What Is An End Point Assessment? Is It Really Hard?
2 months ago

Whether you have just started your apprenticeship or coming to the end of it, you will have to undergo what is called an End Point Assessment or EPA. This is essentially a final checkpoint that you need to pass after you have completed your formal learning in the duration of your apprenticeship, in order to complete your apprenticeship.

An EPA can be quite a daunting period as it determines whether you have sufficiently developed your knowledge, skills and behaviours to be a competent professional in your industry. The minimum and maximum period of an EPA can vary depending on the level and subject of your qualification, but normally takes between 3 to 6 months to pass.

It is conducted by an organisation/assessor that is completely external and separate to your employer, university or training provider known as the EPAO. The grade you can achieve at EPA stage is either a fail, pass or distinction.

There may be one or multiple ways you are assessed and this is also dependant on your qualification and its level, but the main formats include:

  • A practical assessment
  • An interview
  • Professional discussion
  • A consultative project
  • A test with written answers or multiple choice quiz
  • Delivering a presentation

I personally completed my Level 3 HR Support Apprenticeship where the End Point Assessment was conducted by CIPD, who are one of the most recognised professional bodies in HR in the UK.

Some tips that I would give to anyone who is coming to their Gateway stage of their apprenticeship would be:

  • Make sure you are aware of who/ what organisation will be assessing you at your EPA.
  • Keep your EPA in mind as the end goal through the last 3 to 6 months of your formal learning. This is because you may have to complete a work based project that will require a lot of planning with your workplace alongside any projects you are already doing.
  • Ask your training provider/tutor lots of questions on what is required to pass or achieve a distinction at the EPA stage on a regular basis during your apprenticeship.
  • If you are going to be delivering a presentation, or taking part in an interview or professional discussion, then ensure you complete at least 2 mocks with your training provider so you know what to expect and have an opportunity to seek feedback. E.g. for professional discussions you would have a structure that the questions will follow in.
  • Ensure that if you have any reasonable adjustments, that your assessing body (EPAO) are aware of this at the Gateway stage.
  • There are strict deadlines you need to adhere to for submitting projects to your End Point assessor or you risk failing the EPA altogether.
  • There is no cost to the individual learner for the first attempt of the EPA, however, if you do fail this, your employer may ask you to fund a resit which can be costly! Make sure you have this conversation prior to your EPA, with your line manager.
  • Read the content on https://1stforepa.co.uk/ who have some really useful information on the different assessment methods and differentiation on what makes a fail, pass and distinction answer.
  • You REALLY do need to prepare for this over a consistent and long period of time – don’t leave preparation to the last minute! 

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