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SCSI / RICS APC Chartership

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  • 21-02-2021 4:31pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 334 ✭✭


    Has anyone done there APC chartership with the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCSI) or through Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)?



    Just wondering how people found the interview or do they have any tips?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 78,303 ✭✭✭✭Victor


    My old boss (FRICS, FSCS) was an examiner. He'd come back to the office after the interviews and ask me (diploma level with a few years experience) the same questions that were asked at the interview. I could generally answer them.

    Example: What is the most important job of the quantity surveyor. One candidate answered "Bills of Quantities" (that's just what takes up lots of time), whereas "cost control" or "project delivery within the required constraints" would be a much better understanding of the role. My cheeky answer is "Cashing your pay cheques, which is best achieved by good cost control within an overall framework of project delivery within the required constraints."

    I suspect plenty of practice interviews with people who have previously worked as examiners would be useful.


  • Registered Users Posts: 334 ✭✭Skidfingers


    Victor wrote: »
    My old boss (FRICS, FSCS) was an examiner. He'd come back to the office after the interviews and ask me (diploma level with a few years experience) the same questions that were asked at the interview. I could generally answer them.

    Example: What is the most important job of the quantity surveyor. One candidate answered "Bills of Quantities" (that's just what takes up lots of time), whereas "cost control" or "project delivery within the required constraints" would be a much better understanding of the role. My cheeky answer is "Cashing your pay cheques, which is best achieved by good cost control within an overall framework of project delivery within the required constraints."

    I suspect plenty of practice interviews with people who have previously worked as examiners would be useful.


    Thanks, I'll try to get talking to an examiner prior to doing the interview.



    I heard the interview is very intense from many people though and they come down fair hard on you. I suppose it can depend on the examiner.


    I heard from someone before it is easier and it's much more fair to get it abroad under the RICS rather than the SCSI.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,330 ✭✭✭✭Penn


    Thanks, I'll try to get talking to an examiner prior to doing the interview.



    I heard the interview is very intense from many people though and they come down fair hard on you. I suppose it can depend on the examiner.


    I heard from someone before it is easier and it's much more fair to get it abroad under the RICS rather than the SCSI.

    It's intense but they don't come down hard on you. After your 10 minute presentation on your critical analysis, they ask you questions on it for 10 minutes (which you should mostly be able to answer if your involvement and knowledge of the project is as you're claiming). Then for 30 minutes they can ask you any questions on topics within your core and optional competencies.

    You're not expected to be able to answer absolutely everything. You should be able to display a general understanding and knowledge of most of the topics, and be able to discuss some in greater detail (again, based on the summary of experience you submit with your application). But even if you don't know the answer, what they're looking for is "If this person was chartered and this came up in their work, what would they do?" So you explain that you don't have direct experience of that topic, but you would perhaps seek advice from a senior colleague or external consultant who does. Only so much you can use that though, as you should have reasonable knowledge and understanding of most of the topics under your competencies even through your Prequalification Structured Learning.

    They'll try lead you a little to the answer if they feel you're not getting the question, maybe by rephrasing the question or trying to emphasise one part of it to drag the answer out of you. But for the most part they have to remain stoneyfaced to not give you an indication if you're doing good/bad. And if you're not getting towards the answer, they'll just move on to the next question.

    It's tough and can feel intense, but it's also fair. The time goes by quick enough. Also you're being interviewed by a panel of 3 and most of the questions are already agreed in advance so it doesn't even really matter who you get on the day. Again, it's pretty well balanced.

    The hardest part is just handling your own nerves and keeping calm, listening to the questions fully and answering what you're asked rather than picking one word out of the question and waffling about the topic in general to show how much you know.


  • Registered Users Posts: 334 ✭✭Skidfingers


    Penn wrote: »
    It's intense but they don't come down hard on you. After your 10 minute presentation on your critical analysis, they ask you questions on it for 10 minutes (which you should mostly be able to answer if your involvement and knowledge of the project is as you're claiming). Then for 30 minutes they can ask you any questions on topics within your core and optional competencies.

    You're not expected to be able to answer absolutely everything. You should be able to display a general understanding and knowledge of most of the topics, and be able to discuss some in greater detail (again, based on the summary of experience you submit with your application). But even if you don't know the answer, what they're looking for is "If this person was chartered and this came up in their work, what would they do?" So you explain that you don't have direct experience of that topic, but you would perhaps seek advice from a senior colleague or external consultant who does. Only so much you can use that though, as you should have reasonable knowledge and understanding of most of the topics under your competencies even through your Prequalification Structured Learning.

    They'll try lead you a little to the answer if they feel you're not getting the question, maybe by rephrasing the question or trying to emphasise one part of it to drag the answer out of you. But for the most part they have to remain stoneyfaced to not give you an indication if you're doing good/bad. And if you're not getting towards the answer, they'll just move on to the next question.

