Case Study

Case Study – Part 3: Perfecting your draft.

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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

Director, APC Support Ltd

 

 Case Study – Part 3: Perfecting your draft.

As explained in my first post on the Case Study, writing your Case Study should advance in three stages:

  1. Select your key issue(s)
  2. Write your Case Study to the requisite format
  3. Perfect your drafts applying concise and logical reasoning, using accurate vocabulary and demonstrating level 3 competencies.

So here it is, the third and final post in which we are going to examine the third stage.

Let’s remind ourselves of the purpose of the Case Study:

You want to persuade the assessors that your key issues have enabled you to attain or apply several level 3 competencies and that you have demonstrated excellent ethical and professional standards, ultimately proving to them that you are worthy of the MRICS status!

How do you achieve this?

Logical reasoning

The Case Study is not a story telling exercise. You must explain and evidence how you have effectively overcome your key issue(s).

Explaining requires three elements;

  • Facts (‘What’)
  • Background (‘How’)
  • Reasons (‘Why’)

Therefore, start by reviewing your draft case study and make sure that each fact is backed up by a ‘how’ and a ‘why’.

As the word count is very tight, I would recommend that you omit everything that does not contribute to explaining how you resolved your key issue(s). You may add some specific facts or figures to reinforce a couple of key points but you may also leave some areas of detailing open for the assessors’ questioning.

Using the appropriate vocabulary

The assessors are only interested in what YOU did. Write the whole of your Case Study using the first person and active verbs.

Level 3 is all about advising the client so do not hesitate to use some strong vocabulary such as I recommended, I advised, I explained, I made it clear, I made my client aware that, I warned against, etc.

 Remember that ‘I did’ is level 2 only!

 The second review of your draft Case Study should focus on these two points as they can make a significant impact on the quality of your submission: use the first person and active verbs!

Best practice

 Be careful that your approach should strictly follow industry best practice and the RICS standards. As a chartered surveyor, you will be expected to act as an ambassador of the RICS. Your Case Study is also supposed to be based on your best piece of work so demonstrating plain ignorance of the RICS standards is not going to be a smart option for your APC!

However, having worked with many candidates, I know that things do not always go exactly to plan in real life and that you may have been under pressure to deviate from best practice.

There are three ways to address this issue in your case study;

  1. If it is a minor point, play it safe and do not mention it. If really needed, be vague or make a slight ‘adjustment’ but be mindful that assessors may question you on this aspect of your Case Study. Be prepared!
  2. Take responsibility. Explain that you advised your client against it. Demonstrate that you took the required steps to protect both your employer’s and your client’s interests. Ask as many people as possible to review your Case Study to make sure that you are not inadvertently shooting yourself in the foot.
  3. If it is a serious deviation, it is likely that your project is not suitable for your Case Study. Learn your lessons and select a different project or defer your final assessment.

In any case, do not make things up!!!

Lessons learnt

Most candidates are very generic in their lessons learnt. They restrict themselves to some classic ones such as the importance of good communication within a team, the importance of understanding the client’s requirements, the importance of setting up processes to identify issues early.

If you want to stand out, you need to be more specific than this. Look at the competencies that you have developed during your key issues. Look at your pathway guide and the examples of activities that you are expected to carry out to demonstrate level 3 in those competencies.

What did you learn about these tasks during your key issues? Have you discovered better ways of completing them? Did you follow best practice and understood why it has to be done that way?

Obviously you should avoid to simply state that you have learnt how to carry out your day job through your key issue! Use more subtle vocabulary such as:

I have enhanced, I have built up on my previous knowledge, I have gained a deeper understanding, I now have the confidence to advise my clients on such matter.

And because many candidates have asked me for examples, here is one relating to Procurement and Tendering, Development / Project Brief and Communication;

‘Key issue 1 has demonstrated the importance of understanding and establishing the client’s requirements and drivers. This experience has shown me that certain client requirements can have a significant impact on procurement options and limit the routes available for the client to use. The initial difficulties encountered in this project have also evidenced the need for a clear definition and effective communication of the client’s requirements within the project team.’

