General

My APC: Getting started

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FOREWORD: Please be aware that this post is not an official RICS guidance.

All the advice given in this blog is based on my personal interpretation of the APC Candidate’s Guide which I have enhanced through many discussions with fellow APC Mentors and APC Assessors.

Sonia Desloges MRICS

Enrolment

You came across this so I guess that you would like to become MRICS as soon as possible… but how do you get started?

To pass your APC and become MRICS, you must prepare a written submission (approximately 10,000 words), complete at least 48 hour CPD for every 12-month period, pass an online ethical test and sit a one-hour interview. It is a substantial commitment but trust me, the knowledge and pride that you will gain from it is worth every effort!

But first thing first! If you have not already done it, you need to enrol onto the APC (Assessment of Professional Competence) using the on-line wizard on the RICS website. (Link to the wizard here) Make sure that you have at hand an electronic copy of your qualifications, a chartered surveyor who has accepted to act as your counsellor (including his / her membership number) and a way to pay for the appropriate fee.

In larger organisations, your line manager may act as your day-to-day mentor. He / she would be referred to as your supervisor which is an optional role and they do not have to be chartered. A more senior person will act as your counsellor which is a mandatory role. Your counsellor (and your supervisor if you have one) will need to sign off your submission so you will need to review your progress with them regularly.

If no one is chartered in your organisation, you will need to find someone in your professional network who accepts to take on this responsibility. The level of support that you will receive can be very limited and investing in private mentoring services such as APC Support Limited will almost certainly be required to boost your chances of success.

Following your enrolment, the RICS will contact you to confirm the earliest date when you will be eligible to sit your interview and send you your login details for ARC, which is the online platform to write and issue your submission. If you do not receive the e-mail, give them a call and they will be happy to assist.

Routes to Chartership

Before enrolling through the online wizard, you may find it useful to understand the various entry requirements.

Option 1: You have an accredited degree (list available through the wizard)

  • You have less than 5 years experience after graduation. (Your final year if you completed your degree on a day release and your sandwich year if applicable count as relevant experience)

You need to complete a minimum of 24 months or 400 days of structured training before being eligible for the interview.

  • You have between 5 and 10 year experience after graduation.

You need to complete a minimum of 12 months or 200 days of structured training before being eligible for the interview.

  • You have over 10 year experience after graduation.

You are illegible to sit your APC as the next session after enrolment and do not need to complete any structured training.

Structured training is a period of work experience during which your counsellor will support you to develop the competence and experience expected of a chartered surveyor. You will need to keep a daily diary of your work activities (through ARC) which will automatically generate a summary called the log book.

Many candidates elect to defer their interview in order to make sure that they have gained sufficient relevant experience, so do not feel under pressure to rush into it!

Option 2: You have a non-accredited degree

This must be a university degree but it may have been obtained from abroad, be from a non-accredited university or be from another disciple.

  • You have less than 5 year relevant experience (It must be in the role under which you want to sit your APC and may be before or after graduation)

Sorry, you are not yet eligible for the APC. You need to wait until you have acquired at least 5 year experience.

  • You have more than 5 year relevant experience

You are eligible for the APC under the Preliminary Route.

You must prepare your APC submission documents in full and send them for preliminary review via ARC during one of the prescribed windows (see chapter below).

Two experienced assessors will review your documents and decide whether they are of sufficient quality to proceed to the interview. As you do not have an accredited degree, they just want to check that you have understood the various competencies before sending you to the dreading interview!

If your documents do not meet the required standards, you will need to submit a better version at the next window, usually 6 months later.

If you are successful, this is your opportunity to fine-tune your documents based on the reviewers’ feedback. You will need to upload the final version a couple of months before your interview.

Option 3: You are a senior professional or an expert

Regardless of your qualifications, if you are a senior professional (= a director, a business unit leader or manage a large team with some business management involvement) or an expert (= you have published books and articles), you could apply under the Senior Professional Route (SPA).

Under this route, 75% of the assessment will be focused on your management skills. While this may sound easy, the referral rate is actually extremely high so choose wisely!

Option 4: You are already a member of another professional institution

If you have been a full member of Chartered Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES) for over 5 years (with a degree) or 10 years (no qualifications), then you can become a full member of the RICS without passing the interview.

If you are a member of other professional bodies such as RIBA, ICE or CIOB, you can apply for your APC without any structured training period nor preliminary review. You usually have to have been a member for a number of years but this depends on your membership. You need to call the RICS to discuss your personal situation.

