APC process: shifting sands

APC-SeriesAs we wave goodbye to 2016, Jon Lever reviews the year’s key APC changes and looks ahead to what’s in store for candidates in 2017

What changed in 2016?

Templates

There were a number of updates to the APC templates in 2016, but the most significant came in July and August when each of the templates was updated to accommodate minor tweaks to the word count, removal of competency achievement dates in the summary of experience, and a major functionality update – moving the templates back to a basic Word file, which enables easy formatting and layout. This was met with a collective sigh of relief.

Anyone still working with the Word template (which will be the majority of those coming forward for assessment in the next 12 to 18 months) should ensure that they get the latest version – available from the RICS website.

Case study

This is no longer the critical analysis, but despite being common practice since the beginning of 2016, this change still prompts queries from candidates. In reality, the case study is still fairly similar to the critical analysis, so there is no need to panic.

However, its format has changed and it now has four new headings, which lend themselves nicely to a professional report structure and the 3,000-word quota. It is important for candidates to convince the assessors that they fully understand what the case study should be about and that in the project and topic chosen, the declared competencies have been the focus.

Referral

As a referred candidate, it is important to specifically revisit the areas noted in the referral report. However, there has been some recent misunderstanding about whether candidates are required to continue recording their diary and logbook. In short, candidates do not have to complete any further diary or logbook during their referral period; only the referral summary of experience, CPD and case study as required.

What’s in store in 2017?

The RICS is introducing a number of changes in 2017, which need to be carefully considered as they have a potential impact on the APC process.

ARC

The new Assessment Resource Centre (ARC) is the RICS’s latest attempt at providing a storage solution for candidates’ APC information in an already tried and tested online medium (see the DeLever www.APCDiary.com, as an example). ARC is causing some initial concern for candidates coming forward for the 2017 spring assessment. However, it is likely that the RICS will contact all relevant candidates and fully explain the following transition options that they are making available. For example:

1. Candidates just starting out on the APC journey (enrolling from 4 January 2017 onward) will be added to the ARC and be required to submit final assessment information in it in the future. The data entered into the ARC will then create an output pdf for assessment, similar to the existing Word templates.

2. The RICS’ “in-flight” candidates (those already actively engaged in the APC) will continue to record APC data in the existing Word templates and at the requisite time upload a single pdf of the submission documentation to ARC. There will be no need to send the RICS four hard copies of the submission documents. It is not known how long this paper/pdf transition option will be available, but my own expectation would be the two assessments in 2017 and possibly into 2018.

3. Those who enrolled prior to 4 January 2017 are able to transfer across to ARC. However, this should be a considered decision, because it depends on how much data has already been recorded in the Word templates and needs to be transferred across. It is not known whether the RICS has a simple system of uploading bulk data that has already been recorded, but it is worth asking. Candidates should also be aware that once they have transferred across to ARC there is no going back.

APC preliminary

Candidates following the APC with a preliminary (the old PER route) should be aware that the preliminary submission date has been brought forward by one month to March/April and September/October. They must also remember to submit the full APC documentation for preliminary assessment around six months prior to the assessment period being targeted.

APC application

This has changed for 2017 and candidates will now have a combined application/submission period. The submission dates have not changed and are still programmed as the end of February/March and end of August/September for land and property/built environment respectively.

Final assessment

The spring dates are moving from April/May to May/June and are already on the RICS website. The autumn assessments will still be in October/November but may now also stray into early December. Look out for theDeLever APC mock interviews available to book at www.delever.com.

Competencies

There is a fair amount of scaremongering going on regarding an across-pathway competency review. While this is ongoing, it is unlikely that the implementation will be complete by July 2017, which was previously suggested. There is likely to be a transition period for those who have started out on their APC journey on older versions of the guides and competencies.


Useful resources

APCeye magazine Critical APC information in a free monthly magazine from DeLever. www.mydelever.com

APC presentation Online masterclass discussing key elements of the APC final assessment interview. Hints and tips on best practice. www.delever.com

APC mock interviews Practice your APC final assessment interview, including your presentation and specific competency-based questioning. A full hour interview just like the real thing and immediate constructive feedback from the two assessors including hints and tips on best practice. www.delever.com

APC final assessment competency revision workshop Land, property and built environment APC candidate preparation day. Understand everything you need to know for the APC plus useful resources. www.delever.com

Free supervisor and counsellor APC training – formal CPD Managing candidates and feel a little out of your depth? Get key tips how to manage and support your candidates. www.delever.com

Commercial property revision guide Candidates’ reference book for APC preparation. www.delever.com

Free APC explained masterclass This helps candidates to understand what needs to be done to achieve the APC, including a walk-through of the DeLever APC process timeline and myAPC diary with an explanation of what to do at each milestone. www.delever.com

Free trial: myAPCDiary This resource can save up to 60% a candidate’s day-to-day APC administration: www.apcdiary.com

Free timeline wallchart A2 pictorial view of the whole APC process, based on the RICS guides and Jon Lever’s professional knowledge and experience of the APC. A new version containing enhanced features and the latest RICS updates will be available in early 2017. www.delever.com

RICS APC guides These should be read at least once every three to four months and fully understood. Candidates from outside the UK also need to check their regional websites for any local APC requirements: www.rics.org

WhatsApp: APC 101 A new WhatsApp group supported by Jon Lever and DeLever APC expert coaches. Ask APC questions and receive considered and professional answers. Join the group using: https://chat.whatsapp.com/2Urbr1McRsW4YdVZ2Z1g5e


Jon Lever FRICS is the RICS UK licenced assessor trainer, a RICS regional training adviser, an APC chairman of assessors and a member of the RICS’ governing council. Follow Jon on Twitter @deleverapc

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