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6th form - EPQs

(36 Posts)
MEgirl Fri 21-Nov-14 16:45:07

Does anyone have a child who did an extended project in the 6th form and was it worth the time and effort?

DSs are considering this but the head of 6th form suggested that Engineering departments in universities don't really take them in to consideration.

Flopsyfreddie Fri 21-Nov-14 16:52:41

They are a good additional activity. We do them as part of our additional study program. They get ucas points so not a waste of time.

MEgirl Fri 21-Nov-14 17:17:46

Thanks, good to know about the ucas points.

Mindgone Fri 21-Nov-14 17:41:01

I would look at the type of courses your DSs are looking at, and the unis, to see if the EPQ would make any difference. Neither of my sons did it, and neither regretted the decision. One is doing chemical engineering in a RG uni, and the other is applying for medicine. I am sure however, it would be a good experience to do it, and would provide plenty to talk about on a personal statement and in an interview. How keen are your sons on doing it?

TheObligatoryNotQuiteSoNewGirl Fri 21-Nov-14 18:45:19

I think it depends how self motivated your DSs are - I started an EPQ when I was in 6th Form, but just wasn't motivated enough to see it through. (I was also doing 4 A2 courses, so I decided to focus on them and drop the EPQ). When it got to the time of year when everyone started doing their presentations, I had a tinge of regret that I didn't see it through, and I suppose it would have been useful practice for my Dissertation, but I don't really regret not doing it.

I agree with PPs that it would be a good thing to be able to talk about at interviews, but obviously shouldn't be the only reason they do it. I think you have to have a subject you're really interested in to do one successfully - I remember going to a friends' presentation, which was about the affects of pre-natal drug and alcohol use on a baby, which she was interested in as she's currently training as a paediatric nurse, and her parents foster babies, many of whom had issues relating to their mothers' pre-natal drug and alcohol use.

hellsbells99 Fri 21-Nov-14 19:19:17

DD hasn't done one and it has not made any difference to her uni applications. Those doing history at DD's school have been encouraged to do one and some unis will accept it instead of a 4th AS level.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Fri 21-Nov-14 19:36:36

It's compulsory at DD1's school. However I am considering making a case for her to be allowed to dodge the column (because she has such a gigantic additional workload with all the music and all the auditions she will have to do). She however doesn't want me to do this as she thinks it will make her look 'thick' (compared to her peers). I think it will make her look like she has the right priorities to those who matter (the people auditioning her - who really won't care about the EPQ which can't be performance related I don't think...if it could, that would be different).

circular Fri 21-Nov-14 20:59:58

Rabbit - Im fairly sure the EPQ can be performance related.
Thought it was a 5000 word extended essay with presentation, or a project (which can be a music performance) accompanied by a 1000 word essay.

At DD1's school its optional, with straight A students getting first pickings. There were a few places left, but she wasnt quick enough. Wish she had done it, as failed her 4th AS, so could help her UCAS applications. Think if she had, would have dropped the 4th AS early as also has high music workload.

Southampton Uni think quite highly of EPQ. Give a grade lower offer with an A grade EPQ.

summerends Fri 21-Nov-14 21:34:36

Rabbit I have heard of music EPQs that are basically a combination of performed music (eg collection of pieces of a particular style or period) with oral presentation around it. The students have sometimes organised a themed concert with other players involved.
I realise that you think her chances of getting a conservatoire place are slim and there is no support from her school but other talented students have managed the process, also unsupported by their very academic schools, without it apparently being that stressful on top of the normal workload. They seem to have dealt with their auditions as just more performances (although with more travelling than they would normally have to do).

GirlsTimesThree Fri 21-Nov-14 22:20:17

DD2 did one and really enjoyed it. It was hard work and took commitment, but she says she got a lot out of doing it.
One of her uni choices made the result part of their offer to her - if she managed an A she could drop to a B in one of her A2 subjects. The offer was A*AB/AAA or AAB with an A in her EPQ.

webwiz Fri 21-Nov-14 22:28:27

DS is in year 13 and is currently doing an Extended Project and he is really enjoying it. His school don't usually offer it but they have got a few students doing it this year but they are all applying for arts subjects - History/English. For DS its giving him a chance to do some independent study that will hopefully prepare him for his uni course.

Grunty Sat 22-Nov-14 11:41:24

I think it can help distinguish you from other candidates and could give you something to talk about at interview but not essential. DD didn't do it as she was doing a lot of work experience for vetmed as well as a paid job and was already stretched.

Eastwickwitch Sat 22-Nov-14 12:05:46

DS1 is in Y13 & doing one. He's dropped a 4th A2 & doing the EPQ instead.
It seems an awful lot of work but he wants to do law so is doing something related to the justice system.
He took his LNAT this week which I think has rather scared him.
Still not got his PS & UCAS application is which is giving me sleepless nights.

