EPQ help

(11 Posts)
doglover Tue 12-Aug-14 22:01:27

The sixth form college that my dd will probably attend offer the EPQ. I've read the somewhat brief information supplied but wondered if any of you wise women could add some details. Her strengths are in English and History: do they choose an area of study related to a curriculum area or is it a free choice? Can you give me some examples of EPQ titles or types of study? TIA

LottyLikesWindows Fri 15-Aug-14 23:35:50

Totally free choice. It's an excellent and worthwhile thing to do imo and as long as it's well managed by student and their supervisor, it's a great learning tool which will prepare them for the type of work undertaken at university.

I remember a few years ago one of my students looked at epic poetry and links between Homer and Milton. Was fascinating. Another explored women's roles during WWII. There is no limit really to what they can research and depending on how it's set up at her college your dd might have a choice of how to present her EPQ.

lecherrs Fri 15-Aug-14 23:47:37

The EPQ is a great course. I co-ordinate it at my work, and have marked it in the past. Your DD should choose her own title, and whilst it could include English / History, it should not include anything that she is studying as part of her A levels. So if she studying modern American history for her A level, it would be difficult to do this as an EPQ, but there would be no reason why she couldn't study a different era in American history for example.

It really is a great subject, and students get so much from it, it is an excellent preparation for university. I would whole heartedly want my daughter to take thus course. It is a great opportunity for them.

messysponge Sat 16-Aug-14 05:55:53

I am sorry but I must be the only personon this planet who is not impressed by the EPQ. I think it can be a cheats charter because it is all coursework. Its internally makred and supervised so sometimes (many maybe?) students get a lot of "support" - help. It is an open tool to bully teachers by schools (and students) who want top results. It isnt really a test of any ability to work independently or to university level (I think both teachers and lecturers who say that are being naive in the extreme). There is no way of controlling what I have mentioned above and pressures to do well mean it can be abused - like any coursework based "exam". At least half of it depends not on the actual dissertainoon or piece of work produced but on a log which describes the journey taken to produce the project. Thats false frankly. Some of the best people I know in life do not do ollow that kind of pedestrian pattern to production of good work. Many of the plodders do ..... thats just an opinion.

But do it by all means. dc are bound to get a good result. It countsfor UCAS points and some misguided universities even reduced grade entry offers for a high EPQ grade. Its promoted as being a means of extending higher ability students but often it is a means of adding UCAS points to boost results for lower ability ones.

In a day when A level exams are supposed to be made harder by taking away coursework, this is an anathama I think. I have no respect for it at all. But that is just my opinion.

Sparrows12 Sat 16-Aug-14 22:09:24

I think there are less time-intensive ways of demonstrating passion for the subject. Check out, for example, the essay competitions run each year by various different Oxbridge colleges in both subjects. Even if you don't win, you can discuss your essay in your personal statement and use it as evidence of commitment, application of your wider reading etc. And you might even get a commendation.

Sparrows12 Sat 16-Aug-14 22:15:20

The royal literature society also has an annual short story competition, there is an annual TS eliot poetry prize and i noticed this month there is a chance to enter the Guardian Young Critic of the Year competition for 17 and under. There are loads of other competitions like these out there if you look. All better than an EPQ IMHO.

Sparrows12 Sun 17-Aug-14 06:55:43

Another alternative quite popular in our sixth form this year has been the new free Futurelearn "massive open access" courses being run by a lot of uk universities. You can find some great topics e.g. Last year, Leicester university ran 6 weeks of modules on england in the time of richard 3 - there is no formal time commitment, but there are lots of interesting perspectives eg even cooking up the recipes they were using at the time, and a chance to interact online with students around the world. Although the courses are open to all, some are specifically designed as pre-university "tasters" and are a good way of showing passion for your subject. Again, less formal than the epq and a good demonstration of initiative.

messysponge Sun 17-Aug-14 07:32:33

12, MOOC's are very good and in mostcasesyou can get a certificate if you complete the tasks.I have done some of these myself, and they are informative and not at all easy in most cases. As sparrow says, they show committment and offer an experience and could be used as evidence on personal statements. They can also be done in " spare time" - evenings, weekends and during the day with access to a computer so can fit in around lessons and homework. They are timebound only by the length of the courses (usually around six/eight weeks or so).

Hakluyt Sun 17-Aug-14 21:12:00

Again, less formal than the epq and a good demonstration of initiative."
I think the formal aspect of the EPQ is one of it's strengths. Surely having a a go at researching and producing an extended piece of writing is much more useful to a prospective undergraduate than cooking Plantagenet recipes?

Sparrows12 Mon 18-Aug-14 06:33:51

Ok so the cooking thing maybe wasn't a good example! Here is a link to the Futurelearn courses currently on offer in case others are interested. It's an interesting initiative.


Sparrows12 Mon 18-Aug-14 06:44:27

This one, coincidentally, is from the university of Southampton - how to write an extended project! Starts in sept.


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