PSA FAQS

faqs

PSA FAQs

Here you will find the FAQs for PSAs.

APEAS is a limited liability company with charitable status – for further information click here

The Part 3 Examination is the recognised standard for registration with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) to hold the title of architect and is the gateway to chartered membership of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).

Candidates successfully passing the Part 3 Examination may make application to obtain Statutory Registered Status with ARB and Chartered Membership with the RIBA and RIAS.

All Part 3 candidates are assessed against the jointly agreed ARB/RIBA Criteria at Part 3

The APEAS Part 3 Examination outcome is equivalent to those of other Part 3 examinations offered by other bodies in that all candidates are assessed against the jointly agreed ARB/RIBA Criteria at Part 3. However, in another sense the APEAS Part 3 Examination is unique in that APEAS does not currently offer a course leading to the Part 3 Examination.

In Scotland it has been traditionally held by both the architectural profession and Higher Education institutions offering prescribed and validated degree programmes in architecture that the Part 3 is essentially a ‘work based qualification’ with candidates acquiring the necessary knowledge, understanding, skills and judgment in architectural practice to sit the Part 3 Examination through employment. This approach highlights the importance of candidates acquiring a wide range of high quality professional experience.

To support candidates towards the Part 3 Examination the five Higher Education Institutes offering degree programmes in architecture run short Part 3 update courses for candidates.

There are three components in the APEAS Part 3 Examination process:

Experience

  • The Experience component consists of the candidate’s Record of Experience (e.g. a RIBA Professional Experience and Development Record (PEDR)) and an Evaluation of Experience)
  • Record sheets should be signed by the candidate’s mentor and PSA at three monthly intervals. A good record will include significant evaluative comments showing how the candidate has learnt and developed from his/her professional experience
  • The Evaluation of Experience should comprise of an evaluation of the candidate’s professional experience against the five main headings in the ARB/RIBA Part 3 criteria, and should be no more than 2000 words in length. The Evaluation should be prefaced by a brief “Professional CV” (one A4 side)

Experience Based Analysis (previously called Case Study)

  • The Experience Based Analysis should consist of a 6000 word report plus relevant appendices in which the candidate examines either a building project or a theme from contemporary architectural practice
  • The purpose of the Experience Based Analysis is to allow a candidate to demonstrate his/her ability to investigate, analyse and report on an architectural practice subject in depth. In undertaking the Experience Based Analysis the candidate must demonstrate an ability to engage in critical analysis in which he/she develops arguments based as far as possible on sound evidence. These arguments, in turn, should allow the candidate to develop meaningful conclusions and recommendations in his/her Experience Based Analysis report
  • It should be noted that a simple diary of a job does not satisfy the requirement to undertake critical analysis

Practice Paper

  • The Practice Paper component of the APEAS Examination process consists of candidates undertaking a two-day, in-office examination covering many aspects of the ARB/RIBA Part 3 criteria. The paper comprises a series of situation-based questions relating to a written scenario
  • The examination is conducted in the candidate’s office as it represents the normal environment in which candidates will practise
  • The Examination Committee maps the Practice Paper questions against the ARB/RIBA criteria at Part 3 to ensure there is a broad coverage of the criteria

More details of the three Examination components can be found in the Guide for Candidates

RIBA has provided a lot of helpful information and guidance on professional experience in their Guide to Professional Experience for Professional Studies Advisors on the PEDR website (www.pedr.co.uk). In this section you will find an electronic template for completing your comments. You may be interested to note that the Scottish PSAs have agreed that if a candidate fails to submit their record sheets within the appropriate timescale (2 months beyond the date for completion of the 3-month period) then the PSA will sign and date their comments sheet but will record no comments on the sheet. You may wish to speak to your PSA colleagues about this practice as they may have agreed situations where this rule is not applied (eg where the candidate has completed his/her record sheets in good time but the mentor has been slow to provide comment).

A RIBA Certificate of Professional Experience may be used by candidates who have substantial architectural practice professional experience as an alternative to completing Professional Experience and Development Record (PEDR) sheets. More information can be found in the Guide for Candidates

APEAS maintains a pool of practice examiners. To become a practice examiner a person must be:

  • a registered architect who is an experienced and active practitioner, and
  • normally has a minimum of seven years appropriate post-registration architectural experience

A person applying to be a practice examiner is interviewed by the Convenor of the Examination Committee and Senior Examiner of the Practice Examiners Committee. The person applying has to satisfy the Convenor and Senior Examiner that they have a wide enough range of architectural practice experience and a genuine commitment to the Part 3 Examination process before they are allowed entry into the pool of examiners.

The assessment process operates as follows:

  • Examiners undertake initial marking of documentary component submissions independently
  • After practice examiners have submitted their initial grades to the Chief Executive Officer each examiner pairing should cross mark any documentary submission component graded as failed or where there are doubts about the component being awarded a pass
  • At the Oral Examinations examiners will interview each candidate whose documentary submission they have marked. It is important to note that practice examiners can moderate any of their initial grades up or down based on the performance of the candidates at oral interview

Following the Oral Examinations practice examiners will have a final opportunity to moderate their grades at the second Practice Examiners Committee meeting following feedback from all examiners on the reasons they have awarded failed grades. Once this process is complete the results go forward to an Examination Committee meeting for final approval

APEAS uses grades in its Examination process for internal assessment and quality assurance purposes only. Candidates are not informed of their grades, but simply whether they have passed or failed the Part 3 Examination. The internal grades provide a vehicle by which a pair of examiners can judge whether each of their candidates passes or fails the Part 3 Examination and is, therefore, fit to practice as an architect.

