An Extended Project Qualification is an excellent complement to any college or sixth form education. The self-motivated writing process means that students must develop discipline and work ethic. However, this individualised pathway means it can be hard for students to know when the official submission deadlines are.
Furthermore, the many internal goals and parts to the project can be hard to predict and plan. In this article, using my knowledge from completing an EPQ, I will inform you of the official deadlines for EPQ submission. I will also suggest tips on planning deadlines for yourself to ensure you stay on track.
The deadline for EPQs to be submitted to the exam board in 2024 is around May 15th. However, this is typically a deadline only used by your school or college. As the EPQ is marked internally by your teacher, then moderated by an exam board, your school will need the project before this deadline to make sure it is marked and completed in time. From my experience, this date is typically around March, although this varies in different schools and colleges.
While this should have given you an overview of some key EPQ deadlines, please read on for the full details of EPQ submission and deadlines, as well as tips on how to meet them.
When is the final EPQ submission deadline?
The final submission deadline for EPQs under AQA in 2024 is 15th May, the same deadline as other pieces of NEA (coursework). This is the date that EPQs must be submitted from your school, fully marked, to the exam board.
As JCQ set the 15th May 2024 as the final date for submitting centre-assessed marks, other exam boards also have final dates around this time or before, in mid-May. This is due to A-Level exams beginning soon after this date, so is similar every year. You can learn more about this in a guide by JCQ, which can be found here.
It is usually a good idea to try and complete your project well before this, to ensure you have time to have it marked and proofread. Think Student has an ultimate guide to writing an EPQ goes into depth about all the key areas of creating an EPQ, which can be found here.
The EPQ is marked by your centre, then moderated by external examiners. This means that your teacher will need the EPQ before the final exam board submission deadline.
Your school will likely set a final internal deadline a few months before the exam board deadline. Please see below for more details on this.
For more key dates for EPQ, including when entries must be submitted from AQA please see their website, which can be found here.
Can schools set internal EPQ deadlines?
Schools are advised by the exam boards to set an internal deadline for before the final submission date. This is so that they can mark the EPQ and ensure that students have all the necessary documentation of their project completed. You can learn more about this on a page of the Pearson Edexcel website, which can be found here.
In my experience, this deadline tends to be a few months before the final date in May, often around mid-March. This date is when your EPQ must be fully written, your paperwork complete, and the project signed off by your supervisor and your centre’s EPQ co-ordinator.
Some schools also choose to set mini deadlines throughout the process. For example, they may say that all project proposals must be completed before the summer holidays. This helps keep students on track and ensures that they will all complete their project before the final deadline.
However, while schools can set internal deadlines (and it is sensible to try and follow them), not meeting them will not bring down your grade. If you can show that you have a personal deadline which is different, and justify why you missed the deadline, you should not lose marks.
However, it is still important to try and keep to all deadlines set by the school, particularly the final submission date. Ultimately, your teachers will be marking the project, and may deduct marks for disorganised work.
How can you make sure you submit your EPQ on time?
An EPQ can be a very stressful process, and it can be hard to balance the project with other school and social commitments. This can sometimes mean students struggle to meet their deadlines.
For example, at the mid-project stage, I chose to completely re-plan my deadlines and give myself more time to complete the project. This allowed me to complete it to the best of my ability rather than rushing. It is much better to re-plan if needed than to miss deadlines.
In fact, as the EPQ process involves facing challenges and problem-solving, if you write about the experience of re-planning and issues with deadlines it may even help you gain marks. Make sure to include all your struggles in the log, with a detailed account of how you solved them. This is a key part of the mark scheme for EPQ.
This work ethic can also be hugely useful in further study, particularly at university. For a full list of the universities that consider EPQ as part of the selection process (including giving reduced offers), read this article from Think Student.
Furthermore, ensure that you work little and often on your EPQ. It is not a race to finish, and you should aim to do a few hours every week over several months. This will ensure that your deadlines are consistent, rather than a last-minute rush.
For more information on how long it takes to complete an EPQ, please see this Think Student article.