Welcome to this weeks ‘Question of the Week’
Question: “Does the RICS expect the candidate to be perfect in the final APC exam? In other words, why would a candidate fail at the final APC?”
Answer : Firstly let’s just clear up one thing at the outset and that is the APC Final Assessment IS NOT AN EXAM. It is an EXPERIENTIAL BASED ASSESSMENT which is quite different. I find a lot of candidates think it the APC is something you can revise a few weeks before and hopefully your questions come up. This could not be any further from the truth!
I will try and explain…
You are attending an interview with three other professionally Chartered Surveyors to discuss your Knowledge (Level 1) Skill and Ability through examples of application and advice (Level 2 and 3). This means that you need to know what the competency means and the depth and breadth of knowledge is important, but when taking a competency to a higher level then you must be able to discuss it, offering in depth examples of where YOU have had the experience and offered the advice relevant to the competency.
If a competency you have selected has 10 steps from beginning to end, you should be able to:
Level 1 – Know the ten steps to complete the process and be able to discuss each step from a knowledge and process perspective. Know the principles, parameters and key criteria without having to go back to the books or codes of practice etc.
Level 2 – You should be able to discuss YOUR real life experiences from a range of different project types explaining how you have actually done each of the steps.
Level 3 – If and when discussing with a client about a relevant solution to a problem / challenge they have, you should be able to discuss with them and advise a suitable (CORRECT) solution to cover each step. This advice should be based upon and taken from your experiences you have had at Level 2. Assessors are also looking to see how YOU will conduct yourself and therefore presentation, communication and professional conduct also feature high in the assessment.
If you treat your panel as if you were attending a progress meeting with a Lay Client and that you are on your best professional behaviour with your client’s interest foremost in your mind and able to explain and discuss yourself professionally and succinctly you won’t go far wrong.
So you can see the APC Final Assessment is a simple process of a candidate convincing a panel of professional Chartered Surveyors that they are a ‘Safe Pair of Hands’ and should they achieve their Chartered Status and wish to set up their own practice they know their business and they understand how they are expected to conduct themselves and not bring themselves, the institution and all other Chartered Surveyors into disrepute.
Assessors DO NOT expect candidates to be experts in every competency they declare but they DO expect candidates to have made the effort to have fully understood and taken steps to experience the depth and breadth of their declared competencies.
The APC Final Assessment is NOT EASY, it is not meant to be, it is a professional interview which for the successful candidate demonstrates to other Chartered Surveyors and the world of business that you have met the grade and can be trusted to be professional in all that you do.
Unfortunately candidates get referred at the Final Assessment because of a lack of understanding of the process, competencies and a lack of experience so they are unable to demonstrate their ability. If this is brought into question during the final assessment interview because a candidate is unable to discuss the basics as laid down in the competencies then the assessors will not be willing to pass the candidate as you would expect. You would be surprised how many candidates come forward for assessment who think they can demonstrate a Level 3 competency by just having the outline knowledge without any real experience of it!
In the 15 years I have been assessing this is a constant issue and I often say that about 50% to 60% of candidates I see at the interview are poor. This percentage is much higher at the mock interviews I provide, but thankfully they are mocks and I am able to identify and demonstrate to these individuals the gaps they have in their knowledge and experience.
I sat and achieved my APC Final Assessment and Chartered Status nearly 20 years ago and I am as proud today as the day I achieved it and I believe that is what it is all about it is a mindset that should always be growing and developing ensuring that everything we do is done to the best of our ability.
Jon Lever FRICS
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