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Information about the accreditation exam.

IPEd accreditation exam

The IPEd accreditation exam is held about every 2 years. The next exam is scheduled for Monday 12 August 2024

Information about the exam is set out below under the following headings:

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 Governance of accreditation page.

For a quick introduction to the accreditation exam, download the accreditation exam fact sheet [PDF 189KB].

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 Accreditation scheme page.

Eligibility to sit the exam

The IPEd accreditation exam is open only to IPEd members and members of approved affiliate editing organisations (e.g. Canberra Society of Editors, CIEP, Editors Canada). Candidates who are not currently IPEd or affiliate members should join IPEd as an associate member. Associate members of IPEd who pass the exam automatically qualify for professional membership (professional membership fee applies).

The Accreditation Board recommends that candidates have at least 2 to 3 years’ full-time or 4 to 6 years’ casual or part-time editing experience. 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 IPEd standards for editing practice (3rd edn)

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.

Exam locations

Most candidates will sit the exam in dedicated computer centres, for reasons of equity, security and cost. 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 Aotearoa New Zealand (Wellington or Auckland).

Alternative venues

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.

Remote sitting

Candidates who are unable to attend a dedicated computer centre venue for valid medical or other reasons may apply to sit the exam remotely. Approved remote candidates will need to sign an additional privacy waiver and technical indemnity agreement. The privacy waiver is needed because a remote invigilator will be watching the candidate and their computer screen at all times in the exam. The technical indemnity is because the candidate is responsible for ensuring their technology systems are sufficiently up to date and robust enough to maintain video communications and internet connectivity for the duration of the exam (approximately 5 hours including check-in, set-up and reading time).

Emergencies in the exam location

In the event of an emergency (e.g. a pandemic-related lockdown or a natural disaster) in a location where the exam is being held, all candidates registered for that venue will be offered remote sitting – provided sufficient remote invigilators are available and the candidates meet the technical requirements. A candidate unwilling or unable to sit the exam remotely in these circumstances will receive a refund of their registration fee in line with our cancellation and refund policy.

Registration fees

For details of the registration fees for the next exam, see the Exam registration page.

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, and marker and moderator fees and expenses) and administering the exam (these include administrative and 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.

Registration policy

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 the Exam registration page.

Structure and format of the exam

The exam tests editors’ competence (not excellence) in applying the standards set out in IPEd standards for editing practice (3rd edn). It tests copyediting skills, such as language skills and practical editing mark-up skills in Microsoft Word, and other skills and knowledge that editors need, such as the ability to define a project and identify ethical and legal issues.


The exam has 3 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, comprising 2 compulsory questions and 4 elective questions from which candidates choose 2 (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%).

To pass, a candidate must gain:

  • an overall mark of 80%
  • a minimum of 65% in each part, including a minimum of 65% in each component of the MANUSCRIPT part (extract, author queries and style sheet)
  • a minimum of 65% in each of the 2 compulsory questions in the KNOWLEDGE part.

See the Guide for candidates for more information.


The exam is on-screen. This means candidates use digital files on a computer to answers the LANGUAGE and KNOWLEDGE questions and to perform the practical copyediting exercise in the MANUSCRIPT part.

The LANGUAGE and KNOWLEDGE parts use Adobe Acrobat PDF files. The MANUSCRIPT part uses MS Word files. The exam does not test proficiency in Word or PDF, but candidates must have basic technology skills such as the ability to work on-screen and to open, save and close documents. (This is standard A3.2 of the IPEd 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 is provided on exam computers.

Duration of the exam

The exam lasts for 4 hours, including preparation and reading time. Venue 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. Approved remote candidates will have extra set-up and post-exam procedures to complete, so will also need to allow about 5 hours in total.

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 other file settings and that 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 and sub-questions they might answer in the KNOWLEDGE part, where some choice of questions is available
  • 3 hours to complete the exam.

No one will be admitted to the exam room after the reading time has ended and the exam has begun.

Preparation for the exam

Many resources are available to help candidates prepare for the exam. See the Exam resources and Guide for candidates pages for details.

The IPEd accreditation exam is proudly sponsored by the Macquarie Dictionary and Thesaurus Online and the Canberra Society of Editors

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