Top tips on how to prepare for you final assessment for RICS APC candidates

Chris Marrow

The most wonderful time of year is once again upon us. No, I don’t mean it’s time to get the cookies and milk out for Santa and dig out your winter coat. Yes, we are at the stage when RICS APC candidates frantically prepare for their final assessments in hope of achieving the most coveted MRICS designation.

Having been an APC mentor for a number of years, and having experienced the demands of the APC final assessment process myself just five years ago, I thought it might be useful to impart some knowledge and advice for this year’s candidates.

There is no doubt the assessment process is tough, and so it should be. But fear not. As a candidate, it is all too easy to become overwhelmed as you approach the big day. Here are a few pointers:

  1. Mock interviews – Arrange an initial mock interview as early as possible, and get a number organised between now and your final assessment. This will help to identify strengths and tease out further areas that require study. Mock interviews also allow you to become comfortable with the final interview format.
  2. Interview presentation – Practice, practice, practice! Take time to yourself to refine your presentation content. The assessors have read your case study so you don’t need to take them back through every point. The aim should be to deliver a synopsis of your case study, elaborate on the key challenges and demonstrate your lessons learned.
  3. Re-read your submission – This is such an important point. A good portion of the assessors questioning will be derived from what you have told them about your own experience, and demonstrating competence. A good approach is to highlight key words, perhaps a reference to a particular type of building contract you’ve worked with. And if it’s in your submission, expect to get questioned on it.
  4. Structured revision – Prioritise any areas for further study from re-reading your submission and feedback from your mock interviews. It’s also useful to take a step back and refresh your memory on other areas that you would be expected to have a basic knowledge of.
  5. Study groups – Form a study group with other candidates and test each other. For candidates on your pathway focus on technical and optional competency-based questions. For candidates not on the same pathway as you, take the opportunity to present to each other and hold Q&A sessions around RICS regulations, professional and ethical standards, and mandatory competencies.
  6. Industry hot topics – Scan through the last few months of RICS Construction Journal and Modus, as well as industry press, to seek out any hot topics. The assessors may well pick on something topical to test that you are aware of current industry news and trends.
  7. Rules & ethics! – This cannot be stressed enough. You will be expected to know this area in depth. A good place to start with your revision is the regulation section of the RICS website.

Good luck to all candidates with their final assessments, go in to the day feeling well prepared and most importantly enjoy it. I promise you the sense of achievement is worth all the hard work and effort.

Chris Marrow is an associate quantity surveyor for Capita