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Dealing with referral at APC Final Assessment: Tips for a tough time

kate (cropped)
The period after final assessment can be very difficult if you don't get the result you have longed for and worked your socks off for.
It might be that you don't know how to react or what to do next. These tips will help you regroup and work your way through to the light at the end of the tunnel.

1. Feel it.

It is okay to be disappointed, upset and angry; you wouldn’t be a good future chartered surveyor if you were not passionate about the profession and devastated by referral. 

Don’t bottle it up, but conversely allocate some time to wallow and shout. These are very powerful emotions which need to be expressed in order for you to move on constructively. If you do not allow yourself to express emotions it can result in stress-related health problems.

2. Own it.

When time is up (your own timetable ….), face the problem. This means accepting that you fell short of a pretty high bar (along with about 35% of all candidates). 

Ask yourself what was under-prepared or lacking in experience. You will have had an idea before you entered the assessment where your weaker areas were. Accept it and start to move forward. If you can’t accept it you can’t put it right and you will be trapped in a vicious circle.

Find the courage to move forward, don’t give up. Most people have knock backs at some point in their lives - if this is your first one, you are doing well.

3. Read it.

The referral report is a horrible document both to write and to read. Try not to take it personally; it is about competence as defined by RICS and not about how good you are at your job or how worthwhile you are as a person.  Don’t obsess over detail like an assessor’s typo, but work on understanding the content and holistic message.

Once you have overcome your rage, try to be objective and use the feedback as the basis for your action plan: you know now what doesn’t work and have been given a way forward.

4. Plan it.

The deficiencies will be listed by competence with some overview and interview skills feedback. Use the overview comments in the conclusion as your soft skills prompts and use the competence parts to fill in technical gaps.

The key to success at the next attempt is addressing the deficiencies in a referral report constructively, whether or not you agree with them.  Be honest with yourself -ask, "What changes do I need to make?" 

5. Attack it.

Once you have a plan of attack, execute it and stick to your guns. You have about 5 months to get ready for the next attempt. Find your passion reframed from grief into enthusiasm. 

The pass rate is higher on second attempts because the referral report guides both the new panel and the candidate, so make the most of it.

In some rare cases, something has gone wrong with the interview. If there is a clear process error then there is facility to appeal at a cost of £100 and using the prescribed form. See the RICS website for details.

Guest blogger Kate Taylor FRICS is an APC trainer and assessor, and sits on the APC Working Group and UK Appeals Panel.

Read Kate’s other blogs: 

How to get through the Milk Round

Coping with APC stress

  • Don’t forget, if you’re an APC candidate who is struggling with stress, anxiety or depression, LionHeart may be able to help. Contact us to find out more 
  • Check out our wellbeing workshops, which include Improve Your Work Life Balance run by Kate here

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