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Examiner FAQs

It is always important to remember what you are trying to achieve when you examine a candidate.

The APEAS Part 3 Examination process involves each candidate in generating sufficient written and oral evidence to support their case for satisfying the ARB/RIBA Part 3 criteria. Your partner examiner and you are required to judge whether this evidence is sufficient or not, and the candidate is, therefore, competent and safe to register and practice as an architect.


APEAS principal training and development for practice examiners takes place at its half-day seminar which is normally held in October/November each year. Other training and development is provided when required.

At the seminar, examiners receive information on any new developments that will impact on the Part 3 Examination process (e.g. new ARB/RIBA Part 3 criteria, changes to professional experience eligibility criteria).

The seminar agenda includes an item(s) that focuses on ways that the APEAS Part 3 Examination process can be improved. This item(s) is normally based on feedback received from external examiners, candidates, and examiners and may be led by a professional trainer. Recent examples of this includes:

effective interviewing and meaningful professional dialogue at the Oral Examinations,
examining candidates with dyslexia
unconscious bias
online delivery of the Part 3 Examination.

It’s is difficult to give an exact figure for the time you will have to set aside to be a Part 3 examiner. Clearly there will be the two days of the Oral Examinations. There will be the time you spend reading and reflecting on candidate documentary submissions and the time you use consulting with your partner examiner. Examiners have reported that they have spent anywhere between 35 and 50 hours a year assessing Part 3 candidates. It is understood that RIBA/RIAS allow their members to count up to a third of the 35 hours CPD requirement for acting as a Part 3 examiner.


All APEAS examiners work in pairs. New examiners are always paired with an experienced examiner.

The Chief Executive Officer will write to all examiners in the APEAS practice examiner pool, to ask if they are available to examine that year. Following Examination Committee agreement on the pairing of practice examiners for the year the CEO will write to practice examiners advising who is examining that year, examiner pairings and who is on the reserve list of examiners.

Yes – access here: Examination Regulations


The APEAS Code of Conduct for candidates, examiners, APEAS Board members and APEAS staff is included in the Examination Regulations

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


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 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 and should, therefore, always be marked a fail.
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 practice.
More details of the three Examination components can be found in the Guide for Candidates

The ARB/RIBA Part 3 criteria come under the following five headings:

Clients, users and delivery of services
Legal Framework and processes
Practice and management
Building procurement
Under each of these headings is a criterion which is broken down into three separate sentences describing the competence or understanding, skills or abilities and knowledge or understanding the candidate requires too satisfy the criterion. In addition, under each heading there are numbered statements which are designed to give candidates and examiners an idea of the types of evidence that candidates will be required to produce to satisfy the criterion. It is important to note that candidates do not have to produce evidence for all the numbered statements, but must produce sufficient evidence to satisfy examiners that they meet the requirements of each of the criterion.

For more details about the ARB/RIBA Part 3 criteria see Professional Criteria

The professional experience eligibility criteria are embodied in ARB’s Rule 13 (b) which reads as follows:

‘the candidate has recently completed a minimum of 24 months’ practical experience under the direct supervision of a professional working in the construction industry which should include at least 12 months working in the EEA, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, under the direct supervision of an architect.’

Candidates must have a minimum of 24 months of professional experience. 12-months of the 24 months of professional experience must have been gathered within 2 years of the candidate submitting his/her documentary submission to APEAS.

It should also be noted that 12 months of a candidate’s professional experience can be undertaken under the supervision of a non-architect although the mentor must be a professional working in the construction industry.

While the majority of APEAS candidates continue to follow a traditional professional experience route (namely a minimum of two years’ experience in an architect’s office in the UK) some candidates do follow non-traditional architectural professional experience routes which present some interesting challenges for APEAS. For more details of the way in which APEAS deals with these diverse professional experience routes see Procedure and Checklist for non direct supervision

The assessment process operates as follows:

undertake initial marking of your documentary component submissions on your own and arrive at an initial set of grades for the components you have marked.
After you have submitted your initial grades to the Chief Executive Officer you and your paired examiner 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 you will interview each candidate whose documentary submission your paired examiner and you have marked. It is important to note that you can moderate any of your initial grades up or down based on the performance of your candidates at oral interview.
Following the Oral Examinations your paired examiner and you will have a final opportunity to moderate your grades at the second Practice Examiners Committee meeting following feedback from all pairs of 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 your examining partner and you judge whether a candidate passes or fails the Part 3 Examination and is, therefore, fit to practice as an architect.