    It's tough and can feel intense, but it's also fair. The time goes by quick enough. Also you're being interviewed by a panel of 3 and most of the questions are already agreed in advance so it doesn't even really matter who you get on the day. Again, it's pretty well balanced.

    The hardest part is just handling your own nerves and keeping calm, listening to the questions fully and answering what you're asked rather than picking one word out of the question and waffling about the topic in general to show how much you know.


    Do you know the best way to prepare for this? Possibly get sample questions from an existing examiner?


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,330 ✭✭✭✭Penn


    Do you know the best way to prepare for this? Possibly get sample questions from an existing examiner?

    That would help. Not just from an examiner, but from anyone who has done the assessment too if they can remember some of the questions they were asked.

    The SCSI twice a year holds a workshop for people doing the APC. It's presented by a guy from the RICS called Jon Lever, who is also responsible for training the examiners in how to do the assessment. It's well worth attending at least once (it's split into two parts, the general APC and Critical Analysis, and then the submission and final assessment). Not sure how it's working online with restrictions etc.

    Use the APC pathway guides and make a list of the different areas under your competencies. Separate them into which ones you have good knowledge and experience of and those you don't. Try to focus most of your PQSL on some of the areas you don't have knowledge and experience of. If there are some areas you have no experience of and you know won't come up in your general work, just read short summaries of what they are but don't spend too much time on them. There are several SCSI guides on the website for different topics which are well worth studying and making notes on. Again, if you have no experience or knowledge of a topic they ask you on, what would you do in your general work? You'd engage a senior colleague or external consultant, or you'd explain to the client that you don't undertake that work and perhaps direct them to another company (which is in the client's best interests and therefore the correct action to take).

    Mock assessments are worth doing if you know someone who'd be able to ask you the questions (and know the answers themselves to know if you're answering right or missing something).

    For the presentation, just practice, practice, practice. Even if you're planning on going in with cue cards or visual aids, you should be able to recite your presentation off by heart. The presentation is your chance to set the stage and is the one part of the interview you have full control over. Make it count.

    Your final submission, you give a small summary of some of your work and experience. What you say in it, they'll generally try ask questions on (like I said, they agree most of the questions to ask in advance, which is mostly based on what you say you know and have studied). So use it to try and invite questions on the topics you know most about.

    There's only so much you can do to prepare for the 30-minute question section. Depending what area of surveying you're going for (eg. Building Surveying, Geomatics, Quantity Surveying), some are very wide areas with many different topics you can be asked on. Just use the pathway guides as much as possible to direct your field of study to shore up your knowledge on your weaker areas.

    I've had friends go for it who failed because regardless of how knowledgable they were, they went in and shook like a sh*tting dog due to nerves, and couldn't focus properly. Nerves are understandable and if they feel you're getting nervous they might suggest taking a drink of water or something to try give you a break for a few seconds and gather yourself. Practice interviews will help, but if you go in and can't control yourself, you're going to have a rough time. You have to be able to retain your calm, focus and listen to the question and answer what was asked. Waffle won't help you or them.

    One of the best bits of advice I got was to keep in mind that if your final submission has been accepted and you're being given the interview, you're already chartered. They've already made the decision that based on your submission they believe you can be a chartered surveyor. The interview is a way of them ensuring that you are who you're saying you are, and you can do what you're saying you can do in your final submission. If you can show you have the knowledge, experience and ability to make rational decisions and give clients reasoned advice that your submission says you can, the interview should be fine.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 334 ✭✭Skidfingers


    Penn wrote: »
    That would help. Not just from an examiner, but from anyone who has done the assessment too if they can remember some of the questions they were asked.

    The SCSI twice a year holds a workshop for people doing the APC. It's presented by a guy from the RICS called Jon Lever, who is also responsible for training the examiners in how to do the assessment. It's well worth attending at least once (it's split into two parts, the general APC and Critical Analysis, and then the submission and final assessment). Not sure how it's working online with restrictions etc.

    Use the APC pathway guides and make a list of the different areas under your competencies. Separate them into which ones you have good knowledge and experience of and those you don't. Try to focus most of your PQSL on some of the areas you don't have knowledge and experience of. If there are some areas you have no experience of and you know won't come up in your general work, just read short summaries of what they are but don't spend too much time on them. There are several SCSI guides on the website for different topics which are well worth studying and making notes on. Again, if you have no experience or knowledge of a topic they ask you on, what would you do in your general work? You'd engage a senior colleague or external consultant, or you'd explain to the client that you don't undertake that work and perhaps direct them to another company (which is in the client's best interests and therefore the correct action to take).

    Mock assessments are worth doing if you know someone who'd be able to ask you the questions (and know the answers themselves to know if you're answering right or missing something).

    For the presentation, just practice, practice, practice. Even if you're planning on going in with cue cards or visual aids, you should be able to recite your presentation off by heart. The presentation is your chance to set the stage and is the one part of the interview you have full control over. Make it count.