Here is another relating to Procurement and Tendering, Construction Technology and Design Economics;

‘A valuable lesson I have taken away from this project is to carefully consider the implications of utilising a technical solution that may restrict future commercial and procurement decision making. If the incumbent infrastructure can be improved and maintained by a larger number of competent contractors, greater CAPEX and OPEX savings could be achieved.’

Note: As the RICS use a plagiarism software to ensure that your submission is of your own work, please do not cut and paste these examples onto your own Case Study!!

Further help

If you would like to prepare the detailed plan of your Case Study with our APC trainers and discuss with them your key issues and options, we offer one-to-one mentoring sessions either face-to-face (Manchester or London only) or via Skype.

We also offer a documentation review service once you have completed your draft. Please check our pre-submission services here.

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.

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.

How do you convert your 3,000 word Case Study into a 10-minute presentation?!

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The Case Study Presentation or,

How do you convert your 3,000 word Case Study into a 10-minute presentation?!

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 2015 which I have enhanced through many discussions with fellow APC Mentors and APC Assessors.

Sonia Desloges MRICS

Outline Plan of your Presentation

Nobody can possibly read 3,000 words under 10 minutes so there is no point trying to cram everything in your presentation. Based on my personal experience, 1,300 words is a good target to keep within the 10 minute time limit.

You need to focus on the key message that you want to convey to the panel, and this might be by covering only one key issue during your presentation. It is actually common practice for candidates to only present one key issue. If the assessors want to know about your second key issue, they will do it during your 10 minute Q&A session.

So, what is the key message that you want to convey?

I think, in simple words, that you want to explain to the panel that you provided your client with the best possible professional and reasoned advice, that you have learnt a lot from this experience and that you are ready become chartered!!

You need to really focus on your logical reasoning. Do not waste time talking about the project details or what other people did more than strictly required. Remember that explaining is not just about providing information, it is being able to justify how and why things happened. You need background and reasons as well as facts.

One tool that we use to achieve this with our candidates during our ‘Case Study Presentation’ workshops are mind maps, also called spider diagrams. If you cannot attend one of our workshops, you should still be able to find some information on the web.

Suggested Format of your Presentation

The format of your presentation will be very similar to your case study but I have added some indicative durations and word counts for each section:

  • Introduction (30s / 100 words)
  • Background (app. 1min / 200 words)
  • Main body
    • Review of options (3 to 4.5min depending how many key issues / 400 to 600 words)
    • Achievements & lessons learnt (critical appraisal) (3 to 4min / 400 to 500 words)
  • Conclusion (< 1mn / 130 words)

Introduction & Conclusion

All presentations should have a powerful introduction and conclusion!

Your introduction should be brief (30s / 100 words) and only focus on the information that is relevant to the resolution of your key issue;

  • Introduce the problem to be addressed and context
  • State the purpose of your presentation clearly
  • Give the outline of your presentation: Tell them what you are going to tell them.
    • Background, options, outcome of solution applied, lessons learnt

Your conclusion (< 1mn / 130 words) should mirror your introduction and close your presentation without adding any new information;

  • Summarise: tell them what you have just told them.
  • Close:
    • Repeat the purpose of your presentation / key message
    • Show that you have achieved your aim
  • Thank the panel and welcome their questions

Background (app. 1min / 200 words)

The sole purpose of the background is for the assessors to understand how your key issue came to light and which constraints and challenges you had to overcome to resolve it. Remember that they will have already read the finer details in your written submission!

It could include the following elements;

  • Project description – only the relevant bits!
  • Client & contractor’s description if relevant.
  • Project challenges & constraints if relevant.
  • How did you get to the stage when you encountered your key issue.
  • Restate how you identified that there was a key issue(s).
  • Then state the options (between 2 and 4) that you considered;
  • Three courses of action were considered… [one sentence each]

 

Review of options (3 to 4.5min depending how many key issues / 400 to 600 words)

Review each option one after the other, like in your Case Study;

    • What was the option considered & why
    • What did you do
    • What was your recommendation and why

Do not forget to explain how and why decisions were made and do not hesitate to provide evidence and figures for one or two key points to reinforce your statements.