Yes – if the candidate has given permission.

The CEO will provide you with relevant information prior to you marking candidates’ documentary submissions As a reminder this information will be re-issued to you on the first morning of the Oral Examinations. You are asked to keep this information in strictest confidence.

The main purpose of this information is to advise you that a candidate has a condition which may have adversely affected their performance in the examination process or may impact on their performance during oral interview.

A candidate for whom English is an additional language should not be penalised if their use of English is not entirely precise.

A candidate who provides evidence of dyslexia is granted an additional day to sit the Practice Paper

At Oral Examination a dyslexic candidate may display a range of traits and behaviours which include the following (this list is not exhaustive):

Can be easily distracted or annoyed by noise or other distractions
Mispronounces words without realising he/she is doing it
May have difficulty in recalling peoples’ names
May have difficulty conveying thoughts or ideas, pauses frequently, speaks in halting phrases or does not complete sentences
May have a poor recall of a conversation
Frequently has to re-read text to comprehend it
Can be easily stressed under pressure situations
Tends to stick to things they know, has a fear of new tasks that take them out of their comfort zone
The key quality when dealing with dyslexic candidates at oral interview is patience. Try to make them as relaxed as possible. Give them time to answer questions, and do not be overly critical if they mispronounce certain words. Avoid long questions as the candidate may have poor short term memory, and may forget what you said at the start of your question by the time you have reached the end of it.

For other learning difficulties the CEO will advise you of any steps you should take when assessing a candidate’s documentary submission and during oral interview to ensure that the candidate has the best opportunity possible to perform well during oral examination.


It is sometimes useful to read the Evaluation of Experience first to gain an impression of the candidate’s overall professional experience.

New candidates should be interviewed for a minimum of 45 minutes and a maximum of 60 minutes.

Resit candidates should be interviewed for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 60 minutes.

You will be given a number to call at the first meeting of the Practice Examiners Committee for such an eventuality. Facilities staff will arrange for a first-aider to come to your interview room as soon as possible.

Very occasionally during an oral interview a candidate may simply freeze and not be able to speak, or may burst out in tears. When this happens please stop the interview immediately. One examiner should then seek to comfort the candidate as much as they can, while the other should call the APEAS reception to arrange for the candidate’s PSA to come to the room. Where possible examiners should try to arrive at post-Oral grades based on the information they have received up to the point the interview was terminated. However, where it is not possible to provide final grades for the candidate they should inform the CEO of this as soon as possible.

The published timetable is that candidates will be notified within one week of the Examination Committee meeting. 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. Candidates who have failed a component(s) will receive written feedback from their Practice Examiners within three weeks of notification of results. 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.

External examiners are not there to examine candidates, but rather to examine the APEAS Part 3 Examination process. They are deployed to ensure that rigorous quality assurance arrangements and standards are applied to the APEAS Part 3 Examination process and report directly to the APEAS Board.

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 submission, prior to the Oral Examination, 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.

Yes you can.

Following the conclusion of the Oral Examinations the CEO will send you a questionnaire inviting your views on various aspects of the Part 3 Examination process you have just been involved in as an examiner. The CEO analyses questionnaire responses and presents significant findings to the Examination Committee

Examiners also have an opportunity to give their views at Practice Examiners Committee meetings and at the APEAS Seminar.

APEAS pays a fee to practice examiners plus reasonable travel and subsistence expenses. Examiners who set questions for the Practice Paper are paid an additional fee for doing this. The APEAS Board reviews practice examiner fees annually.

For details of current practice examiner fees please contact the CEO

Practice examiner fees are normally paid within eight weeks after the Oral examinations each year.

Fees are normally paid by bank transfer directly into examiners accounts.

Any further questions?

We hope we have answered all your questions already, but if you have any more questions to ask please contact APEAS.

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