top of page

#059 5 tools which helped me pass my APC! 🛠️

Hello folks 👋

In this post, I’m going to review some of the tools that I used to help me pass my APC. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and other things may work for you.


I bought my iPad in 2018 in order to consolidate all my revision information in one place. It was portable enough that I could revise on the train back when we used to commute five days a week (yes I know - how the hell did we manage that).

I’m a sucker for technology and I saw this one video from a Cambridge medical student who used an iPad as a revision aid:

Having an iPad is not at all necessary, but if you can afford it I would recommend it. It doesn’t need to be an iPad, if you are in the Android ecosystem, Samsung tablets can be used too. Pair the tablet with an app like Notability and you have an all-encompassing revision tool. You can download all the RICS black books, keep it all in one place, highlight, annotate and analyse.

Having an iPad reduced the friction to revise and study. Can you imagine lugging around folders full of notes? Someone might say:

“What’s the point of having an iPad if you have a laptop?”

The answer is two-fold:

  1. The iPads can be treated like a traditional analogue system i.e. you can use the pen and just write out your notes. You can do a hybrid approach and type and write!

  2. Portability - At the time of purchase my main computer was a 15” laptop which wasn’t as portable as the iPad. In 2022, I went on 3 trips abroad and the portability of the iPad ensured I could always make time to study.

Apps - Brainscape / Anki / Notion / Notability

I used several apps to help me with my revision.

Flashcards - Brainscape / Anki

The best way to revise is to test yourself, again and again. There are simple ways of doing this like writing your questions on an excel document in Column A, and in Column B write out all your answers. You would then hide Column B and test your ability to recall answers - either by orating the answer out loud or writing them out on your iPad/paper/word document.

If you don’t want to deal with that and prefer a more sophisticated system, consider looking at apps like Brainscape or Anki. Anki has a free version, with a paid mobile app. Brainscape has a limited free version.

I did a mixture of using google sheets and using an app like Brainscape. Brainscape is a paid app - and I used it in the last 6 months of my revision. In the months before, I had different excel documents for the different APC competencies and I would test myself periodically.


Notion is like an online repository of information - information that you store and create. I use it to manage my life in the form of APC revision, bookmarking interesting articles, drafting articles, and also work-related activities.

I would highly recommend it for APC candidates. You can basically use it to create your own personal APC revision guide. There is a mobile app so you can always go through your information wherever you are.


I’ve mentioned it before in my APC posts, but I think Construction Technology is the most challenging of all the competencies. In order to help me improve my Construction Technology I used the following books as reference guides:

  1. Dictionary of Building: As a non-cognate entrant to the construction industry, it took me a while to adjust and understand some of the jargon used. This dictionary helped bridge the gap.

  2. Barry’s Introduction to the Construction of Buildings: This is another book which helped me understand basic construction processes.

  3. Barry’s Advanced Construction of Buildings: This is an advanced version of the above and contains more complex forms of construction.

  4. Chudley and Greeno's Building Construction Handbook: This is another good book to help you understand construction technology.

*Please note the above contains affiliate links to amazon!


I used Youtube for two purposes:

  1. Revising construction tech. These days you can find most construction activities available online. If you’ve never seen how things are actually built, get on youtube to get an idea!

  2. Watch APC revision videos. Check this useful channel out RICS APC GUIDE.

RICS Black Book

The RICS Black Book is a repository of information that guides quantity surveyors at all stages of the project lifecycle. The advice contained within these documents is deemed ‘best practice’ and your knowledge should align with what is written in these documents.

A key thing to remember is some situations will not be covered. For example, the Cost Reporting guidance note may have specific templates, that does not mean you have to use those templates in the course of work. Your client/firm may have their own templates, so it’s important to discern what are the key requirements of a cost report from the guidance note, you can then add anything else you need on top!


That’s it for this post folks, if you have any questions please drop me a message.

91 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page