Is taking an EPQ beneficial or just a waste of time?

As a student taking three A-levels I began the year certain that I was going to add an EPQ achievement to my UCAS form. However, hearing from friends’ past experiences and teacher’s warnings of the work and time dedication that is required to create an EPQ my confidence in gaining this certain achievement was starting to waver.

My research found a range of different benefits and drawbacks to achieving an EPQ, creating a balance argument: with Bethany, a sixth-form blogger stating that an EPQ “potentially carries more UCAS points than an AS level’, whereas Josh Heath, who has also done an EPQ, says: "For the most part it was a waste of time." I wanted a view of the broad spectrum of perspectives and comments made about EPQs, the processes of creating them and the aftermath of having them. Many of these views were conflicting, such as a student at Edinburgh University saying that the EPQ did nothing to help him gain entry into his University but instead lowered his final A-level examinations due to the time and work he focused on his EPQ and not his primary subjects. However, the University of Birmingham argues that an EPQ not only allows students to increase the likelihood of reaching the conditions for a future student of the university, but that a long-term aftermath of an EPQ is that it “Provides future employers that you’re a self-motivated character with useful skills”.

Therefore, I came to the conclusion that I am willing to put in the time, work and energy into creating an EPQ that can benefit me with not only University applications but job offers. However, only to the extent that the workload and stress affects my three A-levels and risk me losing the correct qualifications to be able to apply for a University or job opportunity in the first place. What would you choose? To complete the Extended Project Qualification or to mainly focus on your A-levels and other extra-circulars?