"Be the driving force behind your APC."

Iram Munawar MRICS

Iram's guide to navigating the APC

Becoming chartered was essential for Iram Munawar MRICS. Now she’s keen to help other APC candidates. Discover how she passed the APC.

I vividly remember my interview day: the nervous faces of the other candidates, the anticipation, my racing heart. When it was my time, I knocked on the door and peered around the corner to see the panel waiting. Everything I’d learned was whizzing through my mind.

One hour later I came out feeling exhilarated and confident. I knew I’d got my points across well and stayed calm but I also started second guessing myself – had I answered the questions in the right way? Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long: a week later I found out that I’d passed the APC and was a fully fledged chartered surveyor. That was the most amazing feeling; all those hours of study and preparation had paid off. A massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

Becoming chartered

Property has always interested me as my dad invested in houses and knew a lot about the industry. My degree in real estate from the University of Westminster gave me a fantastic grounding in the sector. This was when I first found out about RICS, as my course was accredited by them.

“Having a globally recognised qualification means clients have more confidence in your work.”

After university I worked at the Valuation Office Agency for eight months before moving to BLG where I focused more on the finance side of property development. I found becoming chartered was essential as having that globally recognised qualification means clients have more confidence in your work. And I wanted to push myself to achieve more as well.

My journey wasn’t the easiest. BLG had never had someone go through the full APC before, so couldn’t provide me with much guidance on the process but did help me move around different departments to gain the necessary experience to meet my competencies. This meant I had to be extremely self-motivated and find other ways to get the help I needed, such as training courses.

Be organised

I passed my APC in October 2017 and am now a counsellor to two candidates. The first thing I encouraged them to do is get organised. You’ll struggle if you try and cram everything in at the end. Over the two years I put together a file of all my notes for each competency, along with my worked examples so I could keep track of everything. Make sure you fill out the log book as well. Falling behind on this will just mean more work at the end and you won’t be able to remember what you did when and how long it took. Keeping on top of when all the deadline sign-off dates are is crucial as well.

Invest in courses to boost your knowledge and network

To get extra support, I did a lot of courses. After looking at several companies, I decided to book with RICS because it is the recognised board and felt it would focus on exactly what I needed to know. The broad range appealed to me too as I could tailor my training to my professional and personal interests.

Something that I didn’t expect to get from the courses was the networking opportunities. I met some great people through the face-to-face courses and formed a study group, which was brilliant support through the APC.

The two courses I’ve recommended to the candidates I look after are Preparing for the Case Study and Conduct Rules, Ethics and Professional Practice. The case study training was great for easing my concerns over what should be included in the document. We had an open discussion where anyone could ask the trainer questions; this gave me confidence that I was covering all the necessary competencies.

With ethics being such a vital part of the APC and of being a chartered surveyor, this course is essential. The trainer went through all the standards in detail and we then worked in small groups to run through real-life scenarios, which made us consider how we should act to conform with RICS’ practices.

Ask for help

My last piece of advice is to be proactive about getting extra support. You’re not alone: if you’re not sure about something or you need someone to read through your submission draft, ask your counsellor for help. They will understand what’s involved in the APC. I was definitely the driving force behind my APC and was very vocal about exactly what I needed to meet the competency levels.

After you’ve qualified you should definitely consider becoming an APC counsellor or supervisor; it gives me a great sense of satisfaction and achievement when I see my candidates doing well. It’s a brilliant way to give back to the surveying world.

Looking ahead

It’s such a fascinating time to be in real estate. With our changing shopping habits and the evolution of the high street, it’s going to be exciting to be involved in such a relevant and current sector. Property is entwined in so many areas of our lives, without us even realising it. I look forward to being part of what happens next.

You may also like…