Achievements & lessons learnt (critical appraisal) (3 to 4min / 400 to 500 words)

One common mistake of candidates is to spend 3 minutes on the background and then fly through the lessons learnt. It is the easy way but not what the assessors are looking for. A decent portion of your presentation should be dedicated to the critical appraisal of your work because this is how you can demonstrate what an amazing professional you are!

  • Your achievements
    • Did your solution change the course of the project?
    • What was the most successful outcome?
    • Or was there any room for improvement?
    • You may provide here an update on the project if anything significant has happened since submitting your Case Study.
  • Lessons learnt (3 main ones only)
    • State lesson learnt
    • Explain why is it important as a chartered surveyor / for this project / client
    • And / or what you could have done better
    • And / or how you could / have applied it in later project(s)

Final words

Remember that if you exceed 10 minutes, the assessors will ask you to wrap up or cut you short, which would not be an ideal start to your Final Interview.

Our best advice is to practice your presentation dozens of times with colleagues, friends, family, in front of your mirror, with your dog, anything!!

Best of luck!

 

Further help

We have published an earlier blog on visual aids for your presentation. Feel free to have a read here: Visual Aids for your Presentation  

If you need some help to prepare for the interview, we offer APC Questions packs, mock interviews and mini mocks. Please check our interview preparation services here.

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.

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.

Case Study – Part 2: Writing to the requisite format.

Posted on Updated on

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 2016 which I have enhanced through many discussions with fellow APC Mentors and APC Assessors.

Sonia Desloges MRICS

Director, APC Support Limited

 

Case Study: Writing to the requisite format.

As I explained in the first part of this series of three articles, writing your Case Study should advance in three stages:

  1. Select your key issue(s)
  2. Write your Case Study to the requisite format
  3. Perfect your drafts applying concise and logical reasoning, using accurate vocabulary and demonstrating level 3 competencies.

This second post focuses – quite logically – on the second stage and will examine each section of the Case Study step by step.

Front Cover and Contents

The current RICS template for the Case Study is set out on ARC and also contained within the ‘APC Submission Template’ available for download on the RICS website:

http://www.rics.org/uk/apc/pathway-guides (select your relevant pathway and make sure that you select ‘chartered’ if you are applying for full MRICS status rather than Associate)

The Assessors will expect your Case Study to be presented to the highest professional standards, exactly like a formal report to a client.

Whilst this is not currently included in the RICS template, I would therefore strongly recommend that you add a front cover and a page of content.

You can download the amended template that I have produced here: case-study-template-august-2016

If you feel that this is a little adventurous, you will find that most assessors and APC mentors give the same advice on the APC Forum on LinkedIn. It will make you stand out from the crowd and in a good way.

This template is an exact copy of the RICS template but includes additional sub-sections to help you with your structure and your word count. You may choose to remove the sub-headings at the time of your submission or retain them, which will help the assessors follow your case study more easily.

You may adapt the front cover to suit your personal preferences but I would suggest including a photograph of your project as it will help grabbing your reader’s interest.

I have also added a couple of optional additional pages that you may want to consider. Those do not have to be included in the word count.

  • Confidentiality statement

The RICS have included a confidentiality statement assuming that you will obtain consent from your client and your employer. If this is not the case and you can not reveal all the names and details, I have included an alternative wording which you may amend to suit.

  • Glossary of Abbreviations

Using abbreviations and acronyms is generally not recommended but if you must, remember to incorporate a glossary or list of abbreviations. Remember to always use the full word with the abbreviation between brackets the first time you use an acronym in your case study, eg the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and thereafter RICS.

  • Page of Contents

Like all professional reports, your case study should have a page of contents. This page is automatically linked to the contents of your case study but you must remember to right-click on your mouse to update the fields.