    Your final submission, you give a small summary of some of your work and experience. What you say in it, they'll generally try ask questions on (like I said, they agree most of the questions to ask in advance, which is mostly based on what you say you know and have studied). So use it to try and invite questions on the topics you know most about.

    There's only so much you can do to prepare for the 30-minute question section. Depending what area of surveying you're going for (eg. Building Surveying, Geomatics, Quantity Surveying), some are very wide areas with many different topics you can be asked on. Just use the pathway guides as much as possible to direct your field of study to shore up your knowledge on your weaker areas.

    I've had friends go for it who failed because regardless of how knowledgable they were, they went in and shook like a sh*tting dog due to nerves, and couldn't focus properly. Nerves are understandable and if they feel you're getting nervous they might suggest taking a drink of water or something to try give you a break for a few seconds and gather yourself. Practice interviews will help, but if you go in and can't control yourself, you're going to have a rough time. You have to be able to retain your calm, focus and listen to the question and answer what was asked. Waffle won't help you or them.

    One of the best bits of advice I got was to keep in mind that if your final submission has been accepted and you're being given the interview, you're already chartered. They've already made the decision that based on your submission they believe you can be a chartered surveyor. The interview is a way of them ensuring that you are who you're saying you are, and you can do what you're saying you can do in your final submission. If you can show you have the knowledge, experience and ability to make rational decisions and give clients reasoned advice that your submission says you can, the interview should be fine.


    Thanks very much for your help. I will consider this when going into to do it.



    I'm doing the QS side of things. By the time my final submission comes around, I'll have only 3 years experience post degree, I feel like this could hold me back and they may feel I don't have sufficient experience to become chartered?


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,330 ✭✭✭✭Penn


    Thanks very much for your help. I will consider this when going into to do it.



    I'm doing the QS side of things. By the time my final submission comes around, I'll have only 3 years experience post degree, I feel like this could hold me back and they may feel I don't have sufficient experience to become chartered?

    That can be a worry alright. It depends a lot on the company you work for and your role within it. If they know you're going for your chartership, ask to be involved in different jobs/roles for the experience. But there are plenty of people who start the APC right out of college and get chartered after their 2 years. But if your 2 years comes up and you don't feel you're ready for it, you don't have to submit. You can continue with the APC for longer until you feel you are ready.

    But for the most part, the chartership and APC process is about more than experience, it's about showing your thought process. Showing that even if you don't have experience of something, you have a decent rationality to your decision-making process. That's the crux of the Critical Analysis. Issue 1 arose during a project you were involved in. You could have done A, B or C. You didn't do A because (reasons). You didn't do C because (reasons). You chose B because (reasons). By doing B you learned (whatever). Issue 2 arose during a project... etc. You were able to use what you learned to try and ensure those issues did not then arise on future/similar projects.

    It's not just about knowledge or experience, but rational and critical thinking. Even in the interview if you don't know an answer exactly, talk it out a little bit, display your thinking (eg. "Well, I believe that's similar to XXXX so I would approach it in the same way while reviewing previous work done by others in the company and seeking their advice to guide me on same")

    Your summary of experience etc that you submit in the application, it should present the best version of yourself, but don't make yourself out to be someone who knows or can solve everything. It has to be honest.


  • Registered Users Posts: 334 ✭✭Skidfingers


    Penn wrote: »
    That can be a worry alright. It depends a lot on the company you work for and your role within it. If they know you're going for your chartership, ask to be involved in different jobs/roles for the experience. But there are plenty of people who start the APC right out of college and get chartered after their 2 years. But if your 2 years comes up and you don't feel you're ready for it, you don't have to submit. You can continue with the APC for longer until you feel you are ready.

    But for the most part, the chartership and APC process is about more than experience, it's about showing your thought process. Showing that even if you don't have experience of something, you have a decent rationality to your decision-making process. That's the crux of the Critical Analysis. Issue 1 arose during a project you were involved in. You could have done A, B or C. You didn't do A because (reasons). You didn't do C because (reasons). You chose B because (reasons). By doing B you learned (whatever). Issue 2 arose during a project... etc. You were able to use what you learned to try and ensure those issues did not then arise on future/similar projects.

    It's not just about knowledge or experience, but rational and critical thinking. Even in the interview if you don't know an answer exactly, talk it out a little bit, display your thinking (eg. "Well, I believe that's similar to XXXX so I would approach it in the same way while reviewing previous work done by others in the company and seeking their advice to guide me on same")

    Your summary of experience etc that you submit in the application, it should present the best version of yourself, but don't make yourself out to be someone who knows or can solve everything. It has to be honest.


    Thanks so much for all your help and advice. I will take on board.



    I'm just finishing my competencies (Level 1-3) now, and I'll likely be moving onto final submission in the next few weeks with submission next February. I guess this will be the toughest part!


  • Registered Users Posts: 5 adwit010


    Digging up an old thread but did the OP pass the APC? I'm sitting mine in May this year for the QS route.



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