Critical Analysis Advice
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 Guide for requirements with regards to that particular Route.
What is the Critical Analysis?
The Critical Analysis is a particularly important component of the Final Assessment, both in terms of your documentation and interview.
The Critical Analysis makes up for one-third of your 60-minute Final Assessment interview: you will start by giving a 10-minute presentation on your Critical Analysis, and this will be followed by 10 minutes of related questioning.
It is an opportunity for you to demonstrate to assessors your ability to apply the competencies of your APC in your day to day work.
At its simplest, the Critical Analysis is a detailed analysis of a project, or projects, that you have been involved with during the course of your APC, the conclusion of which will include a critical appraisal of the project together with an outline of the lessons you learned from your involvement.
Points to Consider
Assessors often complain that Critical Analysis are often bland narratives — detailing the minutiae of the project but providing very little information regarding the candidate’s input.
The assessors will be assessing you — not the project — and it is important to keep this in mind when approaching the Critical Analysis.
Before you begin to write, think about the objective of the Final Assessment: you want to demonstrate beyond doubt that you have the necessary competencies to practice as a Chartered Surveyor. How are you best going to show this through the medium of your Critical Analysis?
Choice of topic is important — you do not have to select a large or expensive project, especially if your role has been small or peripheral. It is your involvement or role in the team that you should outline, analyse and provide comment on.
The assessors recognise that the project may have been running for some time and you may not have been involved from the start, or your involvement may not have been continuous, or the project may still be ongoing.
The Critical Analysis must give the assessors detailed evidence of your ability to work competently and your ability to apply the core knowledge relevant to your division/specialism. This includes the core and optional competencies and aspects of the mandatory competencies.
You need to not only understand the project itself but the processes you followed and the rationale behind your decision-making. The assessors will ask you about what you did — and why, and possibly why you did not take an alternative approach. They will also ask you about your understanding of wider issues surrounding the project.
Headings to Include
You will need to include the following headings:
You are advised to choose issues that presented a genuine challenge — not an everyday standard occurrence that requires no real problem-solving ability. There is no minimum or maximum in terms of the number of key issues. However, if you select too many issues you will merely skim the surface instead of providing a detailed analysis. Be selective. Think about the depth of competencies involved — they should be Level 3. You may have come across one issue so large that it can form the basis of your Critical Analysis. On the other hand, it may be an issue common across a number of projects.
Options/Reasons for rejection of certain options
Before proposing a solution, you need to consider all of the options, thus demonstrating your ability to think logically and laterally. You must also demonstrate that you have genuinely considered the options over and above your preferred solution, and give reasons why some solutions may not be feasible. Do not fall into the trap of going down one route only. You need to look at an alternative course of action to cover the key issues in your project. Give reasons for rejecting those options not selected.
Your proposed solution to the problem(s) and reasons supporting the choice
You must give a detailed account of the reasons supporting your adopted course of action. Relate your reasons to the core and/or optional competencies. Try to widen your thought processes to think about all aspects that can support your decision: customer care, financial, technical, professional, rules of conduct, ethics and conflicts of interest. You do not have to look at each of these if they did not form part of your decision.
A critical appraisal of the outcome and reflective analysis of the experience gained
Finally, and most importantly, your conclusion must include a critical appraisal of the outcomes, together with your own thoughts and feelings on what you have learned from the experience. This part of your report can make up to a quarter to a third of the total number of words. The critical appraisal is about being introspective. You need to look at the project, consider what has gone well — and identify what did not go well. That way you can plan how you might improve the next time you carry out a similar task. Next stand back from the project and reflect on what you have learned. The assessors will use your Critical Analysis as a starting point to assess your knowledge of the profession, by probing both your understanding of the direct issues raised within your Critical Analysis and those of wider importance to the Chartered Surveyor. Start these processes while you are still writing your Critical Analysis so you are well prepared for the interview. Focus on matters that cross the whole project. Do not try to match every experience to every individual competency.
Points to watch
As with the other Final Assessment documentation, it is expected that the Critical Analysis demonstrates your written communication abilities and professionalism. Make sure that you get others to read over your Critical Analysis for possible typos and grammar — and to ensure that it makes sense and is clear in its execution.
You must ensure you get your employer’s consent to disclose sensitive details. If you cannot get permission, you may disguise facts that might otherwise make the project identifiable.
Extracts from Acts, case law and other sources should not be quoted at length but essential references must be given.
Total word count
You must adhere to the word count (3,000 words excluding appendices) and state it at the end of your Critical Analysis. You can include notes on what you have included in the count.
Photographs and plans
Include photographs and plans (no larger than A4 size when folded)
Signed and dated
Be signed and dated by you and certified by your supervisor and counsellor.
Finally above all your Critical Analysis must reflect:
Your written and graphic communication
Professional standards of organisation and presentation
Analysis, reflective thought and problem solving
Learning from experience gained.