Please refer to the online wizard for the full list in the UK and abroad.

Option 5: You do not have a university degree

You do not fit in any boxes! Becoming MRICS will be a long process but it is possible. Here are your options;

  • If you are a director or a manager with substantial responsibilities, you may apply through the SPA route within a few months.
  • Contact the professional bodies (relevant to your role) listed on the online wizard and see which one would allow you to become a member without qualifications. You can then wait the prescribed number of years and apply for your APC without the preliminary review.
  • Become AssocRICS. This is a lower level of RICS membership and you do not need a degree. To convert to MRICS, you will then need to complete 900 study hours (distance learning from one of the RICS approved suppliers), complete 4 years further work experience and then pass the APC.
  • Complete a university degree. If you have sufficient UCAS points, you may complete a degree on a day release. Some universities offer an accelerated programme over 3 years. You can then apply for your APC under the preliminary review or the structured training route (you may want to discuss this with the RICS before selecting your course).
  • New APC entry route. The RICS is currently piloting a new entry route whereby candidates can complete an online qualification with the RICS to become eligible for the APC. This is very much work in progress so watch this space. This route will still require a substantial amount of studying but will be a faster option than the conversion from AssocRICS to MRICS.

 

Submission windows / deadlines

For construction pathways, the deadlines are:

For Spring interviews (Session 1):

Preliminary review:      By 31st October (UK)

01 – 15 September (GCC countries)

Submit documentation between:

                                    15 – 31 March (UK)

                                    01 – 15 March (GCC countries)   

Interviews:                      Mid-June (UK)

       May (GCC countries)

For Autumn interviews (Session 2):

Preliminary review:      By 30th April (UK)

01 – 15 March (GCC countries)

Submit documentation between:

15 – 30 September (UK)

01 – 15 September (GCC countries)   

Interviews:                       Late November (UK)

        October (GCC countries)

For land and property pathways, the deadlines and interviews are a month earlier.

If you are sitting your APC outside the UK, you can obtain your local guidance on the RICS website in the ‘APC Final Assessment’ section by selecting the appropriate country on top of the RICS website.

Submission documents

You need to download a number of useful documents from the RICS website at this link http://www.rics.org/uk/apc/pathway-guides.

Click on your pathway and check that you are looking at the correct section whether you are aiming for Assoc membership or full chartered membership (MRICS).

We will find a number of documents for download under each pathway;

  • APC Submission Template (Word document)

This is a word version of the online submission that you must complete on ARC. It is extremely useful to prepare your drafts as you cannot print from ARC.

I deal with the submission documents in a separate post: ‘Understanding the APC Submission Documents’.

  • Several guides (PDF)

They contain answers to most candidates’ questions so do take the time to read them!

  • APC Self assessment form

You can use this template to record your progress and training needs with your counsellor or supervisor, which the RICS recommends to discussed every 3 months. You do not have to submit this document so you may use your own template or keep it completely informal if it suits you better.

  • Log book

This is a document that you need to incorporate into your APC submission template if you are required to carry out a period of structured training. You do not need to use it if you enrolled after 1st January 2017 as it will be automatically populated on ARC.

  • APC candidate diary template

This is no longer in use as candidates must now record their diary on ARC.

For more information on the diary and the log book, please read my previous post ‘Completing your APC diary’.

I have published a number of other posts, which you may find useful as you progress in your APC preparation:

Case study part 1: Selecting your key issue

Case study part 2: Writing to the requisite format

Case Study – Part 3: Perfecting your draft.

The interview: the assessor’s perspective

How do you convert your 3000 word case study into a 10-minute presentation?

Visual aids for your presentation

 

Further help

If you require a detailed review of your APC submission documents, we offer this service for APC candidates in most pathways both in the UK and outside the UK. Please visit our website for more information: http://www.apcsupport-ltd.co.uk/pre-submission-support

If you need to enhance your understanding of the competencies, APC Support Ltd offer on-demand revision webinars covering all the technical and mandatory competencies in Quantity Surveying, Built Infrastructure, Building Surveying, Building Control, Project Management and Facilities Management.

Alternatively, we offer face-to-face training for corporate clients across the UK. Please e-mail us at Sonia@APCsupport-ltd.co.uk to discuss your requirements.

All the modules are recorded and will provide you with over 30 hours of formal CPD. You can attend them on a pay-as-you-go basis or subscribe to our unlimited revision package.

And as always, we are on Twitter @APCsupport_Ltd and you can send me an invite on LinkedIn if you would like to be notified of our latest events.

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