APC Ask Me Anything - September Article

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 09:20

By RICS Training

Welcome to September’s APC Ask Me Anything (AMA) article. The RICS Training team are running free online sessions where candidates can ask an APC Assessor anything about the process, skills development and how to give yourself the best chance of success. Below you can read through some of the key questions raised by candidates from this month’s session. Find out what advice was given by our Assessor and Trainer Tony Ward, the Membership team and what training is available to you for overcoming challenges faced by APC candidates.

Process and preparation

For the prelim route: 1. how long does it take the assessors to provide feedback and 2. is the feedback, either Go or No Go?

Assessors take approximately 6 weeks to give you feedback - the feedback will be “proceed to interview” or carry out the following to improve your document.

I am a referred candidate and using the word template submission document. Do I still need to submit a training log (on 24 month structured training) and if so do I copy and paste my original log book or update it to what I have been doing for the most recent 24 months?

I'd update the logbook to the time you submit for your next interview.

One of my seconders FRICS is unavailable to sign my APC application form proposers and seconders will it be accepted with only his name and membership number?

RICS are strict on signatures and forms, so ensure everything is signed properly and delivered to RICS in good time. Please find the contact details of the membership team at the bottom of this article in case you need further info on forms and deadlines.

I understand the submission/application window will open on 15th September is that correct to apply on ARC?

Yes, that is correct. If you need further info on how to use ARC please check out the video tutorials on rics.org, you will find the link to these at the bottom of this article. If you are still having issues with ARC please contact the membership team.

I have recently enrolled onto the APC and I am due to sit in November 2018. What would you recommend I start on first? I have been told that the summary of experience is good to start on, is this correct?

Start with the easy bits first - your personal and employment info, followed by CPD to date, the Summary of Experience followed by Case Study.

When you did the APC process, what were the key milestones that you programmed in at the start i.e .summary of experience, case study/critical analysis, log book etc. Or did you work on them all concurrently?

I took time off work, worked weekends and spent a long time on getting it, how you do it may be different to me - but some tips from me are: 1. Plan your time, write on a calendar when you will do type work; 2. find time in your weekly schedule; 3. get up early at weekends and work on it; 4. select a couple of nights per week as your APC nights.

I have completed my summary of experience for Mandatory competencies, and noticed that for 'Sustainability' competency, it is showing Level 2 text (in the guide it is required at Level 1 only) and copied text from my Technical Sustainability Level 2. This has resulted in my word count for Mandatory exceeding the 1500 words. I think its because of default settings on ARC. What can I do?

It is a technical issue so I suggest you contact the membership team so they can look into it or advise you how to change the settings. Please contact them ASAP as they are very busy at this time of the year, you will find their details at the bottom of this article.

As an 'inflight candidate' what should I expect when uploading my PDF Word document submission rather than being fully integrated onto ARC? If I have any issues, who is best to contact?

Uploading your submission as a PDF should be relatively easy and straightforward. You will also find a link to the ARC page on rics.org at the bottom of this article where you can find a video tutorial on how to use ARC and upload your submission as well as a written guide. If you have any issues, please contact the membership department but make sure that you leave enough time before the submission date as they are very busy at this time of the year.

Can we add this session as CPD?

This session counts as informal CPD.

In my company, we are holding lunchtime Q&A sessions with APC questions that could come up in the interview. The attendees are all APC candidates. How often would you recommend that we do this? We were thinking one every week and then more when we are near the interview, would you agree? Is there any free resources that you know of?

There are a couple of small bits on Compass. There is a free competency encyclopaedia module for ethics. There are also three modules that look at how to tackle skills for answering Final Assessment questions as best as possible. They cost £15 but the first few questions for each module are free.

Can you please repeat again what we need to mention in each Level?

Level 1 is Knowing, Level 2 is doing and Level 3 is Advising. Read carefully the candidate and pathway guides. Also, check out some RICS APC Competency Masterclasses which are online courses

 

Case study

During the presentation of my case study, can I mention the name of the stakeholder example client and contractor when giving out an introduction?

