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 12 August 2024.
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
Since 2022 the IPEd accreditation exam is open only to IPEd members and members of approved affiliate organisations. 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 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). (IPEd is currently updating the Standards. Candidates for the 2024 accreditation exam should use the current edition to prepare for the exam until they are advised otherwise.)
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.
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 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.
Candidates who are unable to attend a dedicated computer centre 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).
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 there are sufficient remote invigilators 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 policy.
For details of the registration fees for the next exam, see 2024 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 2024 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. (IPEd is currently updating the Standards. Candidates for the 2024 accreditation exam should use the current edition to prepare for the exam until they are advised otherwise.) It tests copyediting skills, such as language skills and practical editing mark-up 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, including a minimum of 65% in each component of the MANUSCRIPT part (extract, author queries and style sheet).
The exam is on-screen. 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. 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 is provided on exam computers.
Duration of the exam
The exam lasts for 4 hours, including preparation and 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 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 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 period has ended and the exam has begun.