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What is this week's blog about?
This blog article will help you check that you are on the right path with your RICS APC final assessment submission. This is relevant for RICS APC structured training, straight to assessment and preliminary review candidates.
The requirements of the Senior Professional, Specialist and Academic assessments are different, so please search our blog archive for our top tips and advice.
Why is this relevant?
Your RICS APC final assessment submission is the first thing that your assessors will see - helping them to form that vital first impression.
It also provides the basis of your interview - your assessors' questioning will concentrate upon the experience and examples provided in your written submission.
It's definitely worth putting the effort in to provide a professional, complete and comprehensive document – it will give you a head start on your assessment day.
How do I submit?
All candidates now submit online using the RICS Assessment Resource Centre (ARC). In flight arrangements for existing candidates have been phased out by RICS.
What does my RICS APC submission need to include?
Summary of experience;
What is the summary of experience?
Your summary of experience tells the assessors about your knowledge, experience and advice across your mandatory and technical (core and optional) competencies.
Depending on your choice of competencies, you will need to attain one of three levels:
Level 1 - knowledge and understanding. This is all about explaining what you know, through your university studies, distance learning, work experience or CPD activities;
Level 2 - application of knowledge and understanding. This goes one step further and requires practical examples of how you have applied what you have learnt;
Level 3 - reasoned advice and depth of knowledge. This is the pinnacle of demonstrating competence and requires you to have given reasoned advice or professional recommendations to clients. You should be self-sufficient with minimal supervision, i.e. a safe, professional and competent pair of hands. This will require you to explain specific examples in your final assessment.
You have 1,500 words for your mandatory competencies and 4,000 for your technical competencies - approximately 150-200 words per level per competency.
Generally, you should try to weight the word count more towards the higher levels to ensure that you include sufficient detail in relation to two to three relevant examples for each level 2 and 3 competency.
When it comes down to it – the word count is relatively limited, so you'll need to write succinctly and coherently. Always refer back to the pathway guide and competency descriptions to ensure that you hit the RICS requirements. Don’t confuse your competencies or include examples or details that are irrelevant or unclear.
What is the case study?
Your case study requires you to write 3,000 words on a project you have been involved with during the past 2 years. This requires you to discuss your level 3 reasoned advice on a number of technical competencies, as well as making reference to other relevant technical and mandatory competencies you have demonstrated.
What is the CPD record?
CPD is extremely important, and not just for the RICS APC - it is an essential part of being a Chartered Surveyor and will boost your career prospects in the long-term.
The RICS require you to undertake and record a minimum of 48 hours per year, of which at least 50% must be formal. If you are undertaking 24 months (2 years) of structured training, 48 hours of CPD must be recorded for each 12 month period.
Each 12 month period is calculated on a rolling basis from your submission date, i.e. if you are submitting in February 2021 and undertook 12 months (1 year) of structured training, then your 48 hours of CPD must be undertaken in the 12 month period dating back from February 2020 to 2021.
This is different from the requirements for qualified AssocRICS or MRICS/FRICS surveyors, which work instead on calendar years (January to December).
Formal CPD entails structured learning relevant to your specialism, generally with an assessment at the end or involving interaction with others in a formal setting.
If you are undertaking your structured training concurrently with the final year of an accredited degree, then some of this study time can count towards your CPD.
Ensure you record learning outcomes and sufficient detail within your CPD record.
Remember, in the final assessment interview you may be questioned about your CPD - so know what you have done and remember the key points.
How to get it right first time!
Ensure you include 2-3 specific examples of your experience in each of levels 2 and 3, as appropriate to your competency choices;
Proofread to ensure that your submission is ‘client ready’;
Make sure it's your own work - RICS have a system called Turnitin to check for plagiarism;
Don't miss the deadlines;
Make it neat, professional and coherent.
How can I meet the word count requirements?
All word counts for the RICS APC and AssocRICS assessments are absolute limits; there is no leeway to exceed this.
You can, of course, be under, although we’d recommend using as much as the word count as possible to provide sufficient depth and breadth to your submission. You don’t have to spend hours trying to hit the word count exactly, however!
Treat the word count as a client requirement, ‘a must’. Your assessment panel will view adhering to the word counts as an example of how you take responsibility and are able to follow instructions, i.e. providing a high standard of client care.
We recommend keeping your submission in a word processor based format, e.g. Word or Pages, rather than uploading immediately to RICS ARC. This means that you can keep track of the word count easily using the software itself and can avoid any issues inherent to ARC.
These are our top tips for meeting the word count requirements:
Start by drafting or amending just one level of one competency – try to get this down to 200-300 words maximum (or less if at level 1). This will allow you to see what the right word count looks like on paper/screen and will let you practice working to a concise and coherent structure. Trying to do everything at once can be overwhelming, so break the task down into smaller elements.
Take out detail which could form the basis of desirable assessor questioning at your interview, e.g. mention a Calderbank offer in relation to rent review tactics, but don’t put in too much additional knowledge-based detail such as the caselaw behind it or what Without Prejudice Save as to Costs means.
Keep your examples focussed to just two or three per each level 2 and 3 competency. Any more than this and you will struggle to refine your examples to the level required. Keep the contextual detail relatively simple and instead provide a logical, concise explanation of what you did, how you did it (level 2) and the advice you gave (level 3).
Use a sub-heading as a title for each example, rather than using additional words explaining the project title. For example, ‘Word count blog - …’, rather than ‘I wrote a comprehensive blog on word counts for a website called Property Elite…’.
Ask someone else to proofread your submission and identify content that doesn’t add to your overall submission. If this is a non-surveyor, this can often be helpful to take a step back and simplify what you have written.
Remember, you will be there in your RICS APC final assessment interview, alongside your written submission provided to RICS. This means that you can provide extra detail and justification for your reasoned advice out loud in response to the assessors’ questioning – rather than relying on trying to fit every single detail into your submission.