A fresh approach

The inspiration for this website came from hours and hours of personal APC coaching, during which I kept giving different candidates, the same advice, again, and again, and again. I thought, why not create a place where all this information could be accessed by any interested candidate?

Although each candidate is unique, there is a finite amount of professional knowledge that we look for when assessing, which inevitably leads to the same questions being asked. A high proportion of the final assessment interview is predictable.

I was also frustrated by seeing the question 'lists' that are circulated, where highly-likely questions appear adjacent to extremely unlikely questions. I felt there had to be a better way.

APCanswers.co.uk brings together that repeated and predictable learning into a one-stop shop for candidates, to learn at their own pace, in their own place.

Is it for me?

APCanswers.co.uk covers all APC entry routes for the Commercial Real Estate and Valuation pathways.

Much of the content will be useful for Property finance and investment, and Corporate Real Estate candidates too.

I have also added a Supervisor, Counsellor, Assessor option for qualified surveyors who are training APC candidates.

The science of spaced repetition

The rationale for the core content of this website, the Q&A, is a powerful learning technique, known as spaced repetition.

Rightly, or wrongly, passing the APC requires learning and, more importantly, being able to recall, under pressure, lots of knowledge.

Subscription options

Website £20/month

Website-only subscription is £20/month, purchasable in three month blocks.

See also Personal coaching below.

Personal coaching £125/hour

Personal coaching is £125/hour. VAT is not payable.

Personal coaching candidates that have at least one hour per month receive website access for free.

I'm not a believe in prescriptive approaches to studying for the APC, as every candidate's personal and financial situation is different.

Ideally, this e-learning platform should be used alongside some personal coaching, as there are many situations that are unique to each candidate.

Submission review

Submission review is a service that can include:

  • reading your proposed submission
  • checking for validity (competencies, levels, CPD etc.)
  • commenting on suitability of experience examples and case study, with suggestions for improvements
  • grammatical and typographical errors
  • providing specific likely questions, not covered on the website

There is no fixed charge for a Submission review, rather I discuss the brief with the client and try to adjust to their budget.

If your budget is unlimited, expect at least three hours for a full review, from scratch. This will be cheaper if I have been coaching you, as I will already have provided advice on examples and probably have proof-read it already.


Mocks are essential for ultimate preparation. They familiarise the candidate with structure, timing and feel of the final assessment process.

Ideally, you would have three experienced assessors but that would be costly (unless you have this in house). A suitable alternative is one or two assessors, but make sure that you are going to get 30 minutes of technical questioning on your case study, not 15 minutes of technicals and 15 minutes of mandatories because that is not what happens in the real thing!

Q&A sessions

Q&A sessions are like mini mocks but are structured around your competencies. A typical Q&A might last an hour, and include two or three technicals plus several mandatories with a heavy emphasis on Ethics. These are ideal in the run-up to a mock or as further practice once you've had a mock and need to brush up on some areas. These are also charged on an hourly rate.

Supervisor role

Your Supervisor has to sign off that your work is your own. I do not see how an external advisor can do this, it should be a senior colleague. I am, however, prepared to take on the responsibility for 'signing off' your APC preparation to a line manager, with them signing off your professional work. This is a free service for candidates on an APCanswers structured training programme.

Structured training programme

Structured training is engaging APCanswers to be responsible for setting your APC revision programme, including CPD.

Again, this can be flexibly-priced, to suit budget and proposals are modular allowing candidates and their employer to pick and mix between components e.g. monthly or quarterly calls, submission reviews, mocks Q&As etc.

About the creator

APCanswers was created by Ralph Charlwood, FRICS.

Ralph has been assessing since 2016 and has undertaken over 250 final APC interviews for the RICS. Ralph is a panel Chair, as well as a Chair/Assessor on two-person panels.

In addition to assessing candidates, Ralph is also a member of the RICS APC appeals panel, helping decide candidate appeals as well as a panel Auditor.

With thirty years of experience in the real estate industry, Ralph brings hands-on experience on experience examples and case studies.

Ralph has assessed Commercial Real Estate, Valuation, Property finance and investment, Corporate real estate and Planning and development candidates.

Ralph's primary work focus is APCanswers and associated APC coaching. He has coached many successful candidates.

About the creator - Ralph Charlwood FRICS

My name is Ralph Charlwood. I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in 1993 and was elected a Fellow in 2014.

I am an RICS APC Chair, assessor, member of the Appeals Panel and Panel Auditor. I started assessing in May 2015 and, since then, I have assessed, Chaired (and Chair-assessed on two-person panels) over 250 candidates. In addition to formal RICS assessments, I have coached, including mock interviewed, and reviewed final submission documents for dozens of candidates.

In addition to my assessing and coaching, I have written a number of articles on the APC for the Estate Gazette - below.


The APC has only significantly changed three times since I started assessing. The first change was the introduction of the new pathways and competencies in 2018. The second was the decision that panels would no longer know whether a candidate had been previously referred. The final one was the 2020 change to online ‘virtual’ assessments. Other than that, all of my APC experience has been in the current format.

I bring deep real estate practitioner experience to the assessing process. I did my real estate degree at what is now DeMontfort University (I preferred it as Leicester Polytechnic). I had summer jobs at both the City of London VOA and JLL and was on the JLL graduate scheme between 1991 and 1993, when I qualified. Whilst at JLL (1991-2000), I gained experience in:

  • Rating (Local taxation)
  • Valuation
  • Property management
  • West End Leasing (Leasing/letting)
  • Fund Management (Purchase and sale, Investment management, Due diligence)
  • National Investment Agency (Purchase and Sale, Due diligence)
I left JLL, initially on secondment and then permanently, joining Regus plc (now part of IWG plc). I dealt with special projects, starting with the IPO prospectus but moving onto ideas such as self-build, before the dot com bubble burst, at which point I co-ordinated lease renegotiations globally, excluding UK and USA (Corporate real estate competency).

After completing my MBA, I joined an American Bank, GMAC Commercial Mortgage. In 2007, I left GMACCM to join the two founders of Longbow Real Estate Capital LLP, which is now ICG Real Estate, part of ICG plc. Whilst there I was an Equity Partner, Director responsible for sourcing, appraising, structuring, closing and managing high-yield transactions in the UK. We were ‘hands on’ lenders and in that role, I appraised business plans, including leasing and other asset management initiatives. I was a director of two equity investment companies.

My banking experience covered a broad range of relevant competencies, including:

  • Property finance
  • Investment management
  • Valuation
  • Inspection
  • Landlord and tenant
  • Financial modelling
  • Corporate real estate
  • Leasing/letting
  • Purchase and sale
  • Accounting principles and procedures
  • Communication and negotiation
Through my rich, and varied, career I have dealt with a wide range of properties and asset classes covering the mainstream (offices, retail, shopping centres and logistics) and the more specialised e.g. caravan parks, airports, wind tunnels.

I am also a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors and I co-ordinate the Livery APC Masterclasses.