Your case study is to be uploaded as a pdf rather than directly typed on ARC so you can really make an effort on presentation.

Section 1: Introduction (circa 500 words)

In this section you are expected to give a brief description of the project, your roles and responsibilities. You do not need to give detailed background to your key issue(s) in this section but simply put your reader into context.

As with every written work, start with an introduction sentence such as:

‘This report will critically analyse my involvement as the [your role] in project XYZ.’

You can add a brief outline of your report if you can afford the extra words (please omit if your wordcount if too tight!). For example;

‘I will present two keys issues which I encountered in this project and review the options I considered to overcome them. This report will go on to evaluate the outcome of my approach and recommended solution, and conclude by the analysis of the lessons I have learnt through this experience.’

1.1 Project Overview

Include some or all of the following as appropriate – this may be as bullet points if you are struggling with the word count;

  • Brief description of project
  • Brief description of client (and stakeholders but only if relevant to your key issues)
  • Stage at which the project currently is
  • Project key objectives (if relevant)
  • Project key risks and constraints (if relevant)
  • Key dates / timescales
  • Project value, form of contract, procurement (as relevant to your pathway)

1.2 My involvement and responsibilities

  • What was your role? (Keep it short and make a list with bullet points if you carried out many different tasks)
  • What was your level of responsibility?
  • At what stage did you get involved?

 

Section 2: My approach (circa 1,600 words) 

Remember that the assessors are only interested in what YOU did. Write the whole of your Case Study using the first person and active verbs.

2.1 Key Issue One: [Give it a title] (circa 800 words)

Provide the background to your first key issue in this sub-section.

You do not need to explain all the details of the project or circumstances. Focus on the key points that impacted on your decisions to consider and reject or adopt your options.

The type of questions you need to answer here may be;

  • What events or constraints led to the key issue?
  • What made it a challenge for you?
  • What was the stance of your client and stakeholders?
  • What were the risks to the project?

Do not omit to clearly formulate what your key issue was. The Assessors have not worked with you on your project and you should not over-estimate their ability to guess what you are trying to say. Ask a friend who does not know anything about your project to read your case study to check whether you have suitably expressed yourself.

2.2 Options

Start by explaining what your objectives were when you started tackling this key issue. What were you aiming to achieve?

This will enable you to set out a number of criteria against which you will measure the success of your solution in section 3 (My Achievements) of your Case Study. This could be just half a sentence or a couple of sentences depending on the complexity of your project.

Then briefly list the 2 to 4 options that you considered. (3 is always best)

‘As it was critical to my client that the budget was not exceeded whilst not compromising the end user’s requirements, I identified that three courses of actions were available to me for resolving this key issue:

  • Option 1: XYZ
  • Option 2: ABC
  • Option 3: Bla bla bla’

As the headings and sub-headings must be included in your word count, you may have to choose between listing your options here or stating them under the next series of sub-headings to keep to the word limit.

Then review them one at the time remembering that you want to demonstrate your level 3 competencies (providing reasoned advice).

Option 1: [title]

  • What led you to consider option 1? Why was is a realistic option?
  • What methodology did you use to analyse its suitability? Why?
  • What were the results of your analysis?
  • Why did these results lead you to reject this option?
  • How did you advise your client?

Option 2: [title]

Repeat the same structure for option 2.

Option 3: [title]

The last option is usually your solution. Same as options 1 and 2 but you may emphasise on how you established that it was the best solution and why.

You need to follow a logical reasoning and also demonstrate that you have taken into account your client’s requirements and that you have addressed the issue you were trying to resolve. Inserting a table listing the advantages and disadvantages of each option is not satisfactory. You must write full sentences and analyse the benefits or not of each option against your objectives.

Once again remember that you need to demonstrate that you provided reasoned advice.

