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RICS APC Lifeline – How Should I Plan My Revision?

Updated: Oct 28, 2023

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What is this week's blog about?

In this week’s blog, we look at ways to plan your revision for your RICS APC final assessment interview. This is essential reading for all candidates!

Should I be revising from day 1?

No. Doing too much too soon can be overwhelming and lead to burn out!

We tend to recommend focussing on drafting and finalising your submission up to the point that you submit your written work to RICS. At this stage, you should be undertaking some wider reading or CPD activities relating to your competencies, hot topics and market trends (which will also contribute towards your CPD requirements).

However, try to avoid too much specific revision or memorising guidance or legislation. This gives you the time and space to get your submission right first time. As the interview will be based upon your submission, this will be a substantial amount of preparation done in the write up process.

Why is my submission an important part of the revision process?

A key part of your revision will be familiarising yourself with your level 2 and 3 examples and your case study. You will need to know them all inside out, including the knowledge, reasoning and ‘why’ behind your actions (level 2) and advice (level 3). Keeping on top of knowing your submission is key throughout the whole of your preparation process.

When should I start to hone in my revision?

After you submit your final assessment submission, your attention needs to quickly turn towards revision and preparation for your interview. This will include being familiar with your submission, as we discussed above, as well as getting to grips with the key level 1 knowledge and how this applies at levels 2 and 3.

The APC interview is not an exam, however, and you do not need to know everything. However, you do need to know the detail behind anything you mention in level 1 and how this then affected your actions (level 2) and advice (level 3). There will also be some basic knowledge you will be expected to have for every competency, which you can check via the relevant pathway guide.

Some memorisation will be required, such as knowing the Rules of Conduct. However, even more important is to be able to explain, for example, how you have applied the Rules of Conduct in practice. You would then try to link this to the specific examples you have laid out in your submission in levels 2 and 3.

Another key point is not just to revise on your head or on paper. The RICS APC assessment is an interview, where you will be expected to fluently answer a range of questions based on your submission. A vital element of your revision must be practising how you would respond to both simple and challenging questions, ensuring you listen clearly to the question and give a reasoned, succinct and relevant answer. It can be tempting to tell the assessors everything you know about a topic, however, the key to APC success is to really focus on what you are being asked.

Nerves can play a big part in your final assessment interview and this can make verbalising your answers difficult. Taking part in a mock interview or Q&A sessions with trained assessors will help you to deal with these. We also recommend you check out our blog article on dealing with nerves.

How can I revise effectively?

There are so many different ways that you can revise. The best way will be the way that suits you and your learning style.

For example, I found for my APC that I revised best by:

  • Making my own notes on a topic using a variety of different sources, e.g. articles, videos and podcasts. Using lots of different sources kept things interesting! I then condensed the notes into the essential things I needed to know. This document was dynamic as I continued to edit and amend it as I learnt more and more! Eventually, I ended up with a fairly short document that just summarised the key things that I found difficult to grasp or remember. I also ensured that I linked this knowledge to practical examples, which is a key requirement of the APC

  • Asking others (e.g., friends, family and colleagues) to test me out on my submission or using a list of experience-based questions. Commissioning your own APC Question Pack would be a great way to achieve this!

  • Undertaking at least one mock interview to visualise and work through the final interview experience. Book your own here.

Using a variety of different revision techniques will serve you best. Think back to college or university, if you went, and how you learnt best then. Also have a read of this article for some more tips. Most important, if you feel that you’re not gaining anything from your revision, stop – look for alternatives ways to learn or just take a break.

Learning in short bursts is best as it helps to keep your mind fresh. Taking a short break, such as a walk or watching something on TV, can give you the mental energy to continue later on. Revise when you are at your best – this differs for everyone though.

We also recommend trying to spend some time revising in a group with other APC candidates. This will help you to build a support network and discuss your concerns with other candidates. Also involve your counsellor and colleagues in your revision as they will have helpful advice to share. Try to ensure that some of your support comes from a trained assessor as they will be able to explain how the questioning process in your interview will work.

How can I plan my revision?

We usually recommend listing out all of your competencies, both mandatory and technical. Then, rank them in order of 1 – least confident to 10 – most confident.

Take your calendar and then look at how many weeks you have until your first potential interview date, which we will call your target date. You can then split your total number of competencies by the weeks you have remaining, stopping 1 week before your target date.

Write down which competencies you will focus on each week, starting at your least confident and ending up with your most confident. Ideally, have a good balance of technical and mandatory competencies each week. We also recommend that you look at ethics each week as this is the only area where a wrong or unethical answer will lead to an automatic fail at interview. Within your weekly revision, ensure you also keep familiarising yourself with your submission – both your summary of experience and your case study, which will include a variety of different competencies.

You may decide to have two cycles of revision, so you will need to study more competencies each week. This means that any weaknesses you identify the first time around can be focussed upon in the second cycle. We recommend stopping 1 week before your target date as this will then allow you to focus in the last week on your weakest competencies, as well as your submission.

If you find that you do not get allocated your first preference of interview date, you can simply extend your revision plan until your interview date is confirmed. You will receive 3 weeks’ notice from RICS so you will need to dynamically amend your plan as time goes on.

By planning out your revision you will give yourself the best chance of success in your final assessment interview.

How much time do I need to dedicate to revision?

This is another question with no set answer! We recommend short bursts of revision on a very regular basis, i.e., daily. This could be from an hour to a few hours, perhaps with some days off to take a break or some days with more focussed revision sessions.

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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