As you start your college assignments, you will come across an independent research project that is lengthy, intensive, and takes around 120 hours to complete the assignment entirely – this is the Extended Project Qualification Essay (EPQ).
An EPQ assignment helps in developing and broadening creative thinking and analytical problem-solving skills, as well as being beneficial for getting students into their desired colleges for other further education.
Well, everything has its first time, and if you’re wondering how to approach the EPQ essay, this article will help you get started.
9-Step Guide to Write a Perfect EPQ Essay
The EPQ essay plays a significant role in building academic confidence, enhancing creative writing skills, and demonstrating your passion for a particular subject or topic.
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While working on this EPQ essay, students learn how to manage their time, meet deadlines, work on constructive feedback, learn independently, and conduct thorough research.
Here’s how you can write an A+ extended project qualification essay in 9 steps.
1. Brainstorm topic ideas
The first thing to do before you start writing your EPQ essay is to find an engaging topic that interests you. Look for ideas and brainstorm subject matter essay topics that are significant to you and intrigue your mind.
Many students make the mistake of choosing boring topics they are not interested in. This eventually leads them to draft up an average, low-quality assignment.
Choosing an appropriate topic that genuinely interests you will help you stay focused and motivate you to work hard and efficiently on your EPQ assignment.
You would also understand your subject matter better and learn more – which would result in making this assignment a high-scoring, fun, and engaging experience.
2. Jot down your ideas
Before you start researching your topic and learning brand new information, use your prior knowledge and write down everything – thoughts, ideas, facts, statistics – you know about your topic and subject matter.
This will help you understand the pieces of information you already have and can thus assist in organizing them for easier understanding and reference. You will also be able to identify if there are any fixable gaps in your knowledge, as this will be held as the foundation of how you will proceed to the next steps for researching your topic.
If you find that you aren’t inspired, you do not have a lot of information on your topic or there are massive gaps in your knowledge, it is better to eradicate the entire idea and start afresh than to submit a half-measured, uninteresting essay.
3. Create mind maps to define the subject matter
Whether your EPQ question is from a Maths, Physics, Biology, Psychology, etc. background, you are required to create a question or a prompt through which you can write your essay.
An Extended Project Qualification essay is mostly a 5000-word essay – and drafting an interesting, engaging, and inspiring essay without a question or a prompt is almost impossible.
Many students fail to do well and get a good grade on this particular essay assignment because they give the topic and content of the essay more important than the essay prompt.
Create a mind map and fill in any idea or thought that comes to you related to your topic. Through this mind map, you can remove ideas that don't pertain to the subject and segregate interesting points to craft your essay question that genuinely piques your interest.
However, it is also a best practice to choose a prompt that has a variety of information, references, statistics, and arguments to it.
This will make it easier to do your research on this topic. Make sure to choose a question that doesn't have a conclusive answer so that you can do extra added research on it and learn more about this subject.
Here’s a video by Justin Sung on using mind maps correctly.
4. Research the topic
Now is the time to focus on the body of the EPQ essay. Try to flesh out all the information you can find about your topic, thus filling the gaps you found in your prior knowledge.
At this time, make it a point to adhere to your chosen title for the essay, the essay question, and the structure you’ve used to lay down your arguments. Check for reliable sources of information such as books, articles, online journals, and more through the internet.
Keep a note of all the references and sources you’ve used to scourge up quality information for your essay assignment. Eventually, this list of sources would be a good way to organize your reference page or bibliography.
5. Structure and organize your essay
As you’ve gathered all the relevant information about your EPQ essay topic, it is time to organize your essay to have better readability, flow, and transitions through different arguments and paragraphs.
The structure needs to provide a robust framework for your essay content and exactly express what and how you want your essay to be delivered. It also helps you stay focused on the essay prompt and the kind of research you need to do to answer it.
Keep in mind to include some essential portions in your essay structure, such as the chronological list of subtitles for subsections and a placeholder to add in the introduction and conclusion paragraphs.
6. Create subtitles for your subsections
Split your essay body into subsections to make it easier to follow a structure and keep space for adding in any new related information. Creating subsections will also help you identify any missing facts and if you’ve explored the topic in detail.
Divide the 5000-word essay into equal and manageable portions with subtitles, and make sure to keep each subsection 100% related to your essay question. These subtitles are mini-topics that will help you get a better idea of what you want to say in your essay.
To create these subsections, you could choose to divide them chronologically or even in a most-important-subsection to least-important-subsection format.
7. Allocate a word count for each subsection
It's not an easy feat to write a 5000-word essay, which is why allocating a specific word count limit to each subsection would help complete the entire essay in a much smoother way.
You must divide your subsections into 16 subtitles, with about 300 words for each subtitle. This will help you reach 4800 words, leaving 200 words for any added paragraphs, points, or arguments. You can choose to keep the number of subtitles between 14 to 18 and allocate the word count to each of them accordingly.
Writing short, manageable portions for your EPQ essay makes the experience more productive, focused, effective, and less monotonous.
8. Write the introduction and conclusion paragraphs
Once you’ve completed writing down the answers to your subtitles, the next step is to write your introduction and conclusion paragraphs.
Your introduction paragraph needs to be shorter than your subtitled subsection. It should encapsulate what your readers should expect out of your essay and a summary of what you want to express, including your main thesis statement.
Whereas your conclusion paragraph should be longer than the subtitled subsections as well as the introduction paragraph. The conclusion should essentially be able to answer the essay prompt which was asked at the beginning of the essay, and aim to include essential points from each subtitled subsection for clarity of understanding.
As a best practice, it is recommended to build your introduction and conclusion paragraphs once you’ve completed writing your main body, as you will have all your arguments and points in place and have a better grasp of how you answered your EPQ essay question.
9. Review and ask for feedback
Lastly, whether it's a friend, parent, or peer, you should get your EPQ essay reviewed and proofread by someone else to receive a fresh perspective and a different opinion on your content and framework before submitting your final draft.
Neglecting to proofread your work would invite unnecessary errors, grammatical issues, and spelling mistakes. Reviewing and proofreading your essay could help identify and fix wrong academic vocabulary, vague arguments, incomplete sentence structures, accuracy, contradictions, incorrect facts, and more.
For students aiming at standout grades, an A+ Extended Project Qualification Essay can be the game-changer. While it requires a high degree of knowledge-sourcing, meticulous application, and strong conviction to write an impressive piece, the above suggestions will go a long way in easing the path.
From the time you zero down on a riveting topic to the final moment you press the submit button, this should be your handy to-do reckoner for surefire success.
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Last edit at Mar 03 2023