An EPQ involves doing research around a topic of your choice, writing an essay about your findings and delivering a presentation. When you’re thinking about EPQ ideas as an aspiring medic, it makes sense that you may want to choose a topic linked to Medicine.
To decide on your topic, you could consider some NHS hot topics, science hot topics, or topics in medical ethics that you would be interested in exploring further. Try not to choose something too scientific or too niche, because you risk making the project more difficult and less enjoyable than it should be! Completing a Medicine EPQ will demonstrate that you have a genuine interest in Medicine and are committed to pursuing it at university and as a career.
Of course, it isn’t essential to focus on just Medicine EPQ ideas! You’re welcome to choose a completely different research topic for your project, as long as you can justify it, and it could be just as beneficial to your application. After all, Med Schools are looking for students who are well-rounded individuals and have other interests outside of Medicine too.
At university, Med students are expected to do a lot of independent work to keep on top of their studies. For some people, this is a big leap from A-Levels and it can be hard to adapt at first. If you’ve completed an EPQ, this shows that you are a keen, self-motivated student with experience of independent study. In some ways, doing an EPQ gives you a taste of the responsibility that you’ll have to take on at university.
You’ll be expected to write plenty of essays at Med School – and an EPQ will help you to develop and demonstrate your writing skills. This could be particularly useful if you’re doing mostly science A-Levels, where essays are less common than in arts and humanities subjects. Another way you could hone and show off your essay writing skills is to enter school essay competitions for aspiring medics. Doing an EPQ will also enable you to develop your research skills, which are vital for studying Medicine.
Good time management skills are essential for surviving Med School, because you’ll need to keep up with your studies while maintaining a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout. Achieving an EPQ alongside your A-Levels is a solid demonstration of your time management skills, showing that you might be more equipped to deal with the demands of Med School than the average A-Level student. Before you decide to start an EPQ, it’s important to think about the time it will take and assess whether this is do-able for you.
Doctors need to have strong communication skills, so you’ll need to be confident and articulate at your Med School interviews. An EPQ culminates in a presentation – and this unique opportunity for public speaking will allow you to improve and demonstrate your communication skills. The presentation is typically delivered to a non-expert audience, so this will also prepare you for the experience of interacting with patients and explaining concepts in easy-to-understand terms.
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