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Extended Project

The Extended Project gives students two years to pursue independent research and achieve a deeper understanding of a subject area. Lessons will focus on: how to manage a project; how to research and reference effectively; how to analyse the validity of sources; how to write an extended essay; and how to deliver findings in a formal presentation.

This course is an opportunity to personalise learning and extend knowledge and skills in ways that are new and challenging. Students with a strong drive to pursue a certain career or undergraduate course can use this qualification to demonstrate early commitment and develop valuable expertise. Those aiming for places at the most prestigious and competitive universities would find it a distinct advantage to be able to discuss their Extended Project in UCAS applications and university interviews.


Head of Department

Mrs L Perrian


Mr D Beer


Sophie Kim Taylor

A Level


Extended Project students must submit one of the following coursework formats for internal assessment:

  • A dissertation (a theoretical written essay)
  • An artefact (essay and sketchbook)
  • A performance based project
  • A study based on practical, investigatory work

All students will need to produce: a project proposal form; a project activity log; an essay of 2000–6000 words; an oral presentation and an evaluation.

Assessment and Feedback

There are four assessment objectives for the Edexcel Level 3 Extended Project course: AO1 Manage (17%); AO2 Use Resources (22%); AO3 Develop and Realise (44%) and AO4 Review (17%). Teachers can only give limited guidance on the choice of project topic because students are assessed on the quality of their project planning and management.

Tracking Progress

At the start of the academic year, a weekly plan will be provided for the full two year course which indicates key deadlines. A copy of the mark scheme is also provided to give details of how marks are awarded in each of the three mark bands. A rough grade equivalent is indicated on the mark scheme but the grade boundaries, set by the exam board, are subject to change each year.


The assessments set throughout the course are designed to allow students to practise their skills for the final assessment of their work. The final course grade is not reliant on the outcome of the practice assessments. The only material used to establish the overall grade is the final submission of the following material at the end of the two year course:

  • A Project Proposal Form
  • Activity Log
  • An essay (including an evaluation and bibliography)
  • Evidence of a presentation
  • An evaluation
  • Candidate Record sheet


Teachers are not allowed to give detailed advice and suggestions for improvements on coursework and, therefore, marking will only give general feedback.  Students need to work independently and develop individual initiative.  Spelling, punctuation and grammar will not be corrected because accuracy is one of the assessment criteria.

Practice assessments will be returned to students within two weeks but the final submission is marked over several weeks. Students will be given a final internally assessed mark for their work but this is subject to external moderation by the examination board.

Mark Schemes

Click here for the dissertation mark scheme (P301)

Click here for the investigation mark scheme (P302)

Click here for the performance mark scheme (P302)

Click here for the artefact mark scheme (P304)


Click here for the Edexcel Level 3 Project Qualification specification

Exam Support


Students who are successful in the Extended Project course are willing to develop their organisational ability and academic curiosity. Most spend about an hour a week pursuing research, monitoring their progress and keeping a log of activities and research sources.  Although, the work is independent, the lessons are focused on discussion and collaborative enquiry to share insights from a range of different topics. Students are, therefore, expected to make generous contributions to shared learning. It is important to recognise that the Extended Project methodology is as important as the final outcome; students will need to reflect on their progress and evaluate their work in detail.

Useful External Links

Click here for exemplar material from the exam board


Potential Careers

The Extended Project can be made relevant to any career choice and this is why students are advised to think carefully about their topic choice. The knowledge and skills gained in the course can demonstrate an aptitude and interest in any discipline.


Alannah King - Natural Sciences at Trinity Hall (Cambridge) 2016-current

Alannah completed an Extended Project with the title: Should we pursue research into genetics despite the level of opposition? She contacted Lord Robert Winston, a professor at the London Imperial College to discuss his ground-breaking work on IVF.  He invited her to meet him on 12 January 2016 and Alannah was able to develop her knowledge and understanding of the field of genetics. He was also kind enough to give her a signed copy of his book “A Child Against All Odds” which was very useful for her research.

Jenna O’Flaherty - Project title: Is the design and fabrication of new, higher performance materials beneficial to society, or merely an expensive scientific experiment?

This summer (2016) I completed an internship with WMG - Warwick Manufacturing Group, which I would never have been able to do without my Extended Project so I wanted to say thank you!

I applied for the project this time last year as a first year chemist with little experience, however managed to succeed in getting the project over older applicants based on my Extended Project. WMG is an engineering/materials company so in the interview I was able to show my interest in material science by talking about my Extended Project and without my Extended Project I really would not have had anything to talk about. Additionally, I think without my project I would not have had the confidence to even apply to begin with. 

I spent 8 weeks this summer on the internship synthesising chemical hydrogels from three different biocompatible materials. I made a total of 20 gels using different methods and different concentrations. I then extensively tested these gels and attempted to 3D print with the gels that showed the most potential during testing. It is hoped the gels can be used as cartilage replacement in the body, consequently I was trying to find a gel that would hold its shape when it was 3D printed, yet still remain flexible. 3D printing would be a way of producing and shaping the gels for the cartilage replacement. I got some good results and have now written an extensive report and produced an A1 research poster which is being showcased next month. Everything I learnt during my Extended Project came into great use and I would have been very clueless without everything you taught me when writing the report.

The project was very different to what I expected when I applied, I had been expecting to join a research group for the summer that was already investigating this but in actual fact I completed everything independently.  Who would have thought I would actually be able to complete first hand research on something so similar to my Extended Project subject! I had never expected my project to come into so much use but I really believe I wouldn't have been able to complete any of the work without it, so thank you again, my project has been so valuable to me.


Charlotte Churm’s final performance on 4 November 2016 was enjoyed at The Whitstable Playhouse by five members of Highworth teaching staff, an A Level English group and a sell-out crowd filling the 180 seats. Her Extended Project brief was: 

To create a performance of “As You Like It” to demonstrate that the directorial process can ensure that Shakespearean comedy communicates to a modern audience.

Charlotte is to be congratulated on procuring a professional venue, delivering outstanding marketing and directing a very enjoyable play. The whole event was very impressive and demonstrated Charlotte’s further potential in directing and production.


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