommend doing this as you carry out your project, because again, this is an integral part of your learning experience.

    I would recommend starting your research as early as you can so that you can complete your first draft essay over the summer. This gives you a lot more time for your supervisor to provide you with feedback on your essay. It will also allow you to start your presentation earlier, and as a result means you will have more time to rehearse and perfect it – something that I wish I had been organised with and allowed mself more time to work on, as it was personally the most challenging part of my project.

    Good luck and enjoy!

  3. Having recently finished my EPQ my supervisor has asked me to post some advice and tips for anybody completing an EPQ in the future.

    Firstly don’t be afraid of your title changing from your original plan. My subject narrowed down considerably as I found a lot of research in one of the areas so I decided to focus my essay on this which meant I was able to go into a lot more depth. My title was one of the last things I finalised.

    Try to reference from the beginning of the project and ensure that you are completing it accurately, this will save you time and ensure that you do not lose track of your resources. Consider using a referencing website as it may save you a lot of time, however if you choose to do this it is important that you check that they are correct as I have found that they can sometimes be slightly inaccurate. Also ensure that you note down all the resources that you accessed and date them. It is so annoying to know that you have read something somewhere but can’t find it when you need it for your essay! You will also need this information for your bibliography.

    If using academic books usually you do not have to read the whole book as each chapter will cover a different topic, if there are subheadings within each chapter you may only need to read some of these sections, this will save you a lot of time reading. Also at the end of each chapter there will usually be a reference list this is a good place to find reliable sources of information relevant to you project, and you are often able to copy and paste the reference from the book directly in into your reference list if you decided to use it in your essay.

    One of the most beneficial things I did was to speak to my school and local librarians. Although the school library did not have any resources on such a specific topic the librarian was able to advise me on the Harvard referencing system. Talking to my local librarian led me to many resources specific to my project that I would not have otherwise known about but were primary to the success of my project.

    Finally good luck with your project, enjoy it!

  4. Well, I’ve recently successfully completed my EPQ and I’ve been asked to bestow any tips and tricks I’ve gathered over the course of my ‘journey’ shall we say.

    Firstly, I cannot stress the importance of starting your research early. Even before you go to your first EPQ meeting get yourself a basic idea on what area of science (I assume you’re looking to do a science EPQ as you’re here…) fascinates you. In that initial meeting you and your supervisor can then explore possible projects revolving around that basic idea.
    The research itself can originate from multiple sources other than the internet so don’t be scared to browse though more complex sources such as scientific journals for in depth analysis and content on your chosen topic.

    Secondly, following on from research, probably the biggest mistake I made during my project was that although I took down the sources used, authors, date accessed etc. I didn’t Harvard reference and evaluate these sources until the last minute. This heaped a fair amount of pressure on me in the last stages of the project as source evaluation is very time consuming and tedious if done correctly. Therefore, I cannot emphasis more the need to reference and evaluate as you go along.

    Finally, the project log is the most vital aspect of your project. Although you may feel that the essay and presentation of your findings may seem more important, in fact the log is doubly so. It’s the detailing of your ‘journey’, as its so aptly described, that constitutes the majority of your marks. Filling this out as you progress is another vital tip from me. Although the log may seem daunting, it needs to be completed with all your successes and your failings encountered through your project so that you may evaluate and ‘learn from your mistakes’ as the examiners like to see.

    I think that’s all the major points I would make about an EPQ so I wish you the best of luck in completing your project. Relax, I absolutely loved doing mine and I expect you will too.

  5. I have finished my EPQ project and I was asked to post here to give helpful tips to any prospective EPQ students.

    As far as research is concerned, I would recommend including the sources and dates you access them on one word document because it makes the essay far easier to write when you come to referencing your research. Add the sources to this word document as you are researching your topic because it saves having to backtrack to find any missing sources you used. It is also advised to look into your chosen referencing system before your research begins, as this makes referencing the sources as you go along far easier. Also, remember to be consistent with the method of referencing throughout your project.
    I would recommend using the internet, particularly for refined searches, because it contains current research in virtually any field of enquiry.

