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Is the EPQ used in place of A-levels?

The EPQ is studied in addition to 3 A-levels, and is a chance for students to explore areas they cannot cover in their studies. Universities often prefer students to have 3 A-levels and the EPQ rather than 4 A-levels. The UCAS points awarded are the equivalent of half an A-level and can be calculated in a university offer: many Russell Group universities will also lower their entry requirements if the student will also use their EPQ when applying. A good example of this is The University of Birmingham who say:

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.