The Viva Voce (oral interview)

Your final interview, the Viva Voce, will last approximately 45 minutes and will be conducted by two interviewers. The interview begins with 5 minutes of introduction and explanation of the process as well as gently warming up the conversation. Discussion about your Case Study will last approximately 20 minutes, with one of the interviewers taking the lead. Your Career Appraisal and career in general will also have approximately 20 minutes of discussion and questions, typically with the other interviewer, however both examiners can and will ask questions about any area. There is time allowed for at the end of the interview for any questions you have.

As you would to a job interview, you should dress professionally and comfortably. Arrive in plenty of time for your scheduled interview, to give yourself plenty of time to calm yourself beforehand. Remember, you are presenting yourself as a confident professional.

To prepare for the interview you should re-read your submission and reflect upon what went wrong and what you would do differently. You should also look for any weaker areas of your submission and prepare yourself for any questions that might arise. You could also consider some generic questions that may come up:

  • What legal ramifications could you face if you suffer a loss of data?
  • What process would you go through when starting a new practice?
  • What were the differences between your Part One and Part Two universities?
  • From a commercial sense, what is the benefit of repeat clients?
  • What is a professional?
  • How do you see your career progressing in the future?
  • How could you use CPDs to strengthen your areas of weakness?

Answering a question you don’t know the answer to

Whilst the interview usually becomes more of a discussion than an interrogation, you should also prepare yourself to respond to a question you do not know the answer to. A good examiner will probe your understanding to reach the limit of your knowledge, aiding you with rephrasing of questions where necessary or possible, and obviously you will not know everything, so it is important to confront the issue of a question that you simply do not know the answer to.

Responding with an immediate “I don’t know” or worse, a lengthy silence, is unlikely to sit well with the examiners. One tactic would be to take a moment to think about the question, and then consider what you do know of relevence. If you are asked a question about Listed Building Consent which you do not know, you may be able to respond with an answer explaining your understanding in relation to Planning Consent, whilst acknowledging that you have not had direct experience of the scenario in question and it is something you will take away with you for further research. Remember, it is not a problem to not know an answer, but a professional must know where to look to locate the right answer.

When you receive the (hopefully) positive result about a month afterwards, you can register as an Architect with the ARB. The title of ‘Architect’ is a protected title in the UK and if you are not on the register, you cannot use the title!

Published by Jamie Strong

Architect. Investor. Entrepreneur.

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