A candidate must pass all three components of the Part 3 Examination.

Yes.  A copy of the APEAS Appeals Procedure may be found on the APEAS website.

Yes.  Further information can be found within the Examination Regulations on the APEAS website.

The published timetable is that candidates will be notified within one week of the Examination Committee meeting held at the Oral Examinations.  However, APEAS endeavours to publish results on their website within 24 hours and to post confirmation to candidates of results within 48 hours of the end of the Oral Examinations.

Only failed candidates receive feedback.

For each failed candidate practice examiners feedback verbally to PSAs before the end of the Oral Examinations explaining the reasons the candidate(s) failed a component(s) of the Part 3 Examination. Following the conclusion of the Oral Examinations PSAs will communicate with each of their failed candidates outlining, on the basis of the information provided by the practice examiners, what the candidate has to do to improve his/her performance sufficiently to pass the Part 3 Examination.

APEAS employs external examiners to ensure that rigorous quality assurance standards and arrangements are applied to its Part 3 Examination process. External examiners are not there to examine candidates, but rather to examine the APEAS Part 3 Examination process.

In order to fulfil their role and responsibilities external examiners will undertake a range of duties which include the following:

  • Review the draft written Practice Paper and give comment
  • Review a sample of candidate documentary submissions, prior to the Oral Examinations, and report on whether the assessment is, in their opinion, set at an appropriate level in relation to the ARB/RIBA Part 3 criteria
  • Observe a range of oral examinations, including the deliberations on a candidate’s performance after he/she has left the room, and feedback views on how well oral examinations have been conducted
  • Prepare a formal written report for an APEAS Board meeting following the Oral Examinations

It is important to emphasise that the external examiners also act as consultants in the development of the Examination process.

Candidates with a medical condition, and/or a specific learning difficulty, such as dyslexia, are invited to inform APEAS on registration.  The CEO will contact the candidate to discuss appropriate arrangements for sitting the Part 3 Examination.  APEAS will also seek permission from the candidate to notify their examiners where appropriate.

A candidate who provides evidence of dyslexia or other specific learning difficult can be granted up to one additional day to sit the Practice Paper.

It is important to note that the APEAS Part 3 Examination in Professional Practice and Management is a United Kingdom based examination and, as such, will be examined in English. The nature of the written and oral responses a candidate will have to give throughout the Part 3 Examination process will involve him/her at times in communicating complex information, understanding and argument about architectural practice.  It is    important that a candidate possess the necessary listening, reading, writing and speaking skills in English to be able to do this. APEAS strongly recommends that a candidate does not undertake the Part 3 Examination unless he/she has an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic score of at least 6 in each of the four individual components of Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking, and an overall band score of 6.5 (or the equivalent under any other English language testing system).

It is important to emphasise that PSAs are not employed by APEAS but are employed by the five Higher Education Institutions in Scotland offering prescribed and validated degree programmes in architecture. As such PSAs are completely independent of APEAS.

Having indicated that PSAs are totally independent of APEAS it should also be noted that since APEAS’s inception in 2003 the Scottish PSAs and APEAS have enjoyed a very productive and professional relationship.

During each year you can normally expect to be involved in the following activities:

  • Be a member of the Examination Committee (this normally involves four meetings a year including the meeting at the Oral Examinations)
  • Be a member of the Practice Examiners Committee (this involves two meetings both of which take place at the Oral Examinations)
  • Attend the APEAS annual Seminar
  • Attend the two days of the Oral Examinations

In addition, there are the myriad of duties involved in supporting your candidates through the Part 3 Examination process which include providing candidates with information and advice, signing candidate PEDR record sheets, reading candidate Experience Based Analysis synopses, organising and contributing to update courses and writing to failed candidates following the Oral Examinations.

Yes. The first Examination Committee meeting following the Oral Examinations is mainly focussed on a review of the previous year’s Part 3 Examination process and PSAs can give their views at that meeting.

APEAS, in cooperation with PSAs, has developed a checklist and procedure for dealing with candidates with these circumstances.

APEAS advises candidates to complete the following two stages with regard to the Experience Based Analysis;

Stage 1:     Topic – Candidate submits a brief statement to his/her PSA suggesting a topic for his/her Experience Based Analysis together with a working title.

Stage 2:     Synopsis – Candidate submits a synopsis/outline to his/her PSA indicating the form and scope of the proposed Experience Based Analysis and confirming its title.

Experience has shown that candidates who complete these two stages tend to perform better in the Experience Based Analysis component.

APEAS values the independent role that PSAs play in supporting candidates through the Part 3 Examination process and wish to support this role as appropriate.

Sometimes

APEAS will pay PSAs’ travel expenses to Examination Committee meetings, to the APEAS Seminar and to the Oral Examinations. APEAS is, however, unable to pay PSA hotel accommodation expenses at the Oral Examinations (these expenses are normally paid by the PSA’s university).

Please contact APEAS