Yes, it is ok to you can mention the stakeholders.

I'm currently working as Assistant Expert Witness, producing independent Quantum expert reports. It makes sense for my case study to be based on this, however I'm concerned that it won't cover enough breadth as it's not in a project environment. Any tips, suggestions or recommendations?

What you are doing is slightly away from the norm for Surveyors, so I suggest you run through the pathway guide with your Supervisor/ Counsellor to ensure that what you are doing relates to the competencies within your pathway

Are there any no go areas for case study as my main role is contract administration which seems a bit dry? Just wondering about topics for the case study as I generally deal with change and EWN, which doesn't really have any meat on it so to speak...

The key to a good case study is that you were instrumental in the advice given, that you had a key issue/issues, that you had options you rejected, a solution you provided and that you learnt something from the process.

I have a project currently that may require some post-contract value engineering. I have been told from colleagues that VE is quite a weak key issue, do you agree with this?

Value Engineering as a key issue - it is not weak - I passed my APC first time and one of my key issues was Value Engineering!

 

Interview

In the interview, are you allowed a certain percentage of wrong answers? Obviously, things like ethics etc. need to be watertight, but how much leeway are you given on your chosen competencies?

The RICS do not set a limit that you are allowed to get wrong. The interview is "holistic" and many factors are taken into account by the panel.

Are you allowed to revisit a question if you're not sure first time around?

You are given the last word at interview. The chairperson will come back to you at the end of the interview and ask if you wish to revisit or clarify any of your answers

Before starting the Case Study Presentation, should I give out presentation handouts? I am proposing to do A4 3 slides per page. Is this okay as handout reference? Does the chairman have to receive a like for like copy of the presentation in the same format as presented i.e 1 slide per page or can I narrow it to 3 slides per page for the handout?

If giving a handout - ensure it is concise and preferably only one page of A3/A4 - do not swamp the panel in too much paperwork, they have enough from you with your submission. Have you thought about an A3 flipchart?

I am doing A3 A frame, flipchart, for the handouts then will these be in A4 (2 or slides per A4 page) or A4 in 10 pages (maybe this is too much)?

If doing a flipchart, do not do handouts, that’s too much. Use either a flipchart or handouts, not both.

When interviewing, what is the best way you see candidates giving themselves time to think before responding? What is reasonable 'thinking time'?

I do not time the candidates on this, there is no set guidance by RICS, the key is that you answer the question correctly and in a professional manner. We would rather have a short pause and the correct answer rather than somebody rush it and get it wrong. Just focus on getting the answer right, if you cannot answer it at the time ask to come back to it at the end

All answers in the panel must be structured? Like staring in level 01 and finishing in level 3.

The questions will not necessarily start at level 1 and work up, some may start at level 3. The key is to listen carefully for the questions. I highly recommend a web class I deliver for RICS which is a two part one about the final assessment interview, there is some info which will be useful in that course – you’ll find the link at the bottom of this article.

Do the L3 competencies need to expand on L2 or can the example be completely different?

The examples can be from different projects.

When noting several examples, should this be most recent first, or oldest to newest etc.? Generally, how do assessors like to see the competencies structured (high level)?

The assessors like to see Level 1 - example/s of your knowledge and where you gained that knowledge. Level 2 - what you did, where and how. Level 3 - advice you gave and reasons for that advice. Just make sure that you name the project as well.

If I started each competence with the same structure e.g. In my role as QS on the X project... this would be ok? In level 2 and 3.

Try to vary it a bit and make it not too robotic or repetitive

 

Further info and resources

Next session: 6th of October 12:00-13:00

Membership operations team contacts:  

apc@rics.org

+44 (0)247 686 8555 Mon - Fri 9.00am - 5.00pm UK

 

Preparing for your Final assessment – two-part web class

Competency masterclasses

ARC video tutorial and guides

 

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