Similarities between EPQ and CSS module in Advanced Level Foundation
The Extended Project Qualification, or EPQ is it is more commonly referred to, is a qualification that is often taken alongside A-levels and is highly valued for progression to university. It carries UCAS tariff points equivalent to half an A-level.
The CSS (Communication and Study Skills) module on the Kings Advanced Level Foundation is one of two compulsory components that are studied alongside 'elective' subject-specific modules on the course.
There are many similarities between the two.
Firstly, both include a presentation and a written assignment. Whilst the written assignment within the CSS module is 2,500 words, the EPQ requires one which is double that — 5000 words. For the main CSS project and assignment, students can choose the area they want to study — as with the EQP.
Secondly, the skills learnt within CSS mirror those of EPQ. They include project management, planning, research, critical thinking, analysis, synthesis, decision-making, problem-solving, evaluation and presentation skills. All of which are valuable for university study and beyond.
As the University of Oxford states:
"...the University recognises that the EPQ will provide an applicant with the opportunity to develop research and academic skills relevant for study at Oxford. Candidates are encouraged to draw upon relevant EPQ experience when writing their personal statement."
Another similarity is that the CSS module makes up part of the overall Advanced Level Foundation grade, which means that — as with the EPQ — a high grade in this would help make up for a lower grade in another subject, helping students to ensure their overall grade requirement is met.
As the University of Birmingham states:
"Applicants who offer the EPQ and meet our offer criteria will be made the standard offer for their programme of choice and an alternative offer which will be one grade lower plus a grade A in the EPQ. For example where our standard offer is AAA, the offer would be AAA or AAB plus A in the EPQ."
As is the case with the EPQ, the Communication Study Skills module is widely recognised by students and universities alike for the added value that it gives the Kings Advanced Level Foundation, and certainly helps explain why so many of our students progress to top 20 universities.
As former Kings student Serra Illeri, who progressed to Durham University, commented:
"My English was already quite good when I came to Kings but it's completely different from the education system I was used to and I had no idea how to write essays or how to do an academic presentation. At the time I thought it (CSS) was important but now I realise how essential it is. I'm the only international student who got a First in the 'Changing the World of Business' assignment and I think it's only because I'm good at referencing — that was a point that my lecturer, who is also the course leader, made — he said the only reason I did far better was that I was good at referencing! If it wasn't for CSS I wouldn't have known how to do it. We do have one academic writing skills lecture but it's not as comprehensive as CSS."