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Dereham Sixth Form College

EPQ Study Day – Visit to UCS

20 June 2017

Last week a number of our Year 12s spent the day at UCS (University Campus Suffolk) in Ipswich for an EPQ Study Day. Lucy Burton tells more:

“The day included a workshop on research methods and referencing, and a workshop on academic writing. The workshops were very useful and helped me gauge a better understanding of how I will need to structure and write not just my EPQ, but also essays in my current subjects.”

The EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) is a stand-alone, optional Level 3 award which allows students to develop and extend their knowledge of their curriculum subjects or pursue an area of personal interest. It is based on a topic chosen by the students and can take the form of a 5,000 word report or an ‘artefact’ accompanied by a 1,500 word report. Grades are based on both the final piece of work and the process which students record in their project log. Students are graded based on how well they identify and use resources, carry out research, develop their ideas to realise an outcome and then reflect on the outcome and the process.

The EPQ process began in March with students having one-to-one meetings with their EPQ supervisor to discuss initial ideas, plan and begin initial research. The bulk of the work will be completed over the summer ready to submit when we return in September with results being announced in January.

The EPQ is very highly regarded by universities and employers as it shows that an individual has well developed independent research, reflection and project management skills. Mrs Bewick, who coordinates the EPQ programme at the College, says, “This qualification is increasingly used in the university selection process and two of our Oxbridge candidates [last year] were asked to take their EPQs to discuss at their selection interviews. Students relish the challenge and staff are amazed by the enthusiasm shown over a range of topics from neuroscience, mathematical modelling and criminology to filmmaking, writing a novel and even the design of cricket bats!”

The EPQ develops even further the independent research skills that are required for continued study at degree level and so the EPQ Study Day gave our students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a higher education learning environment and to use the university’s resources for research. Back at College the development of these skills will continue to be supported by the College’s Educational Resource Manager.

Last year 56 students submitted an EPQ project and achieved some fantastic results. 88% received an A*-C grade with just under half of all applicants being awarded an A or A*. We look forward to seeing the projects created this year.

Whilst at UCS the students were also given the opportunity to learn about the university and university life. Lucy says, “The day included a talk with regards to choosing courses at the UCS and a tour of the campus and accommodation. It was interesting to look around a university campus, as this was the first university I’d actually been able to do this at. Overall I thought the day was useful and informative; helping me gain a better understanding both of what university is like, and how I will need to structure my EPQ.”

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