The Extended Project Qualification or EPQ is a year-long option in Sixth Form where you have the opportunity to choose any topic, and write a dissertation or create an artefact on the topic. It involves independent study and project management with the help of a supervisor alongside A-levels. So why would you choose to do this extra work?
My EPQ topic was ‘How and why did the portrayal of women in fairy tales change in the 19th century and how did this impact fairy tales going forward?’ I chose this because I wanted to do a literature-based project, I have always loved fairy tales. EPQ gave me the excuse to read and research fairy tales – it was a great experience to explore my niche academic interests independently. EPQ is an opportunity to develop skills that are going to be useful at university such as time management, research, self-motivation and essay writing. We worked closely with a supervisor who advised us throughout the process; while this was an independent project, we weren’t completely abandoned! Over the course of the year we researched our topics and put together our projects. For me this was a 5000 word dissertation. We were given guidance about how to plan, write and edit longer pieces of writing, which was good practice for A-level coursework and university.
A highlight of the EPQ was the presentation evening. Part of the qualification is a 15 minute presentation about your project to parents, peers, teachers and Lower Sixth EPQ students. It was certainly an intimidating task, especially being asked questions from the audience. But it was an opportunity to show off our hard work, as well as see what everyone else had been working on. The evening was beneficial to the Lower Sixth EPQ students as they could get our advice and ask questions as they begin their own projects. The best bit was listening to other presentations and I was interested to learn about the other topics – for example, Emerald’s ‘Evaluation into whether bite-mark evidence and analysis is still relevant to be used in criminal investigations in the USA’ and Anna’s project about ‘How does the geographic mapping of data inform our perception of a place?’
The EPQ is such a unique opportunity to explore our interests outside of the curriculum, demonstrated by the diversity of the project topics at the presentation evening. EPQ is definitely one of the best options that St Helen’s Sixth Form has to offer.