The EPQ is an independent research project on any subject of the student’s own choosing – a Sixth Form level development of the HPQ studied by students at Forest in Year 10 and Year 11. You will be advised and supported in small groups by a ‘supervisor’, who will also give you training in research skills and project management.

However, you will conduct most of the research and produce your ‘project’ entirely independently. At the end you’ll get a grade (it’s an A-level standard qualification, so an A* is available) that has a slightly higher UCAS tariff value than the reformed AS-level.

Whilst many students choose to produce a long, formal research essay as their EPQ, the project outcome can take a huge number of different forms. Films, creative ‘artefacts’, musical or dramatic performances and all sorts of other outcomes can make excellent EPQs.

You can approach your EPQ in two different ways: one is to use it to broaden your learning in a new area – perhaps a subject or topic you weren’t able to take at A-level, or that isn’t usually offered in schools. Alternatively, you might choose to specialise even more in a subject area related to something else you are studying. Either is fine: it’s up to you.

The advantages of the EPQ are obvious: it’s a great way of demonstrating to universities or employers that you are an independent learner, intellectually curious and that you have the sticking power to see something like this through.

Universities are so enthusiastic about the EPQ that they have frequently reduced their offers to applicants who offer one. Most universities ask students to undertake research projects throughout degree courses: students who have experience of the EPQ are clearly far better prepared to meet this course requirement.

Examples of projects undertaken by Forest pupils

  • Mitigation and adaptation: a critical analysis of climate change management in nations at differing levels of development.
  • To what extent was the thirteenth amendment the most significant cause of mass incarceration of African Americans in America from 1865 to present day?
  • To what extent does Ted Hughes redeem himself for the tragedy of Sylvia Plath in ‘Birthday Letters’?
  • E-cigarettes: Friend or Foe?
  • Why is cancer set to become one of the biggest killers in Africa?
  • What was the most significant factor which influenced the ‘Analytical Cubist’ movement (1907-1912)? With focus on the paintings of Picasso and Braque between these years.
  • ‘Setting the stage for the new Deaton Theatre’. Artefact: redesign of the Deaton Theatre.