This week I'm prepping to serve on two Readiness Review Panels. The RR panel is the second step in the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) application/exam. The first step is simply to apply to the Universal Accreditation Board. They decide if you have enough experience to successfully complete the APR exam. Once you're accepted it's time to schedule your panel review.
The panel (3 APRs) review a document prepared by the candidate called the Readiness Review Questionnaire. Candidates answer a series of questions about their experience, strengths and weaknesses. Then we all get together and the candidate presents her portfolio. The panel will ask questions geared toward determining the candidate's knowledge and use of the public relations four-step process. We also access things the written exam can not, like creativity, initiative, flexibility, time management, and presentation skills.
As a former candidate, I can tell you it's a scary undertaking. No matter how many people tell you to relax, you can't. The panel is all or nothing. You advance (meaning you get to move on to take the most difficult written exam of your life) or you do not advance.
It is the panel's job to determine if you are ready to take on the challenge of the written exam. If you are ready, the panel will identify concentrations for your studies and mentor you as you prepare for the exam. If you don't advance the panel will explain why now is not the right time, and what you need to do to adequately prepare for your next try.
I am honored to participate in this process. Earning my APR meant so much to me as a professional, and I'm thrilled to help others achieve this goal.