An honours degree, a Masters degree, the Part 3 examination - finally an Architect.
Our talented Samantha Murchie becomes LBAs newest architect after passing her professional exams!
Following my Honours and Masters degree at Edinburgh University, completing my Part 3 and becoming an Architect has always been my goal. In order to sit the Part 3 exam, you must have a Part 1 (Honours degree), a Part 2 (Masters degree) and a minimum of 24 months of logged experience in practice. To fulfil the experience required, graduates typically wait 1-2 years following their graduation, prior to embarking upon their Part 3. However, as I had built up experience in practice during my placement year at university and summer placements, I was determined to begin my Part 3 studies as soon as I could.
The Part 3 exam consists of continuous studying over one year – while working full time in practice. Of course, the time associated with juggling the two is very challenging, having to get home from work and begin studying most evenings.
There are 5 key component parts to the RIBA-validated APEAS Part 3 exam:
Record of Experience – detailed log books of practical experience over 24 (minimum) months
Evaluation of Experience & CV – a concise document outline key experience in relation to the professional criteria required
Experience Based Analysis – a thesis analysing a specific architectural topic/project(s) experienced in practice
Written Exam – a 48-hour scenario based exam
Oral Exam – an hour-long interview to assess your knowledge
The notorious 48-hour exam remains a key aspect of the course with many horror stories associated. One week before the exam, a document is released to the candidate detailing a hypothetical architectural practice for which the candidate ‘works’ as an architectural assistant. The exam is office based – I sat the exam in LBA’s private meeting room -, open book and encourages the candidate to communicate with consultants as required – as you would do in practice. The exam consists of 10 lengthy scenario-based questions which largely involve a significant issue that has occurred on a hypothetical project (creating 2 very bad days at the hypothetical office).
Time keeping is essential and the exam has raised concern as many candidates work through the night to complete the exam. I spent 14 hours on the first day and 16 hours on the second day – of solid exam work – and while it was extremely challenging, the rewarding feeling soon took over. It’s then a long wait from November, over Christmas, until February for the oral exam. Prior to the oral exam, the candidates have a chance to review their exam answers and the oral exam provides a chance to show your knowledge and answer any queries from the examiner regarding any of the 5 components listed above. Two days after the oral exam, the results were released on a Friday morning – making for an excellent weekend!
My time at LBA has allowed me to gain experience across all work stages and thus highly develop my professional skills. My Part 3 studies allowed me to develop my understanding of contractual proceedings and apply them in practice, which has been very rewarding.
I couldn’t be happier with the support I’ve had from all of my colleagues at LBA who have helped me to achieve my goals and I can’t wait to see what my future career as an Architect will bring!