There are many myths and misconceptions about the APC assessment process, so here we will shed some light on what really happens!
After receiving candidate submissions, the chair and assessors will check that there are no conflicts of interest with the candidates. The chair will then split the candidates competencies between assessors. For example, one assessor will cover Construction Technology, and another might cover Building Pathology. The panel will carefully read through the submitted documents and prepare questions relevant to the candidates declared experience.
A few weeks later, the final assessment day arrives and will typically follow the below format…
08:30 – Arrive at the venue and register at the RICS desk, where I’m informed of which room I’ll be sitting in for the day.
08:35 – Join the assessment panel and discuss the candidates submissions generally, any concerns/strengths, how we will proceed with questioning and how the chair would like the day to run.
Before each interview, the panel will discuss the candidates submission and highlight areas for further questioning, which may add to the questions already prepared.
09:30 – First candidate knocks on the door.
Most people are aware of the interview structure, but it should proceed as follows:
- Candidates Presentation (10min)
- Questions from Assessor 1 on Presentation/Case Study (5min)
- Questions from Assessor 2 on Presentation/Case Study (5min)
- Assessor 1 competency questions (13 min)
- Assessor 2 competency questions (13 min)
- Chairs questions; focusing on Conduct, Rules & Ethics (10 min)
- Candidates opportunity to return to any areas or make further comment
During the interview the assessors and chair will be making continuous notes, these are notes of all questions and the candidates responses.
There may also be an auditor in the room, who will sit in the corner and make notes. The auditor will be an experienced chair from a different pathway (Quantity Surveying/Valuation etc.). Their purpose is to ensure the assessors are following the procedure and testing the candidate on all competencies. This is for QA reasons only, and will have no impact on the candidates result. Each panel are usually audited during one of the four interviews on the day.
10:30 – Interview concluded and candidate leaves the room.
At this point the assessors will review their interview notes and usually highlight any areas for concern etc.
We then have a discussion on how the candidate did overall and any critique.
The assessors will now decide whether the candidate has passed or should be referred. The main criteria for this is ‘is the candidate a safe pair of hands’? They must know their limitations, and what they don’t know, as much as what they do know. However, there must not be a constant reliance on others, the candidate should be capable of working independently to an extent and having a good breadth and depth of knowledge in all the competency areas.
If the two assessors cannot agree on the pass/referral, the chair will make the final decision.
If the candidate is referred, the panel will make notes with the chair which is used to form the referral report. These reports used to focus on the weaker areas only but we now also comment on positive areas and give constructive/helpful criticism.
11:00 – Candidate 2 knocks on the door, and we repeat the exact same process.
12:45 – Lunchtime – For everyone’s help assessing, RICS provide a great meal for lunch. This also gives time for a bit of networking with the other interview panels and we may trade some interesting questions for use in the afternoon.
13:45 – Time for candidate 3.
15:15 – Final interview of the day.
After the final interview, if there are any candidates that we couldn’t decide to pass or refer earlier, we will revisit this and must make a final decision before leaving the venue.
The candidates are informed by RICS within 5 days whether they are successful or have been referred. During this time, the chair will prepare any referral reports and circulate these with the assessors for final comment before issuing to RICS.
Hopefully this insight will comfort some candidates, but there is nothing more important than preparation:
- Make sure your documents really reflect what you know and have done, get them checked and double checked!
- Sit a mock interview before submission to check that you are ready.
- Sit another mock on the lead up to the interview.
- Study hard.
- If you’ve been referred – read the referral and study those parts highlighted, you will be questioned on these!
Of course, the assessors want everybody to pass, but they will fully test the candidates knowledge and experience to ensure that they have met all requirements and as mentioned earlier, we must feel confident that the candidate is a ‘safe pair of hands’ in the industry.
AG can assist candidates with APC training. We hold mock interviews and offer general guidance on the APC process. If you would like our support in the run up to your assessment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.