Chartered Civil Engineer Tim Hou shares his advice to feel prepared and confident when sitting your review.
Becoming a professionally registered member of the ICE is a key milestone to any civil engineer or technician, and achieving this is deliberately no mean feat.
Becoming an Engineering Technician (EngTech MICE), Incorporated Engineer (IEng MICE) or Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng MICE) with the ICE is a great achievement and gives you international recognition for your knowledge, ability and skills.
Having recently gone through the process, I have compiled five tips that helped me to feel confident when sitting my review and gave me the best shot at being successful.
1. Use your support network
One of the best resources that you can use when working towards a professional qualification is friends and colleagues.
Those who have already gone through the process will be able to answer any questions that you might have and offer some of their top tips on how they succeeded.
Also, finding people who are at the same stage of the process as you will help you to prepare together, and help to develop understanding.
From experience, having a buddy also going through the process helped to keep me sane!
You’ll find that the majority will be more than happy to share knowledge and resources and offer to help you prepare, so don't be afraid to ask!
2. Try to not compare yourself to others
While a support network can be invaluable, it’s also important not to compare yourself to others and what they’ve done.
The professional review interview and the process are personal to the individual, and so what one person may have written or done, might be completely different for you.
Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to write your report or to answer the interview questions - use your own judgement and have the confidence to make your own choices.
3. Give yourself enough time
One of the benefits of the review dates becoming more frequent, is that there’s no longer as much pressure on hitting a key date.
In my opinion, it’s always better to push for a slightly later interview date and make sure that you’re able to produce a good standard than rush into something and sacrifice quality.
Look at the rough date that you’re looking to sit and then work back from there with a timeline of how long you think it will take to prepare each of the steps.
You’ll be surprised at how much time you want to give yourself!
The other benefit of doing this is that it ensures that the process doesn't take over your life.
It's important to also look after your mental health and by giving yourself enough time this reduces the impact it may have.
4. Don't try and know everything
Remember that to attain a professional qualification, you don't need to know everything.
You need to be able to demonstrate your competence to the required standard - and that might mean that there are a few questions that you might not be 100% sure about.
This is perfectly normal and shouldn’t dishearten you. Instead, you should be able to highlight the extent of your knowledge and experience and demonstrate how you’d go about finding the answer.
Before deciding to sit my review, I was worried that there were lots of things that I didn't know.
But after a while, I focused more on what I did know, and it gave me the confidence in my own ability and my knowledge.
5. Practice practice practice!
As the old adage goes, practice, practice, practice!
By doing things such as communication task examples, and mock reviews, I found that this was the best way to prepare yourself for the actual thing.
I knew what to expect and I was able to focus more on what I wanted to say rather than worrying about the format.
Also, practicing was a great way to highlight the gaps in my knowledge and then I had time to go away and plug them.
The more I practiced my presentation, the more natural it became and the better my timings were.
The more mock interviews I had, the more common themes came up and I had answers ready to go.
I also ensured that I knew my submission back to front, going all the way from my CV to my appendices, so I was able to answer anything that might come up.
There are plenty of resources available
Hopefully these tips have been helpful, and you have a clearer picture of how to succeed when sitting your review.
Remember that the ICE also has a number of resources that you can use in the form of lectures, courses and documents that can be useful in your preparation, and often your companies will also have resources that can be used.
Additionally, there’s a new ICE-supported workshop series designed to give graduate members practical examples and expert feedback as they work towards becoming professionally qualified.
They’re led by experienced engineers who have gone through or are currently going through the professional registration process.
The goal of these sessions is to share best practice among engineers in a similar position.