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A lockdown MRICS qualification

alexandra bussell MRICSMassive congratulations go to Alexandra Bussell, who has passed her Chartered Surveyor qualifications to become a Member of the Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors (MRICS).

What makes this even more special is that Alexandra had to sit her final exam during the COVID-19 lockdown – a very different experience, more about that below.

In order to become a member of RICS (MRICS) Alexandra had to pass an Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) after completing 5 years’ experience and supported by training at Daniells Harrison Chartered Surveyors. The APC is a mix of technical and professional practice, interpersonal, business and management skills and ensures that candidates are competent and meet the high standards of professionalism required to become a chartered surveyor.

The final stage involves an hour-long face to face interview to a panel of qualified APC assessors.  It’s broadly split into 4 parts:

  • 10 minute presentation of case study
  • 10 minute questions on case study
  • 25 minute general questions on overall experience
  • 10 minute questions on ethics (Alexandra had to previously sit an online ethics exams as well).

Virtual MRICS assessment

In normal times, candidates select a preferred location to attend their final interview. But with social distancing restrictions in place due to the COVID pandemic, that wasn’t an option. Instead RICS established an online video assessment procedure which took place over Skype.

Alexandra had to follow a strict set of guidelines to prepare for the interview. A room in her home needed to be tidied up with no access to any paperwork, additional screens or books that would enable cheating. Alexandra had to wear professional attire and ensure her surroundings looked uncluttered (not so easy as their house was in the middle of building works which were on hold due to the lockdown).

At the start of the interview Alexandra had to do a 360 sweep of the room with the camera to ensure there was no-one else present or any other method of cheating was taking place.  The chairperson was able to request the view of the surroundings to be completed again at any time during the video interview. (The chairperson and assessors have been trained on how to identify any suspicious activity from candidates, for example keyboard typing, mouse clicking, other noises, unusual eye movement, and excessive hesitation in responding to questions).

Alexandra explained the whole experience was pretty nerve wracking. She had to join a virtual waiting room for 15 minutes prior to the interview – a very strange experience.

Alexandra found out 5 days after the interview that she had passed.  Whilst she can’t celebrate in person with family and friends, she didn’t miss the chance to raise a glass with her fiancée Adam. A bittersweet celebration as they were due to get married this summer but have had to postpone the wedding until next year because of the pandemic.

Thanks go from Alexandra to all her DHCS colleagues who helped her to gain her MRICS qualification. In particular, Annabelle Argent, who created and sent a series of questions based on the written assignment for Alexandra to research and Andy Groom, who carried out a number of practice Skype assessment interviews with Alexandra leading up to the final stage.

Congratulations from all of us at DHCS and we look forward to celebrating in person when we are all back in the office again.