The Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) can feel like a daunting and never-ending process but be assured, once it’s over and you have successfully proven yourself, it will go down as one of your best achievements in your life.
It’s a long and nerve-wracking process but here are a few tips which may benefit you on the journey to achieving APC success.
You have to continue your day-to-day activities whilst undertaking your APC so managing your time effectively is very important. I personally found that coming into work an hour earlier everyday allowed me to progress my APC work in a quiet environment and didn’t affect my evenings out of work. Staying an hour after work or working a couple of hours on a Saturday morning might be better for you – it should be tailored to suit you. The main takeaway is to manage your time so you can maintain a healthy balance between your work and personal life.
Supervisor and Counsellor
Your supervisor and counsellor play a vital role through supporting and guiding your APC process. However, it is important for you as the candidate to drive your own APC by arranging meetings and asking for help from your mentors as and when required. I set up meetings with both mentors every three months, which gave me time to make progress with my summary of experience before each meeting. Use meetings to set targets of how much progress you should have made by the next meeting.
Once candidates have completed their Level 1 and 2 summary of experience, I would suggest submitting those to your mentors so they can provide feedback at the next meeting. Meeting with your supervisor and counsellor at least once a month, as you get closer to the final submission date, to receive more in-depth feedback on your Level 3 Summary of experience, Case Study and CPD should assist you.
Get your work proofread by someone else
No matter how many times you check your own work, I can guarantee there will be mistakes that you have missed. I would advise all candidates to have their work checked through by family, friends or colleagues. Make sure you have your work ready to be checked well in advance of your submission date, to give the person checking your work sufficient time to provide their feedback.
Final Assessment Interview
One of the best ways to prepare for your final assessment interview is to try replicating the final interview itself. This can be achieved by arranging mock interviews with your colleagues internally, as well as externally with other firms. The external interviews I arranged were very helpful, as the assessors asked me different questions to the ones I was asked internally. Following submission of the final application and commencement of revision, candidates should arrange their interviews as soon as possible. Remember to send a copy of your submission immediately so the assessors can look through and pick questions from your experience.
As an APC candidate you are required to record a minimum of 48 hours of Continued Professional Development (CPD) a year, of which 50% must be formal. Keep an eye out for full-day, roadshow-type CPD events as not only are some free but they also provide good information. I would also advise all those on the Building Surveying Pathway to attend the annual RICS Building Surveying Conference – an excellent networking opportunity and the day is usually packed with good CPD sessions.
All new candidates are required to record their diary on the RICS Assessment Resource Centre (ARC). Make an effort to keep on top of their diary as much as possible. If you fall behind with your diary you may find it difficult to remember what you did on a particular day – especially when it comes to writing your diary a month or two later. I found it convenient to make some brief notes on a piece of paper following each day and then type these up at the end of the week.