Information about the Accreditation Exam.
IPEd Accreditation Exam
The IPEd accreditation exam is held about every two years. The next exam is scheduled for Monday 22 August 2022. Read more here.
Information about the exam is set out below under the following headings:
- Benefits of sitting the exam
- Eligibility to sit the exam
- Registration for the exam
- Structure and format of the exam
- Preparation for the exam.
If you have a question not answered below or in the linked pages and documents, contact your Accreditation Board branch delegate in the first instance. If you do not belong to an IPEd branch, contact the delegate for your area or the chair of the Accreditation Board. Contact information is on the Accreditation Board page.
Benefits of sitting the exam
The primary purpose of sitting the exam is to gain accreditation. However, past candidates have reported that preparing for the exam is beneficial in itself, as it improves their editorial skills and knowledge. The benefits of accreditation for editors, their clients and employers, and the editing profession are listed on the IPEd Accreditation Scheme page.
Eligibility to sit the exam
Anyone can register to sit the IPEd accreditation exam. However, the Accreditation Board recommends that candidates have at least three years’ full-time editing experience or equivalent. This is because the exam is not designed to test entry-level editing skills but to measure an editor’s professional competence against the skills and knowledge set out in the Australian standards for editing practice (2nd ed).
Registration for the exam
When you register, you will be asked to nominate the location in which you want to sit the exam and to pay a registration fee.
The exam is held concurrently in multiple locations, according to demand and practical considerations. The main locations are Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Wellington.
Candidates who want to register for the exam but cannot attend one of these locations should contact the Accreditation Board chair well before the exam so that exam coordinators may gauge demand in other locations and investigate the feasibility of other arrangements. There is no guarantee that IPEd will be able to provide a candidate the opportunity to sit the exam in locations where there is insufficient demand, including the main locations.
For details of the registration fees for the next exam, see 2022 exam registration.
IPEd keeps exam registration fees as low as possible, but it does need to cover the direct costs of holding the exam (these include exam development, venue hire, invigilator fees and expenses, markers and moderator fees and expenses) and administering the exam (these include technical support, candidate materials, and certificates).
The registration fee does not include the cost of hearing an appeal against your result; an additional fee applies for lodging an appeal.
IPEd does not accept late registrations or late payments. Candidates who have not paid the registration fee by the closing date will not be allowed to sit the exam.
For more information about the registration process and policies for the next exam, see 2022 exam registration.
Structure and format of the exam
The exam tests editors’ competence (not excellence) in applying the standards set out in the Australian standards for editing practice. It tests copyediting skills, such as language skills and practical editing markup skills, and other skills and knowledge that editors need, such as the ability to define a project and identify defamation, permission and copyright issues.
The exam has three parts:
- LANGUAGE: short-answer and multiple-choice questions on language skills needed for copyediting, such as spelling, punctuation, grammar, syntax, style and usage (20%)
- KNOWLEDGE: short-answer questions on general editing skills and knowledge (40%)
- MANUSCRIPT: a practical copyediting exercise (40%), comprising a short extract for editing (32% for the edits and 4% for author queries) and a style sheet (4%).
(Note, some older material may refer to parts by number rather than name.)
To pass, a candidate must gain an overall mark of 80%, with a minimum of 65% in each part.
The exam is onscreen. This means candidates enter their answers to the LANGUAGE and KNOWLEDGE questions, and perform the practical copyediting exercise, using digital files on a computer.
The LANGUAGE and KNOWLEDGE parts use PDF files. The MANUSCRIPT part uses MS Word (2016). The exam does not test proficiency in Word or PDF but candidates must have basic computer skills such as the ability to work onscreen and to open, save and close documents. (This is standard A3.2 of the Australian standards for editing practice.)
The exam is ‘open book’. This means that candidates may use their own reference materials (such as a dictionary and a style guide) and notes, as long as they comply with the requirements in the Guide for candidates.
During the exam, candidates will have no internet access via mobile phones or other devices. Limited access to some online reference materials may be provided on exam computers.
Duration of the exam
The exam lasts for 4 hours, including reading time. Candidates should arrive at least half an hour before the exam begins, which means it will be about 5 hours from the time they arrive at the exam venue to the time they leave.
IPEd will send candidates details about exact times once they register for the exam, but this is a rough guide:
- 30 minutes for candidates to read the instructions, open the exam documents, check that Track Changes is turned on, check there are no technology issues, and enter their candidate number in each document
- 30 minutes for candidates to read the exam documents and decide which questions they might answer
- 3 hours to complete the exam.
No one will be admitted to the exam room after the reading period has ended and the exam has begun.