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Breaking Down Part 3 Architecture Assessments: Your Guide to Becoming an Architect in the UK

Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Architecture Part 3 Assessment UK RIBA

RIBA Part 3 Architecture Assessment

Part 3 is the final stage in the process of becoming a qualified architect in the UK. It involves a rigorous set of assessments that test an individual's competency as a professional architect, including practical experience, knowledge, and overall readiness. Successfully completing the Part 3 assessments is a requirement to appear in the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and to use the title of "architect". However, it is a challenging stage that requires a strong level of commitment.

Take a look at this blog post for the best books to consider buying to support you with your RIBA Part 3 exams.

For more information on how to qualify as an architect in the UK, please read this blog post. If you are interested in understanding the differences between ARB and RIBA, we recommend checking out this other blog post.

CV & Career Expectations

You will have to submit your CV for review. The examiners will look at whether your experience matches the expected requirements and at how you present in a professional manner.

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Professional Experience Development Record (PEDR)

Any student looking to qualify as an architect will have to regularly update their PEDR.

The PEDR is a document that records your professional experience in architecture. It is used to demonstrate your skills and knowledge to potential employers and to support your application for registration with the ARB.

The PEDR considers the following:

  • Employment History: This section lists your employment positions in architecture. For each position, you will be asked to include the name of the employer, your job title, the dates of employment, and an in-depth description of your duties, including how many hours you have spent in each project.

  • Projects: You will be asked to list the project that you have worked on in architecture. For each project, you will be asked to include the name of the project, the client, the brief, and your role in the project. Again, you will be asked to provide information in depth.

Regardless of your chosen pathway, you will need to complete a PEDR. This means that for the whole duration of your course, up until you qualify as an architect, you must keep a record of your work.

Written Assessment

The written assessment will take place over three days, and will be conducted under exam conditions. The assessment is open book and consists of 10 questions in total, with five questions being sent to you on the first day and five on the second day. At the end of each day, you must submit a document with all your notes and all the work completed so far.

On the final day, you will review your answers to ensure they are grammatically correct, well-punctuated, and well-written. However, you won't be allowed to change your answers, you are just given an extra day to format your responses appropriately and ensure they are in line with the submission requirements for Part 3.

Once you have reviewed and formatted your answers, you will be ready to submit them at the end of the third day.

Case Study submission

This project is the most important one you will work on during Parts 1 to 3. You will have to write a 10,000-word summary of a live or completed project that you were involved in. Ideally, the examiners want to see a case study that showcases your experience in as many RIBA work stages as possible. You can read more about the RIBA Plan of Work here. This will help you demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of those work stages and your ability to apply your Part 3 knowledge in practice.

In the case study, you will also need to identify areas for improvement, as well as issues, mistakes, and problems that arose during the project, and explain how to overcome them in a professional manner. You should also demonstrate an understanding of tendering processes, procurement stages, and contractual agreements between all parties involved.

For that, you will need to identify all of the parties involved and their roles, explain what involvement you had, your contributions, and what you learned from the case study. You will also be asked about your case study during your interview (see below).

In-Person Interview

The in-person interview consists of a 45-minute conversation with two experienced RIBA members. The interview will cover your professional experience, knowledge, and career history, and may cover relevant part of your PEDR and other experiences. The purpose of the interview is to assess your overall competence as a professional architect, including your abilities in different areas, how you conduct yourself, and how you present information.

The interviewers may ask you off-the-cuff questions and questions they think you may not know the answer to, in order to test your ability to respond in a professional manner. During the final stage of the interview, you will be asked about any exam questions the interviewers want you to develop on. You may need to go away and research topics more thoroughly after the exam, but it's essential that you come to the interview well-prepared. The reason behind this is to identify whether you have continued researching the topic and sought input from other professionals.

It is important to note that the purpose of the exam and interview is not for you to show that you know everything about architecture, but rather to gauge your overall readiness as a professional architect.

Final Comments

The Part 3 assessment is an essential stage in the process of becoming a qualified architect in the UK. It represents the culmination of years of study, training, and practical experience, and it tests an individual's readiness to enter the profession as a qualified architect.

While it is a difficult and demanding stage, it's also a critical step that can open up new opportunities and lead to a rewarding career. By understanding the requirements and expectations of your Part 3 assessment, as well as the broader context of the profession, individuals can approach this stage with confidence and prepare themselves for success. We hope that our blog posts have provided you with helpful information and guidance on this journey. If you have any further questions or would like to learn more, please don't hesitate to reach out to us or explore our other blog posts.

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