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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.

Staffing

Head of Department

Mrs L Perrian

Teachers

Mr D Beer

Prefects

Sophie Kim Taylor

A Level

Content

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, Marking 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 dates. A copy of the mark scheme is also provided to give details of how marks are awarded in each of the three mark bands. 

Assessments

The final grade is given for 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

Marking and Feedback

Teachers are not allowed to give detailed advice and suggestions for improvements on coursework and, therefore, only general feedback will be given.  Students need to work independently and develop individual initiative.  

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)

Specification

Click here for the Edexcel Level 3 Project Qualification specification

Exam Support

Advice

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

Careers

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.

Alumni

A Dissertation Project by Alysha Cooper 2018   

Medical school presented more challenges than I could have dreamed of and so many of these related back to the work I did for the EPQ. My project was based around whether we could take stem cells and manipulate them to grow the way we wanted them to, in order to treat all types of diseases.

I am now in my second year and we have been given an essay as a module evaluation.  By chance, the topic I was given was stem cells! Alongside an essay, we have to prepare a presentation on what we found and how. Sound familiar?

We have a second module, titled Professional Academic skills, every other Tuesday. We gather in our groups, receive a scenario and research it, before presenting our findings. Through the EPQ, I learnt how to refine my research process and present my findings clearly and confidently.  It was nice to be able to stand in front of a group without worrying about making a fool of myself!

Basically, what I’ve learnt from my time at university is that doing the Extended Project was one of the best decisions I could have made.  It has helped in more ways than I ever imagined and I don’t think I’d be where I am now without it.

A Performance Project by Charlotte Churm 2017   

May 2017 evaluation:

I managed to direct and produce a production of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ for my project which sold out at the Whitstable Playhouse. The show was well received by the audience and I was given plenty of positive feedback about the staging and casting, in particular. I felt I dealt well with all the tasks and problems surrounding the performance. To the best of my ability, I remained calm in a crisis. In addition, I managed the budget for the show, resulting in the production making a healthy profit and produced a show I was proud of.

May 2018 update:

Although at the time it was a nightmare, all the set failing its PAT testing has proved a great horror story to use in interviews and discussions with directors! Fortunately, I was able to use this in response to the question “give an example where you’ve had to overcome a problem” in a recent interview. Thanks to EP, I had a great story and was able to talk about the skills EP gave me in my interview. I am now very proud and happy to say I work for the National Theatre! It’s only a casual summer job doing front of house, bookshop, bar, backstage tour style work but it’s a dream come true and I can’t wait to get started! I firmly believe without the stories and experience from EP, I wouldn’t have got through the interview!

A report by Alannah King  Extended Project 2016

Recently, as part of my  Extended Project titled “Should we pursue research into genetics despite the level of opposition?” I contacted Lord Robert Winston, a  professor at the London Imperial College. I wanted to ask his opinion on the subject, as he is regarded as an expert due to his ground-breaking work with IVF. He is also well known for his many books, documentaries and lectures, and a keen promotor of science for young people. Not only did he reply to my email but he also said that he’d be happy to discuss it with me at any time if I could come up to his London office at the university. I went up on the 12 January, and it was amazing to get a chance to talk to someone with so much knowledge within the field of genetics. This was a fantastic opportunity not only relating to my project, but also a chance to visit one of the UK’s top universities. He was kind enough to give me a signed copy of his book A Child Against All Odds to read, which has been really useful and interesting. Overall the day was a huge success, and as well as being able to talk to Professor Winston, I also enjoyed seeing the university as it is on my list for applications next year. The information and opinions I gathered will greatly help me with the next stage of my project.

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.

News

February 2020

There are currently 29 students completing an Extended Project in Year 13 and 29 students completing an Extended Project in Year 12. Dissertation topics range from gender equality to horse tack and artificial intelligence. Artefacts include short films, fashion look books and photography. The Performance project is focused on the female voice in musical theatre.

We are very grateful to Sophie Taylor, the Extended Project Prefect for her support this year and her contribution, with Vicky Kukla, to the whole school assembly on developing individual interests.

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