5 Tips For Planning and Producing a Successful EPQ Project

If you're considering taking on the challenge of an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), you’re on the right track to gaining a competitive edge in the world of university admissions!

The EPQ is a powerful tool that can set you apart from your peers and impress university admission officers with your dedication, intellectual curiosity, and commitment to academic excellence.

In this article, we will explore why the EPQ is a valuable asset when applying to the top universities and how it can help you become an expert in your chosen field of study. Subsequently, I will also provide you with five top tips to successfully plan and write up your project.

Whether you’re aiming for a spot in a competitive course or targeting prestigious Russell Group universities, the EPQ could be a key to increasing your chances of acceptance. So now let's dive in and discover how the EPQ can help demonstrate your abilities in independent research, long-term project planning and presenting your findings.

Why take EPQ?

Undertaking an Extended Project Qualification can provide you with numerous benefits and valuable learning experiences. Firstly, it allows you to explore any subject of your choice, in a way that goes beyond your regular academic coursework and curriculum. 

This process not only fosters independent research and thinking but also allows you to hone skills in critical analysis and develop a deeper understanding of a topic. Your independent research project is a fantastic way of showcasing your ability to generate ideas and employ them in project planning.

Moreover, it encourages creativity and innovation; allowing you to pursue personal interests and ideas in a unique way. Now, let me introduce five top tips for successfully undertaking and completing an EPQ:

1. Choose a Relevant and Engaging Topic Title

The important part of picking a topic title is thinking about what you enjoy and find interesting. Remember, you’ll be stuck with it for the rest of the year, so select a topic that genuinely compels you and aligns with your academic or career aspirations.

Ensure that your topic is sufficiently broad to allow for in-depth research and analysis, but not so broad that it becomes too overwhelming. A well-chosen topic will keep you motivated and engaged throughout the entirety of the project. Have a look at some online examples such as that of Jake Clark’s EPQ.

2. Planning and Organising Your Time and Project

Develop a comprehensive project plan that includes relevant milestones, deadlines, contingency plans, and a clear structure for your project. By breaking down tasks into smaller, more manageable actions you're more likely to complete your goals.

Additionally, allocating time for research, data collection, analysis and writing will ensure you complete your whole project before the deadline. Effective planning and time management will allow you to stay on track and avoid last-minute cramming.

You can use different methods of planning and organising like Gantt charts, checklists, To-Dos, Google Calendar etc. I have also linked My Production Log so that you can have a look for some inspiration. 

3. Use Lots of Different Sources To Conduct Research

If you gather information from a variety of reliable sources such as books, scholarly articles, reputable websites, and interviews with expertise in the field, you can ensure your research is thorough and viable.

It also helps to have a mix of both primary and secondary research, but if you're unable to do so, don't worry you can still write a well written report and still do well in your EPQ.

A couple of things to make sure you do are: taking notes, highlighting the key points, and organising your research material for easy referencing. Ensure that your research is balanced and includes multiple different perspectives on your topic to avoid biased conclusions.

Once you have collected a substantial amount of research material (aim for around 25 - 35), critically analyse and evaluate the information you have collated from each. Try looking for patterns, connections, and discrepancies within the data provided.

Develop your own arguments and interpretations based on the evidence you have gathered and start forming your arguments too. Remember to cite your sources accurately using appropriate referencing styles, as this is a requirement when conducting academic reports.

This project also presents a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to pursuing a career in research or even developing essential skills that are applicable to various professional fields.

Furthermore, throughout the project, you will have a chance to articulate your ideas, present your findings, and defend your arguments; thereby, strengthening your ability to effectively express complex concepts, and bolstering your confidence in speaking. It will also additionally demand self-discipline and self-motivation.

4. Create a Clear Essay Plan

Before writing out your essay, you want to create a clear and coherent plan outlining your main sections, titles, and subheadings, as well as the sources you will utilise for each section. You must make sure your essay follows a chronological flow of ideas and arguments.

This, ultimately, will help you stay organised and ensure your project is easy to read and follow. By following these steps, you will be able to effectively plan and write a strong essay showcasing all the research you have done. Additionally, consulting some of our academic tutors could also help if you're specifically struggling with this.

5. Prepare for your Presentation

In order to deliver the best presentation, make sure you understand your audience. It is really important that you tailor your presentation so that it is easy to understand and encapsulates their interest.

When you do conduct your presentation, you should also clearly define the purpose of the presentation, this will help structure your content effectively. By beginning your presentation with a strong opening you're able to capture the audience’s attention.

Visual aids such as slides, images or videos can also make your presentation much more engaging and interesting. Try practising and rehearsing multiple times so that you become familiar with the content flow, even allowing a friend or mentor to provide you with feedback.

This will thus help you gain confidence and improve your delivery. Moreover, be sure to proofread and double-check your slides, and consider the layout, design and typography too as this can help improve your presentation aesthetically. 

My biggest piece of advice for your EPQ is to start planning as early as you can and always reflect on your process. You want to show the examiners that you have taken the time to reflect on your research journey, talking about the challenges you faced, and how you tackled them. 

Bonus Tip:

Always seek feedback and guidance from your EPQ supervisor or mentor throughout the process, as they can provide you with valuable insights, suggest improvements, and help you stay on track with deadlines.

Remember that your EPQ is an opportunity to demonstrate your research and interest in a specific niche, so approach it with enthusiasm, organisation and a genuine passion for your chosen topic. Good Luck with your project and all the best for your future !!

Additionally, if you would like any help with science, reviewing coursework, or personal statements then please reach out through my profile linked below :)

At Sherpa, online lessons provide an interactive whiteboard and other essential resources to help in learning and understanding certain concepts. You can find a tutor in all subjects to assist you along this journey of planning your project as well as helping you structure and communicate your essay.

We can also help summarise key findings, check language, and proofread, all of which will help improve your written component.

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Yasmina D


Encouraging and engaging tutor in a range of different subjects

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