This structure is adopted by most candidates but may not work with all key issues and some candidates prefer to briefly describe each option, why they considered them and the methodology applied under each relevant sub-heading. And they add an additional section ‘Analysis of options’ in which they compare and contrast the relative benefits and disadvantages of each option against the objectives they aim to achieve.

2.3 Key Issue Two: [Give it a title] (circa 800 words)

Background

2.4 Options

Proceed as per Key Issue One.

You do not need to have a second key issue if your first one was particularly complex and entailed the application of several Level 3 competencies.

I would not recommend more than two keys issues as the strict word count will not permit you to explain them in sufficient depth.

Section 3: My achievements (circa 400 words)

The official RICS Candidate’s Guide states:

‘In this section you should describe what you achieved, how you achieved this and what your involvement was. Demonstrate your ability to think logically, laterally and professionally giving examples of where you gave reasoned advice to a client for your level 3 competencies.’

To be clear, you should aim to demonstrate level 3 competencies in the whole of your Case Study, not just this section.

You do not need to explain how you achieved each competency nor how you were thinking logically, laterally and professionally. Assessors will work this out by themselves. In this section, you just need to explain what happened next.

I recommend that you tackle this section in two steps. First describe the outcome, then explain how you achieved it. Make sure that you focus on what YOU did.

Deal with your key issues one after the other to avoid confusing the assessors.

3.1 Key Issue One

The outcome

  • What was the result?
  • What were the project’s and client’s objectives and key drivers? Did you achieve them? Did they evolve over time? (Link it back to Section 2.2)
  • What happened next? How did you implement your solution?

Do not hesitate to give one or two precise figures or details if you can. This will provide the assessors with additional evidence that you have successfully resolved your key issue.

How did you achieve this?

This will be completely specific to your personal circumstances but below are some examples for consideration;

  • What arguments did you put forward to convince your client / stakeholders? (relate it back to your objectives)
  • How did your client react when you advised them of your solution?
  • Did you have any difficulties convincing your client and / or stakeholders? Why?
  • Was there a risk that your solution would fail? How did you mitigate this risk?
  • What did you personally do that contributed to the successful outcome?
  • In hindsight, do you think that there was a better alternative? (Maybe one option that your client rejected?)

3.2 Key Issue Two

Proceed as per Key Issue One.

 

Section 4: Conclusion (circa 500 words)

In accordance with the RICS Candidate’s Guide, ‘in this section you need to critically reflect on and analyse your performance and make reference to the lessons you learnt and what you would do differently next time.’

This is the most challenging section for many candidates and yet, probably the most important one. You should aim to identify three or four lessons learnt per key issue. You should also try to relate them to your pathway competencies.

  • Which competencies did you develop and how? (this may include soft and professional skills as well as rules of conduct and ethics)
  • Did you learn any better ways of doing your job? Did you gain a better appreciation of the reasons why the industry’s best practice is what it is?
  • What were the causes of your key issue(s)? In future projects, could you do anything to prevent or mitigate it?
  • Could you have tackled your key issues in a more efficient manner? (Obviously, you want to convince the panel that you dealt with it very well but you also need to be critical of your performance)
  • How have you used / could you use one or several of these lessons learnt in other projects?

Finally close your Case Study with a concluding sentence such as;

‘I believe the lessons learnt during my involvement in this project have contributed to my understanding of the role required of a Chartered Surveyor and I will ensure I take all of these forward on to future projects.’

Best of luck! 

FREE DOWNLOADS

case-study-template-august-2016

Further help

If you would like to prepare the detailed plan of your Case Study with our APC trainers and discuss with them your key issues and options, we offer one-to-one mentoring sessions either face-to-face (Manchester or London only) or via Skype.

We also offer a documentation review service once you have completed your draft. Please check our pre-submission services here.

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.

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.

Case Study – Part 1: Selecting your key issue.

Posted on Updated on

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

Director, APC Support Limited

 

The Case Study for the APC

The Case Study that you are required to submit as part of your APC submission is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your technical and professional skills through a project that you know very well. But how do you get started with it?

What is a good key issue?

