My APC Journey in the Middle East

Shyam Visavadia
I started my RICS APC journey in January 2013 with another consultancy in the UK. I followed the ‘Graduate Route 1’ which required 24 months structured learning. In 2015, I relocated to the Middle East to take up a new role within project management.

When joining Faithful+Gould in May 2016, I was enrolled onto its APC structured training programme. The programme which is led by a RICS assessor (Faithful+Gould associate director), provided a robust and clear route to chartership. Faithful+Gould equips me with the right tools and platform to fulfil my personal and professional development. Thankfully, I was able to pass my APC first time round!

Faithful+Gould equips me with the right tools and platform to fulfil my personal and professional development. Thankfully, I was able to pass my APC first time round!

During The Process, I Faced Several Challenges:

  1. For most 24 months is sufficient to complete the APC. However, for me I purely wasn’t ready. Through self-evaluation and discussions with my counsellor, I did not have enough relevant experience to meet the requirements of my competencies. Particularly those of Level 2 and 3, which require you to demonstrate your understanding through providing advice.

    Unlike traditional examinations the APC is based on experience and professional competence rather than a textbook or memory test. Make sure you understand your competencies to the respective levels before you commit yourself. The assessors will pick up if you show any signs of weakness or hesitation in understanding your documents and this could lead to you failing.

  2. RICS has traditionally followed a paper based system, however, recently RICS promote candidates to use the RICS assessment resource centre (ARC) – an online portal to record, manage and submit your application.

    As it is now mandatory to follow the ARC system, I found transferring from paper documents to online platform a laborious one. I suggest that candidates familiarise themselves with the system and make sure their counsellor is aware of how to sign off competencies online. Remember it is now mandatory that counsellors undergo ARC training before they are able to approve candidate’s submissions.

  3. The counsellor plays an integral part in attaining to your RICS qualifications. When looking for an appropriate counsellor ensure they can commit their time to your development. Ideally, I would meet with my counsellor once a month during the initial months of my training and weekly during the run up to the APC submissions and assessment.

At Faithful+Gould I had a very supportive counsellor and this is what helped me during the document preparation and application process.

For Anyone Looking to Pass Their APC First Time Round, I Offer These Three Pieces of Advice:

Plan – Planning is the key to success. Plan your APC journey based on your eligibility. Work backwards from the assessment and submission dates to ensure you are spending enough time at every stage of the way. Utilise your diary to ensure your counsellor is able to sign off your competencies. What helped me was condensing my revision and relating technical, often complex information, with real life examples based on my experience.

Prepare - Preparation is key. Your documentation will separate you from succeeding or failing. Make sure your documents are concise, relevant and presentable. Ensure that you apply relevant knowledge to achieve the required levels within each competency. Avoid rambling on or writing about areas where you have little or no experience in – don’t leave yourself open, the assessors may pick up on this!Mock Interviews are invaluable – at Faithful+Gould I was requested to sit several mock interviews with senior management and RICS APC assessors. The mock interviews provided reassurance and confidence which eventually helped me pass.

Perform – Put on a show. Imagine your APC Assessment as a performance and your submission as a script. Memorise your script, rehearse it and make sure you understand it like the back of your hand. During your assessment, be confident, clear and demonstrate understanding. The APC assessment is actually exciting, so I wouldn’t get too worried!

Your RICS qualification is your passport to some of the most exciting opportunities in this world. Embrace this and the journey ahead will be a rewarding one. What I have learnt during this process has also led me to achieve qualifications with The Chartered Institute of Building (MCIOB) and Association of Project Managers (MAPM).

The RICS APC is a challenging process, however with a positive attitude, commitment and the right work ethic anyone can become a respected member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The letters behind your name (MRICS) signify recognition, reputation, knowledge and competence. It also provides clients with confidence ensuring they receive a service which reflects the highest professional standards.

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