EPQ – What makes a stand-out student?
Mike Pattison – EPQ supervisor – The Sixth Form College, Solihull
Lauren Peters – EPQ student – The Sixth Form College, Solihull 2009-2011
Mike Pattison: This qualification is so good because it enables students to develop independent learning and to demonstrate that they are capable of working on their own initiative, and amongst all the other students that are getting good grades at A-Levels, it enables them to stand out.
Lauren Peters: The skills that you develop are exactly the skills you need at university. I went into the interview with knowledge of my subject beyond my A-Level syllabus and it meant that I could talk about something that I was passionate about and that I'd really enjoyed doing, and I think that genuine passion and enthusiasm comes across in the interview.
Mike Pattison: This qualification allows young people the opportunity to pick up a topic that they really want to engage in, and to learn the skills that it takes to be able to deliver that successfully. And I think that impacts widely on the learning culture across the college because it feeds into a student-centred culture, it feeds into student self-development and it's exactly those sorts of skills that lead to good teaching.
Lauren Peters: Not only are you having to plan your own work and review your own work but you're also researching, so you're using the internet, you're using books and libraries and you're not just using an A-Level text book, you're having to find your own information and find out exactly what you need for the project yourself.
Mike Pattison: AQA provides superb support right from the start. We had excellent support in terms of standardisation, which is really important when you're doing the extended project. The introductory material was very clear. The specification and the aims are very, very clear and I think the way that AQA have structured the extended project and the marks scheme, are brilliant.
Lauren Peters: A student who's taken up the extended project clearly has enthusiasm for their subject and that really helps them stand out when they're applying to universities because they are not just going through the motions and doing the A-Levels that many of the students across the country are doing. But they are choosing to do something above and beyond, and each extended project is unique, so no one else will have done what they've done or have the experience that they've had.