What are you expected to include in each section?

What techniques can you use to best demonstrate your competencies?

I will address these questions in a series of three posts taking you through the stages of writing your case study.

  1. Select your key issue(s)
  2. Write your Case Study to the requisite format
  3. Perfect your drafts applying concise and logical reasoning, using accurate vocabulary and demonstrating level 3 competencies.

This post will focus on the first stage: selecting your key issue(s).

Selecting a suitable key issue is critical in achieving the objectives of the Case Study, so let’s take you step by step through the identification process of your best key issues.

When do I need to start thinking about my Case Study?

As a rule of thumb, I would recommend discussing your Case Study with your Counsellor 12 months before your final interview. This will give you the time to request additional responsibilities or to get involved in a different project if you both identify that you do not have a suitable key issue yet.

I would recommend that you keep a little notebook in which you record anything interesting that occurred in your projects to jiggle up your memory when needed.

Which project?

Assessors recognise that candidates will have gained a very diverse experience depending on their employment and as a result almost any of your projects is suitable for your Case Study.

Your selected project does not have to be a multi-million award winning scheme. Small low-profile projects attract the same challenges that major projects and require the same set of skills.

Some of your projects will be more suitable than others and you should start by compiling a short list of your most suitable projects.

  • Which projects did I work on over the last 24 months?

The topic of your Case Study must not be older than 24 months by the time you submit your documents for final assessment (or preliminary review if applicable)

  • In which of my projects was I a key member of the team?

You do not have to be running the project but you must have had a strong degree of delegated responsibility to deliver the project.

  • Out of those, in which ones did I get to personally advise my client?

You must be able to demonstrate level 3 competencies in your Case Study so you need to select a project in which you have influenced your client’s decision, or at least been involved in the decision making process. This does not have to be the final client; it can be an internal client such as another department or another level in hierarchy.

  • Out of those, in which ones did the team generally follow industry best practice?

If you select a project in which corners were constantly cut, it is very unlikely that you will have dealt with your key issues in the manner expected for the purpose of your APC.

What is a good key issue?

Once you have your short-list of projects, you need to consider all the challenges that you have encountered during your involvement. Hopefully you will have kept a notebook and you can easily go through your notes to refresh your memory. At this stage, write down everything that comes to your mind!

You then need to identify which among these many challenges are potential key issues.

A key issue has to be something that occurred outside the daily routine tasks. Explaining what you do as a normal course of action is not dealing with a key issue. Very often, it is the circumstances that made a relatively standard task a challenge for the candidate to overcome.

For example, demonstrating value for money is part of the day job for a quantity surveyor, but demonstrating value for money when there is only one specialist contractor in Europe who can deliver the works is far trickier and therefore a key issue.

Obviously your key issue(s) must be related to the competencies listed in the pathway guide and you must demonstrate at least two competencies at level 3.

Once you have gathered your list of potential key issues, review them asking yourselves these questions;

  • What was specific to this project or client that led to this challenge?

A key issue that occurred because of your own naivety or negligence would be definitively best avoided. Equally, an over-complex issue may trip you off.

  • Were there several options to overcome this challenge or only one possible course of action?

If there was only one viable option, you will not be able to demonstrate your analytic skills which is intrinsic to achieving level 3: reasoned advice.

  • Were all my options tasks that I would not ordinarily carry out if it was not for this key issue?

For example checking that I have not made any arithmetical errors is not an option, it is a compulsory best practice task.

  • Did I act in accordance with the RICS standards?

If for a reason or another you had to heavily deviate from best practice in your short-listed key issue, play it safe and select a different key issue. (And use your best endeavour to follow best practice in the future!)

How many key issues?

Most candidates select two keys issues because it enables them to demonstrate a broader breath of experience while being able to analyse their options and choices in details.

You may discuss a single key issue if it was particularly complex and enabled you to apply a range of level 3 competencies.

I would not recommend including a third key issue in your Case Study. If you cannot write 3,000 words on two key issues, it is probably  because you have not carried out your analysis in sufficient details, or that your key issues are too weak.

