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Candidate Top Tips - How I Aced My APC...

Updated: Oct 29, 2023

Building a Better You

Property Elite’s sole aim is to build better property professionals - supporting your career every step of the way, whether you are an AssocRICS or RICS APC candidate or a MRICS or FRICS Chartered Surveyor simply seeking engaging CPD.

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What is today's blog about?

In today's blog, we hear from Sara Campani MSc MRICS who aced her APC earlier this year. 

This is a photo of Sara Campani, a successful RICS APC candidate

Watch our video at the top of this page for more top tips on how to ace your APC, as well as reading on to find out what Sara has to say about her own APC journey and how she became MRICS.

In her own words...

I have just received the results of my APC final assessment, and it’s hard to describe the feeling of accomplishment, pride and relief that flooded me upon reading “Congratulations, you've qualified!”.

More about Sara's background...

My background is in International Economics and Negotiation, and I recently qualified as a MRICS Chartered Surveyor through the Quantity Surveying and Construction pathway. I am currentlyly working as a senior commercial manager, with over 15 years of experience in the energy sector.

My expertise lies in commercial management of large construction projects (current contracts worth over $800m), working at EPC level to drive individual Product Lines to manage their contracts and scope successfully.

I have worked with a number of different contract types (LOGIC, NTK, FIDIC etc.) in different geographical areas and specialised in bespoke contracts delivering design and energy systems, both on Contractor and Operator side.

So, how did Sara become MRICS?

I started my qualification journey back in early 2021, enrolling on the APC with Preliminary Review.

I have 16 years in commercial roles under my belt, but I have always worked in Energy, which is not the typical industry that RICS professionals operate in. This made the whole process quite tricky at the beginning, and I actually failed my first preliminary review - so it is important to share some of the things I learned while giving a happy ending to this story!

What are Sara's tips for success in the RICS APC?

First, know the RICS guidance inside out.

No matter how much experience you have, read a lot of RICS Professional Statements and Guidance Notes. Some of them can be found on the RICS website, Google or paid services such as iSurv (you company may well have a subscription already).

The difference between my failed and successful preliminary review was being able to describe my experience in a way that reflected RICS terminology and could be understood by someone not operating in my same industry.

Secondly, know your submission inside out.

It may seem like an obvious suggestion, but you should know your submission really well, and be prepared to answer questions about things you might have mentioned in it.

For instance, in my Final Assessment interview, I was asked to name the methods of measurement used in construction, even if I had mentioned them just to say I was just aware they existed as they are not used in the industry I operate in. So, if you even just briefly mentioned something in your submission, know something about it and be able to answer a basic question on it. The same applies to knowing your level 2 and 3 examples off by heart, which the assessors are guaranteed to ask you about (as this is how they are trained by RICS!).

Third, practice.

This applies both for the Case Study presentation (where you can rehearse multiple times until you consistently stay within the 10 minute timeframe) and for the interview itself.

You can contact the RICS LionHeart charity to book a Case Study rehearsal session, speak to RICS members in your company to organise Q&A sessions on your submission or (better) formal mock interviews (see below for how to do this). The more the better!

Fourth, focus on Ethics.

This is the most important thing to learn and be able to apply in practice!

Although this section of the interview is just 10 minutes at the end, you might get Ethics-related questions at any time. A wrong answer to an Ethics question generally constitutes an automatic referral, so make sure you complete the RICS Professionalism module and you read all possible material on ethics, including role-play simulation where your ethical advice is required.

Also make sure you know your level 2 and 3 Ethics examples inside out and practice explaining how you acted ethically in the examples elsewhere in your submission.

Fifth, and last, relax.

As hard as it may be, this is key. Making sure you prepare in advance and are able to unplug on the days running up to the interview will improve your performance and give you the mental energy to ace your APC first time.

How can we help?

Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you.

N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, professional or financial advice.


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