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Critical Analysis

All routes — except for the Senior Professional Route — require the submission of the Critical Analysis for Final Assessment interview. Please refer to the Senior Professional Route Guidance for Applicants for requirements with regard to that particular route.

The Critical Analysis is a written report — a detailed analysis of a project or projects with which you have been involved during your training period.

It is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to apply business, interpersonal and technical competencies in the course of your work (i.e., Mandatory, Core and Optional competencies, as detailed in the three APC guides)

You must demonstrate an ability to act and think independently and competently (Level 2 and Level 3 competencies as detailed in the three APC guides).

The Critical Analysis is an opportunity for you to showcase your involvement in a project. It is not meant to be a narrative of the project itself. Candidates must demonstrate to the assessors — who will read the document and interview you on it — what you did, decisions you made, issues you took into consideration and the lessons that you ultimately learned.

Project Choice

Choice of topic is extremely important.

Candidates may choose one project or projects that you have been involved in that highlights an issue or aspect of work common across projects.

Your involvement in the project can vary — you do not have to project manage the project but you must be able to demonstrate a reasonable involvement in the project. Assessors are looking to assess your role in the project or role in a team — they are not seeking to assess the project itself.

The project can also vary in terms of size, costings and duration and completion stage

Where possible, choose a project that is interesting where you had to consider real issues. Ensure that the project presented real challenges and issues and make sure to link the competencies attainment to the project issues.


The Critical Analysis word count is 3,000 words, excluding appendices. It should include photos and plans (no larger than A4) and it must be word processed.

It is important to ensure that you stick to the word count.

Your introduction should be brief — do not repeat information that you have already provided elsewhere in the documentation, such as your employment/company details. Keep it to approx. 300 words and then directly address the issues to be covered.

Your Critical Analysis must include the following headings:

  • Key issues — Be careful when selecting the key issues — ensure you do not select too many issues and run the risk of simply skimming the surface instead of providing detailed analysis. Ensure that you link your competencies to the issues. One or two issues on a project may be large enough to form the basis of a good critical analysis — alternatively you could deal with one/two issues across a number of projects.

  • Options/Reasons for rejection of certain options — You must deal with all options considered, showing your ability to think laterally and logically. These should be genuine options and include those that were chosen/ rejected and full reasoning behind same. You need to be able to show that you considered alternative courses of action.

  • The candidate’s proposed solution and reasons supporting their choice — The candidate must be able to present a detailed account of the reasons supporting a course of action — relate reasons to the competencies

  • A critical appraisal of the outcome and reflective analysis of experience gained — The Critical Analysis is about being retrospective; identify what went well and what did not go well. Reflect on what you learned from the project — how can this be of benefit to you in your profession and with regard to future challenges? These must be real lessons that you learned — what would you do different with the benefit of hindsight?


  • The Critical Analysis is an opportunity for you to create a positive first impression; it offers you the perfect platform to impress the assessment panel.

  • The Critical Analysis must reflect your written and graphic communication skills. The Critical Analysis is not prepared under exam conditions so it must be of adequate professional standard.

  • The Critical Analysis in essence must include analysis, reflective thought and problem solving and must demonstrate learning from experience gained.