Final words of advice

Whatever the key issue(s) that you will select, remember that you will be questioned on your Case Study for 10mins and you must therefore be very knowledgeable on these topics and also be able to justify the decisions that you made. You must be able to demonstrate that you have learnt lessons from your key issues and that it contributed to your attainment of the skills and behaviours required as a chartered surveyor.

Finally, remember to verify with your clients that you are authorised to use their project details for your Case Study without facing issues of confidentiality. It is always wise to obtain their written consent.

 

Further help

If you would like to prepare the detailed plan of your Case Study with our APC trainers and discuss with them your key issues and options, we offer one-to-one mentoring sessions either face-to-face (Manchester or London only) or via Skype.

We also offer a documentation review service once you have completed your draft. Please check our pre-submission services here.

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.

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.

Visual Aids for your Presentation

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One topic that was lively debated at our ‘Interview Tips and Mock APC’ workshop in Manchester on 7th May 2015 was the use of visual aids for your case study presentation at the beginning of your APC interview.

Below are some of the key points discussed at the workshop.

IT based supports

Candidates should be aware that for logistical reasons, APC interviews are traditionally held in unconventional locations such as hotels rooms, airports or football stadia. As a result the rooms are generally small, not equipped with any IT facilities and may present the odd feature such as bedside lights or a couple of busy groundsmen mowing turf under your windows!

Candidates are also strongly discouraged from bringing in laptops, I-pads or mobile phones.

IT equipment takes up valuable time to set up and is notorious for letting you down when you need it the most, so do not take any chances.

Please be also aware that recording your interview under any form of media is strictly forbidden.

A3 easel folders

A3 easel folderSome employers and APC training providers advocate that using an A3 easel folder is compulsory.

Having spoken to many assessors, we do not agree with this statement. These A3 easel folders are like Marmite in APC world: some assessors love them, other detest them!

The underlining reason for this division among assessors seems to be that many candidates are very clumsy when using them. In other words, if you want to use one, make sure that you have practiced many times and that that they enhance rather than hinder your presentation skills.

Your slides should be brief and limited to a few key bullet points. Assessors will be very busy listening to you, referring back to your case study and taking notes; they will not have time to read lengthy slides.

You should only use slides to clarify or illustrate a point, and summarise a section if necessary. If they do not add anything to your presentation, you should reconsider whether you need them at all.

If you decide to use an A3 easel, place it on the table to your right or your left (depending whether you are left-handed or right-handed), but never in such a way that it would form a barrier between you and the assessors. You may insert a copy of the slides or some notes for your own use at the back of each slide but chances are that you will have to twist your neck to read them! Practice many times until you find what work best for you and consider using a mind map to assist you.

Once you have finished answering questions on your presentation, remember to put your A3 easel out of the way, may it be on the floor if no better place is available!

Other visual aids

It is perfectly acceptable for candidates to only bring in a chart, graph or plan if it works better for them or if it is all that is required to enhance their presentations. As they say, sometimes less is more!

In such case, we would recommend that you print three A3 copies of your graph / chart / plan for handing over to the assessors at the beginning of your presentation.

As we have mentioned, assessors will not have time to read any large amount of text so hand-outs are not a good idea. Also avoid A1 or A0 drawings as you will have nowhere to open them up.

As usual, if you have any queries feel free to drop us a line on Twitter @APCsupport_NW or e-mail us at Sonia@APCsupport-ltd.co.uk.

 One-to-one mock APC interviews

Are you sitting your APC in the next couples of months and ready for the final stages of your APC preparation?

Each session, we offer mock APC interviews for candidates in the construction pathways (QS / PM / BS / Infrastructure).

Please  e-mail us at Sonia@APCsupport-ltd.co.uk for details.

We also offer many seminars and workshops throughout the year in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield.

You can find all dates and booking links here: http://wp.me/p5Nraq-5j

 

Best of luck!