    With respect to time management, I would recommend competing your research and starting to write your essay during the summer holidays because it means that the project doesn’t coincide with your studies to much of a degree. This also allows you to make corrections to your essay once you start school again

    When completing your production log, don’t be afraid to include parts of the project where you changed your mind as this shows that you can make decisions and develop ideas, which examiners want to see.

  6. The project log surprisingly makes up the majority of your overall EPQ score, something like 70% of it, meaning it’s crucial to write it well.
    The first and by far most important thing I’d say is this: Do all the sections of the log IN A SEPERATE WORD DOCUMENT to the “official” one; this is because the official one has security settings on it meaning you cannot format your work, edit it easily or use the spell checker.
    Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself or say very similar things in different parts of the log, this shows development of ideas which, I’ve been told, is a crucial part of the scoring system. Also, definitely put in where you’ve changed your mind about something (I changed my title and structure 3 times) and where you do things wrong, the markers REALLY want to see this!
    The planning review can be done very early on, the mid project review I completed after doing all of my research and the final review I drafted after completing the writing and finished after I’d also done the presentation.
    Remember, this is the most important part of the EPQ, so take your time.

  7. I’ve just finished doing the first draft of my EPQ and was asked to post on here with a few general hints:

    Ok, firstly, you’re going to do a LOT of research, I created a separate word document (within reason) for each different source (I used mainly websites or online journals). Make sure these are appropriately named and stuck in a folder somewhere in your workspace, it makes finding work so so much easier!

    When researching, it doesn’t matter how trivial you think the information on screen is, copy the link down so you can come back to it. With each of your sources also write down the date you accessed it and write down information such as author, date published/written, format etc as you WILL need ALL of this information for referencing (You can’t just use someone elses words or ideas without referencing their work, apparently the EPQ markers don’t look fondly on plagiarism)

    Another point on referencing, be consistent with how you’re doing this, there are loads of methods of referencing, choose one and stick with it!

    Don’t be afraid to change your question from what it was originally, you may well want to refine it as you research more

    BUT don’t get bogged down with the title, so long as you know what topic you want to do that’s fine (the title was literally the last thing I typed in)

    A final point which may work for some but not for others: when actually writing I did about 1000 words over a 4 day span when listening to music but managed to crack out about 1000+ on each day that I wasn’t, it’s hard to start but just cracking on with it will make this a much shorter process!

    Oh, the science teachers are overflowing with useful information, just ask if you need help!

    Best of luck to everyone!

  8. I have done an EPQ which i’m proud of, but i did have some difficulties so i thought i’d share some tips with anyone doing EPQ that reads this.

    1. Do as much work as you can over the summer! I was a bit lazy and had to cram it all in while trying to fit in school work as well.

    2. Take your time over the booklet thing you have to fill in, it’s worth a lot of marks, but also remember to fill it in as you go along. I finished my booklet around 5 minutes before the final deadline so don’t be like me! It was a struggle and i couldn’t remember off the top of my head some of the information i needed.

    3. Use your assigned teacher. I tried to do most of it by myself while letting my teacher see as little as possible. I ended up having 3 teachers altogether just due to circumstances, and they all ended up in a flap as they didn’t think i would finish. (Your teacher may have more knowledge of your subject, or at least may have more resources so use them)

    4. Pick a subject you like. If you pick a topic you find boring then this project will drag a lot! Picking one that may be useful to your degree if you are going to uni may also be helpful. I wrote the EPQ on archaea and am going to study microbiology and the uni i chose was really interested in the project and it gives you something to talk about in interview.

    Well that’s about all i can think of at the moment, to everyone doing an EPQ good luck!

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“We can do science, and with it, we can improve our lives…” Carl Sagan

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