Call the LionHeart Helpline

UK: 0800 009 2960 or +44 (0)121 289 3300

Request a callback


Coping with APC stress

sky and kate (cropped)

The RICS Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) is extremely important to all involved.

This creates passion and motivation, but also sometimes stress.

This should not be ignored - do not try to be ‘macho’, but take positive steps to reduce your stress levels and improve your performance and underlying health.

I have had a lot of experience helping APC candidates deal with stress and have come up with the following suggestions:

Before Final Assessment

  • Take care of your health. Treat final assessment like a race a train for it: take your vitamins, exercise, eat healthily and cut down on alcohol (depressant) and caffeine (stimulant)
  • Exercise: aerobic training and flexibility training are best for stress, so try running and yoga
  • Sleep: build a healthy sleep routine. Never revise in bed and go to bed early enough to wind down
  • Try hypnotherapy or mindfulness - download an app and listen to it every day for two weeks
  • Practise reframing: create a positive mindset by turning each worry into a “glass half full” statement. For example, “I am worried nerves will affect my performance in the interview” becomes “The adrenaline will give my performance a passionate edge that will help me think on my feet!”
  • Plan your preparation - allow plenty of time to study and practise. This will reduce anxiety

During Final Assessment

  • Pause for a few seconds before answering and breathe. This gets oxygen to your brain, relaxes you and makes your responses seem considered
  • Use the pen and paper provided. The kinaesthetic action of writing stimulates your memory and makes you look professional. Jot down a word or two only and you can come back to that question at the end
  • Take a sip of water: it helps you pause, slow things down and reduces panic. You will probably find that the assessors mirror and also take a sip of water. Don’t worry, you will be able to top up

After Final Assessment

  • Try not to have a post mortem. This will build stress - and you cannot change the result
  • Distract yourself: plan to do something fun that requires your full attention in the days after your interview
  • Make a conscious effort to move on: have a contingency plan in place so you can spend the five days  waiting for the result thinking about something else

These suggestions come from five years looking after hundreds of public sector Graduate Surveyors: pick and choose, but there will be something that helps you.

To use a sporting analogy: control the controllables and try to let the rest go.

Guest blogger Kate Taylor FRICS Assoc CIPD is an experienced RICS APC assessor and chairman with a passion for professional development. She sits on the RICS UK APC Appeals Panel, the RICS UK Valuation Board and is the lead RICS Valuation Tutor for distance learning in valuation.

Kate's practical tools

Try this breathing exercise to help stress:

  • Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five. You may not be able to reach five at first
  • Then, without pausing or holding your breath let it flow out gently, counting from one to five again if you like
  • Keep doing this for three to five minutes

Hypnotherapy App

My favourite is Relax with Andrew Johnson - this is free on Google Play from Hive Brain software

Positive Mindset

The NHS Choices website has some useful short podcasts and videos on the moodzone. Check out this one about reframing unhelpful thoughts 


LionHeart offers a number of health and wellbeing workshops designed to help people balance their lives better, including an Improve Your Work Life Balance one initially devised by Kate. Find out more

Latest Posts

18th - Diversifying our board, and why
18th - Coaching to unlock a new future
12th - How to help your lonely teen
9th - Asking for help - as the helper
28th - Why talking about dying is so important
7th - 9 simple ways to cut stress
23rd - Living & succeeding with ADHD
16th - ‘I came to see how much of my life was run on adrenaline’
10th - "My daughter didn't want to be here any more"
4th - My life-changing cancer diagnosis
13th - Reassessing how you drink
4th - Looking to the future
19th - How alcohol almost cost me everything
18th - Children's grief and how to help
16th - Alcohol, anxiety and how secrets keep you sick
4th - "I had no idea stress could cause a real physical pain"
22nd - 5 ways to get your teen talking
18th - The Positives of Menopause
13th - Baby loss and depression
12th - The pandemic’s impact on children's mental health (and what we can do about it)
8th - Don't judge a book - a story of depression and change
5th - LionHeart Back to Work support
29th - Post APC submission
16th - How families feel youth mental health
24th - 6 top tips if you’ve been referred
20th - Coaching for change
12th - “I’d hit absolute bottom – but it was the catalyst to seek help”
22nd - Spring into action by fundraising for LionHeart
4th - Reflecting on university mental health
15th - My experiences of counselling
20th - Worry Time - and how it helps
18th - My furlough & redundancy journey
13th - Volunteering and LionHeart
30th - A road to change
2nd - Trusteeship through lockdown and uncertainty
12th - The importance of legacies
10th - Overwhelm - and overcoming it
8th - Lockdown and my mental health
28th - Creativity at Work
20th - Video
24th - 'If I can do it, so can you'
22nd - How to ace your APC interview online
8th - Help! I've been referred... what now?
3rd - Your coronavirus concerns, and how we're helping
12th - How coronavirus might be affecting your mental health
12th - Managing health anxiety through Covid-19 - and how we helped Mike
31st - Rising to the coronavirus challenge
24th - Keep connecting - in a different way
13th - Demonstrating our impact
4th - "Cancer wasn't meant to happen to us"
4th - The Big C and grabbing life
30th - My journey as a charity trustee
7th - Top 10 tips for CVs and interviews
9th - Grief and loss at Christmas
7th - Charity trusteeship
6th - How counselling can help manage stress
9th - Living with anxiety and depression
10th - How coaching can help
16th - Changing attitudes to mental health
15th - The vicious circle of body image & mental health
14th - Social Anxiety & how we can help
11th - Life with Parkinson's
29th - What is Bipolar?
29th - The one about the Bipolar surveyor...
12th - Memory tips from the training front line
22nd - Losing a parent
8th - Frequently asked questions about LionHeart
7th - LionHeart's support was a game-changer when I failed APC
16th - When the reality of motherhood doesn't quite go to plan
10th - The story behind surveying's Sisterhood Summit
2nd - The rollercoaster of being a first-time dad
22nd - My father's suicide and what I've learnt
14th - Tips for your RICS APC final assessment interview
7th - Trust in the charity sector
21st - Is it really okay to not be okay?
17th - Building resilience through your APC
8th - 7 ways to get more active this year
4th - Coping with loss and grief at Christmas
5th - "I was told I might not be cut out to be a surveyor"
26th - Resilience, and why we need it
21st - APC Revision Top Ten Tips
12th - LionHeart on new fundraising code of practice
19th - Living with 'invisible' illness
14th - How LionHeart helped us live life
13th - Men's Health Week 2017
22nd - Living with panic attacks
18th - Why we must care about work life balance
11th - The chicken-and-egg of mental health and shame
2nd - What I learnt from Dry January
31st - "My 19-year journey to MRICS is what made me"
5th - Ways to be kind to yourself in 2017
7th - Suicide prevention
1st - Coping with APC stress
13th - "I constantly watch my husband for suicidal signs"
26th - Dealing with referral at APC Final Assessment
19th - How mindfulness can help your relationships
18th - "I live, and thrive, with depression"
17th - Men and mental health
16th - Mental health and your relationship
26th - Starting out in surveying
11th - A happy retirement
1st - My Dry(ish) January
21st - Spring clean your finances
6th - When to consider couples counselling
4th - Having a (financially) healthier Christmas
19th - Identifying and dealing with workplace bullying
18th - How to help a loved one with an addiction
15th - Reflections on the Lionheart Surveyors’ Football League season
12th - Carers
10th - How LionHeart can support carers
9th - Desktop Relaxation techniques
29th - Techniques to help combat anxiety
20th - Helping a family member with depression
18th - Achievements that make a difference
16th - Five things that may indicate your colleague needs help
11th - Helping during a panic attack