HE Exams Wiki

(See also FPQ and HPQ for information on Foundation and Higher Project Qualifications)

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) for Home Educators[]


Home-ed team at their stand for Project UroStars at Big Bang Fair.

The Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) is a Level 3 qualification in England and Wales, and is equivalent to half an A-level.  It is an optional extra qualification taken by some A-level pupils.

Can you do the EPQ through home education?[]

EPQs are usually taken by pupils enrolled in a school or college.  They are not generally available to private candidates, as the project has to be assessed by a teacher registered with the exam centre. However, there are now a few options available, such as doing it via a cadet group or a course provider. Some examples are below:

  • Air Cadets offer a level 3 Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) for those over 16.
  • Groundmark Learning offer level 2 HPQs and level 3 EPQs in conjunction with Tutors and Exams exam centres. This is rapidly growing! (Note that this is a new offering and so unlikely to have been tried and tested by many home educators).
  • The cyberEPQ is available to home educated children. See cyberEPQ.

Articles about EPQ[]

What do universities say about the EPQ?

Should you do an EPQ or is it a waste of time?   The Guardian

Alternatives to the EPQ[]

An independent project[]

As an alternative to the EPQ, you could do extended project and have it assessed by an experienced tutor.  You can still mention your independent project on university applications and offer to submit it to universities etc.  Some schools encourage their pupils to study an independent project and write an extended essay, rather than doing the formal EPQ:

"When my son was in the sixth form they encouraged them to spend the summer holiday between lower and upper sixth studying a particular topic which interested then and do a presentation about it back at school - it was run as a competition. They were then encouraged to write about it in their personal statement for UCAS, as evidence of interest in their subject. My son did one on time travel, and when he went for interview he was asked about it and discussed it a lot. He received and unconditional offer and scholarship form that uni, so it obviously worked for him. Nothing to stop anyone home edding from doing the same thing"

Examples of these competitions include:

One home educator wrote: "When my daughter was at that stage, I couldn’t find a way to do an EPQ as a private candidate. However, she wanted to study engineering, so she did an engineering project with a friend, they entered it into the Big Bang Fair and got through to the London finals. That gave them external validation for the quality of their project."

University essay competitions[]

Recognition in one of these competitions would be an excellent thing to put on a personal statement in the place of an EPQ. They require a well researched and argued response to a set question. These are just some of the essay competitions available. There are lots more.

Gold Arts Award[]

A recognised Level 3 qualification, designed for students aged 16, acknowledging considerable commitment to an arts related project including personal artistic development and arts leadership. It is a recognised level 3 qualification. See Arts Awards

Gold CREST Science Award[]

Represents 70 hours of work on a science project - in reality students will spend much longer than this - and suitable for students aged 16 plus. Students need to carry out a science investigation or communication project, complete a written report and submit a project review form. See Gold CREST award