Everything you need to know about the EPQ

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a standalone qualification, designed to develop students beyond the usual Level 3 course and to prepare you for university or your future career. It’s worth half an A-level.

You choose your own topic and title, with guidance from teachers. This is an independent project, a chance to really dig deeply into an area that interests you. 

What is an EPQ?

The EPQ can be:

  • a dissertation – a 5,000 to 6,000-word piece of writing based on research. 
  • an investigation or field study. Similar to the dissertation but based on primary research, such as lab experiments or fieldwork.
  • a performance, with a 1000-word analysis.
  • an artefact: artwork, media or technical product plus a 1000-word analysis.

You’ll also need to create a logbook detailing your progress and present the findings at the end.

Why do an EPQ?

  • One study found completing an EPQ increased the chance of achieving A Level A* to B grades by up to 29 per cent.  
  • You’ll learn how to work independently on your own topic, preparing you for further study or going into a career. 
  • Many universities make alternative offers to students with an EPQ.
  • You can develop project management, problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  • You’ll learn how to plan, research, analyse and present.

Most of all, this is a chance to study something completely different from your other subjects – or develop an aspect of one of those subjects in much more detail than your standard qualifications allow. 


Learners have tackled everything from the aerodynamics of dimples on a golf ball to combating loneliness amongst elderly people or creating an 18th century-style ball gown. If you are struggling to narrow down a topic, your supervisor can help. You must find something that can be tackled with an academic approach. If you have chosen the essay option, it has to be an objective piece with references.


You’ll start the EPQ in September, Year 12. Your school or college will have their own deadlines. Some run EPQs over three, four or five terms. You’ll need to create your own detailed plan, with deadlines for each stage, and record progress in your logbook.

It’s a good idea to get as much done as early as possible so you don’t end up rushing before your summer exams. This is a detailed project with a record of progress, so you can’t just leave it until the last minute. 


Marking schemes vary but schools and colleges generally allocate around:

  • 20% – project planning and time management
  • 20% – use of resources and research skills
  • 40% – developing an idea and producing an outcome
  • 20% – evaluation and presentation

UCAS points

An A* in the EPQ is worth 28 UCAS points. An A is 24, B 20, C 16, D 12 and an E 8.

More information

UCAS has some helpful blogs on the EPQ written by a student: