Next to your case study. your summary of experience is a significant part of your APC submission. Your summary represents you and your work to the APC assessors; and even before you meet them, it is a key consideration in a preliminary review of whether you are ready to proceed to final assessment or not.
As the assessor's first impression of you comes from your submission, your summary of experience needs to be first-rate. It tells them what you have achieved and what you selected for each competency to best represent your work. Your selection of experiences is also important as these influence most of the 35 minutes of APC interview that follows questions on your case study.
There are differing approaches that can improve your submission. Do follow the APC guidance and sample APC submission,. and give yourself plenty of time for preparing, considering and checking your summary, as the process needs both time and careful management if it is to be successful.
A basic schedule or Gantt chart will help create targets and deadlines. You can develop a plan by working backwards from the submission date and allowing time for proofing, drafting, building up the experiences, reviews and so on. Your plan could be as basic as a simple spreadsheet or dates in a calendar, provided you stick to it and take action if needed. Time spent on preparation also enables you and your supervisor or counsellor to identify any competencies where you may not gain enough experience. A strategy should be in place to address any deficiencies early on.
You should record experiences against the relevant competencies when they are fresh in your mind and you have access to the relevant data. Ideally you will have a range of suitable experiences from which to select the best for your summary. When selecting, do consider demonstrating your breadth of experience. Building surveying practice pertains to properties and facilities that can vary, for example, by type, age, use, client, regulation and region. so it is better to demonstrate your range of experience to your assessors by discussing different types where possible.
There can be a temptation to use the same project or even the case study repeatedly.
However, even if you are only involved in one project, usually a substantial one, or with a single client, do show the breadth of your work. Although you may feel constrained by having only one client, such as a housing association, there can be valuable experiences that demonstrate work on different buildings, such as offices, or community facilities.
Your supervisor or counsellor can help guide you in selecting a good mixture that showcases your breadth and depth of experience. When drafting your summary of experience, always write in the first person, following the RICS APC candidate guidance; for example, 'I did' or 'My role....'. You must communicate what you did and were responsible for, to show that you meet the specific competency at or even above that level. Do acknowledge whether others were involved, but be specific about your part, which at Level 2 or 3 must be as an active participant in providing the service.
Do keep to the word limits, which proportionally allow about 100 words per mandatory competency level and 166 words per core and optional competency level.
Successful summaries often reduce the number of words used for Level 1 to allow more at Levels 2 and 3. Level 3 experiences should communicate your reasoned advice, so typically convey greater detail through fewer examples and a proportionally higher word count.
Having the submission checked for spelling or grammar errors as well as being proofread by at least one other person is highly recommended. Do also ask someone who is knowledgeable about the competencies to give you critical feedback. Then prepare the final draft for your submission.
Ewan Craig is an APC assessor APC coach and local director with Right Surveyors firstname.lastname@example.org