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So, you want to pass your APC?

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For a successful outcome, there is one key word.  PREPARE.

Do not underestimate the amount of time you need to prepare for your APC.  You need to plan for success and prepare carefully from the time you start your journey right up to to the moment you leave the final interview room.  Many unsuccessful candidates either lack the relevant competencies and/or experience at the required levels or have not adequately prepared for the final interview, even if their documentation is acceptable to the panel.

To help you succeed, here are our 5 Top Tips for preparing to pass your APC.

TOP TIP #001 – HAVE A PLAN

As with all successful enterprises, there must be a well-formed plan in place at the start.  When formulating your plan, ensure you understand the APC process, bearing in mind that the specific requirements for the APC are defined in the Pathway Guide. Agree your plan with your employer, counsellor or whoever is working with you on your APC. Also, be aware that the experience you need to gain may not always come from your employer directly, so think about how you can gain it elsewhere and be prepared to change the plan as you proceed,.

Make sure you arrange and hold regular meetings with your mentors to ensure you are keeping to the plan - or changing it as necessary.

TOP TIP #002 – KNOW YOUR SUBMISSION

When your documents are complete and you have submitted them, don’t just forget about them.  Make sure you really know the contents of your documents as these, along with the APC guidance, are the only information the assessing panel will use to prepare for the interview.  You may well have written parts of your submission document well before uploading them to the Assessment Resource Centre: for example, CPD entries may date back two years prior to your interview date.  Thoroughly refresh your memory about what you have submitted before your final interview.

TOP TIP #003 – ANSWERING QUESTIONS VERBALLY

A great way to test your knowledge and practise your ability to respond to the assessment panel is to arrange for someone to ask you questions on the various competency topics.  It’s preferable for the questioner at least to have technical knowledge and ideally he or she should be a Chartered Surveyor working in your discipline so you can discuss your responses with them.  Record the session so you can hear how you respond and work out how best to frame your answers. You may not like doing this, but what you hear is what the panel will hear in real life, so stick at it!

TOP TIP #004 – HAVE A MOCK INTERVIEW

The penultimate test of everything you have prepared for should be to hold a least one full mock interview with a panel who have knowledge of the final interview process, and if you can find a couple of friendly assessors to help so much the better. 

Make sure you only get asked  “open” questions and not any that can elicit a “yes” or “no” response (otherwise you have a 50% chance of getting it right – or wrong!).  This approach will test your knowledge at Level 1 as well as how you respond at Level 2, where you have to discuss your experience, and Level 3, which is where you have to demonstrate your expertise at offering advice.

TOP TIP #005 – ARE YOU A SAFE PAIR OF HANDS?

When asking you about your experience, assessors are basically checking that the evidence presented in your written submission is genuine and in line with the RICS Pathway Guide.  The essential elements of what you must know, have experience of and have advised clients on is detailed in these guidance notes.  If you have not gathered enough experience or knowledge then you have no excuses and, I’m afraid, are not ready for the final interview.

The assessing panel want to ensure that you are a “safe pair of hands” and fit to be a Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors..  The panel are the gatekeepers you need to pass before you are allowed to practise as a Chartered Surveyor and possibly set up your own regulated firm and thus deliver the services expected of a professional Chartered Surveyor

SUMMARY

This article is written to help you prepare and to provide some insights to the common issues and problems involved in passing the APC.  Many of the pitfalls can be easily avoided prior to the submission being made, yet as assessors we still see errors made on a regular basis. Don’t panic but remember what we said at the outset. Assiduous preparation is vital and this should include avoiding the following:

  • Word count not compliant with the guidance
  • Poor CPD evidence
  • Poor case study topic choice
  • Poor spelling and grammar
  • Poor presentation of the document
  • Lack of Level 1 knowledge.
  • Lack of evidence of project specific experience in the competencies at Levels 2 and 3.

We want you to pass and the assessors want you to pass, but they are trained for these interviews in order to protect the quality and reputation of the profession.  This means you must be fully prepared, ready to submit your document and sit the final interview.  The RICS has no quota for passes or referrals, but be assured, if you are not ready you are very unlikely to succeed.

Finally, keep positive, ensure you plan well and prepare conscientiously for all stages of the APC journey.  We wish you every success.

 

INFORMATION ABOUT APC ACADEMY

APC Academy helps support employers and candidates throughout the APC process, making the journey easier and increasing your chances of success.  We offer a number of bespoke services and seminars, which include assisting in document preparation, provision of questions based on the submitted documents, mock interviews and presentation preparations.  We have combination packages of the services listed above which are very popular. 

We are holding a full day seminar on Thursday 7th September 2017 which is aimed at “Preparing to Pass”.  The seminar is focused on the process, ways to improve your submissions and we hold a live mock interview.  This event is held at Stirling Court Hotel, which is the Scottish APC Centre.

All details about our services can be found at www.apc-academy.co.uk


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