The Oral Examination Format

The oral examination is often the most nerve racking and stressful part of the examination. It is the final opportunity for you to demonstrate the appropriate knowledge, skill and judgment expected of a competent Architect.

The interview format allows the professional examiner to view you as a whole person, your communication skills and your ability to think on your feet. The interview allows you to explain inconsistencies and fill in the gaps between the other components of your ‘academic portfolio’ such as the written exam, PEDR and case study.

 Most importantly the interview serves to allow the examiner to test your professional judgment. The examiner can test this by posing hypothetical questions and asking you to reflect on your professional experience.

 The interview format will vary in each institution but in general the areas that will be covered are as follows:

  1. Your professional experience: Looking at your personal statement or Career appraisal in conjunction with the PEDR.
  2. Review of the Case Study
  3. Questions about the written examination scripts
  4. Discussion of topical issues and your future plans.

 Preparing for the Oral Examination

Review Your CV, PEDR and Personal Statement/ Career Appraisal: It is important that you are able to spot any inconsistencies within this work and prepare a convincing explanation for them. You should check your terminology throughout your submission, referring to yourself as an Assistant Architect or a Project Architect demonstrates a lack of understanding of the title and can throw serious doubts about yourself to the examiner. The examiners are likely to ask you questions just outside of your experience in order to test your professional judgment.

 Review Your Written Examination Scripts : It is best to do this a little while after the examination in a calm and measured way. As a result of this review you may find that you reach different conclusions to those you reached in the examination. Do not hesitate to mention these new discoveries in your interview it will demonstrates your professional judgment and ability to reflect. It is also advisable that you review the questions you didn’t attempt in the examination. Utilise your study group and mentors within your office for this review, an experienced Architect or mentor can often shed invaluable experience onto an exam question.

 Review Your Case Study: Have a colleague, friend or someone in your study group read over your case study in order to establish an objective view of your work. Do not be afraid to refine or change your mind about your position after you have reflected on your work - the process is to be an iterative one similar to the process of design.

Topical Issues and Your Plans for the Future: Be aware of recent and topical issues in the profession. Keep up to date by regularly reading industry journals and literature, these will often help your understanding into a situation you may encounter in your office as well as giving ‘best practice’ models. It is also advisable that you prepare for questions such as ‘what do you plan to do after Part 3’. Have a considered answer for this that highlights experience that you are currently lacking and illustrates your goals and ambitions for the future.

 On the day of the examination, remain calm and enjoy the process. Remember the examiners are there to assist you and they will use their ability to put you in the best position for you to demonstrate your knowledge and professional judgment.