Hakluyt Sat 22-Nov-14 12:12:24

My dd did an EPQ and really enjoyed it. No idea whether it made any difference to her university offers, BUT it was the first time she had written a long essay which she had to research for completely on her own. She says it was a huge help when she started writing university essays and she is very glad she did it for that reason alone.

goinggetstough Sat 22-Nov-14 13:53:03

My DS did an EPQ and like Hakluyt's DD he found it very useful when he started writing essays at university. As to whether it helped him get an offer I am not sure. He applied with his grades and was accepted on a course when he had a grade lower in one subject than their normal offer. So I think that maybe having an EPQ helped.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Sat 22-Nov-14 14:44:58

Summerends I don't think DD1's chances of getting into a conservatoire are any slimmer than anyone else's. confused Logically they will be better than some and worse than others - it all depends on the competition since there are so few places but I've no reason to think she will be weaker than other candidates. But it's a lot of work, she will be doing her diploma in the summer plus Grade 8 on her third study and maybe grade 6 on her 4th in the autumn term, and grade 8 theory too probably, and with 4 A2s too, it will be a massive workload. I personally think she could do without the EPQ (or the 4th A2) but she won't countenance not doing either of them.

ATailofTwoKitties Sun 23-Nov-14 19:36:00

Compulsory at DS's sixth form too.

I have already been that parent and asked if there is a get-out for the slightly less organised child. Apparently not.

summerends Sun 23-Nov-14 20:35:50

Rabbit I certainly would n't be able to comment on her relative chances to other potential students. 'Slim' becauseyou have underlined how difficult it is. All I was saying is not to worry too much as I have seen other students cope fine with workload of music exams, concerts auditions and academics. They have like her been doing similar multitasking throughout their school career to get to that position. The EPQ might give her a different performance angle.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Sun 23-Nov-14 21:15:28

I think maybe it's her school that discourages performers doing performance based EPQs. Or maybe she has got the wrong end of the stick. If only she could write a gigantic thing about GoT or The Walking Dead then she would be in clover - sadly I don't think that will be deemed acceptable! grin She's leaning towards doing something about the history of her instrument. Which might be acceptable to all concerned. I was hoping she could do something about TV/Film comp song, because we know someone who does that, but sadly it's sort of on the syllabus for GCSE so it's sort of out of bounds .

circular Sun 23-Nov-14 21:20:30

Rabbit If the music grades are adding to your DDs workload, is there any point taking any more after this term? I was under the impression that the Conservatoires were not interested in exams taken, just want to see a minimum of grade 8 distinction standard of performance at audition.
The grade 8 theory is popular with the Unis, so probably more worth doing if going fir UCAS too. Heard from some admissions that it could be a dealbreaker if A level music grade drops.
The EPQ, if musical, would be a great interview discussion point. Far more valuable than the 4th A2 IMO.

Admittedly my DD is not as academic as yours, but is just about holding it together in yr13 with 3A2 and 3 instruments, only one of which is grade 8. Hoping she may manage Grade 8 theory in the spring, but still under discussion. Although she thrives on being busy, is very disorganised.

circular Sun 23-Nov-14 21:25:39

Rabbit Just wondering about the different exam boards for EPQ.

Edexcel states that it allows a performance or an artefact. I think this is the one DD1s school does (although she's not doing it).

AQA seems a bit different, more a presentation type.

bobs123 Sun 23-Nov-14 21:26:54

If it is optional at DSs school you need to look at how relevant it is to the unis DS wants to go to. I think they are worth half the points of an A Level so can be handy if the uni's offer is based on the no of points needed as opposed to grades.

Also as already mentioned, unis like Southampton love EPQs (haven't come across any others that feel the same)

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Sun 23-Nov-14 21:34:01

She really wants to do the third grade 8. And she is completely ready (even the dreaded scales) - could have done it this term but we made the teachers thrash it out between them which one would be this term which next and singing drew the xmas straw. As you know, it's flute which is very useful to have in addition to the first study both for practical reasons and for income generating ones. I agree with you that she shouldn't take any more piano grades but there is merit in trying to improve it still. again, from a practical POV. She is determined to do the diploma and to be honest, it gives her something concrete to work for, she likes having goals. I just don't see that the EPQ on top of that (and given that she has to do 4 A2s (in addition to the A2 she is doing in May)) will add anything more. If they do let her do a music-y one it will be less bad. But her current plan is o do something linking literature and history and while I TOTALLY see why she thinks it would be fab, I just worry about the amount of work at a crucial time.

I don't think DD1 is particularly more academic than your DD1 to be honest. She just luckily didn't choose to do French (cos she was pants at it - another reason why your DD1 is prob more academic than she is!).

We did suggest to DD1 that she could knock the singing lessons on the head once she has grade 8 but that went down like a cup of cold sick. grin

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Sun 23-Nov-14 21:34:57

circular DD1's school does the AQA bacc.

circular Sun 23-Nov-14 21:44:19

Rabbit Maybe I'm mistaken, but cannot see anything specific about performance on the AQA EPQ syllabus here.

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