The first step in preparing for the certification tests is to review the standards that will be tested and assess your own ability to apply them. The Editors' Association of Canada offers two resources to help you do this.
Professional Editorial Standards (PES)
PES sets out the editorial standards that EAC Certification is designed to test. It's essential for anyone taking the tests to know these standards. By carefully reviewing each standard and identifying how it relates (or doesn't relate) to your work, you can identify gaps in your current knowledge and skills.
Download Professional Editorial Standards at no charge.
EAC Certification Study Guides
Working through the study guide for the test you plan to write is the best way to review the standards and identify gaps in your knowledge and skills. It also helps you practise for taking a timed test in an invigilated setting.
Proofreading Study Guide
Copy Editing Study Guide
Stylistic Editing Study Guide
Structural Editing Study Guide (available July 2012)
Order EAC Certification Study Guides
More study options
Once you've identified the areas you need to learn more about, you can choose from a number of study methods:
- Take EAC/ACR branch seminars or courses available through universities and colleges. Look for seminars and courses that develop the skills specified in Professional Editorial Standards, particularly the ones you need to work on. Past candidates have found courses in grammar and punctuation particularly helpful.
- Study the relevant sections of Meeting Professional Editorial Standards (MPES). This is a four-volume set of self-tests that covers the four core areas of the standards. Edit the exercises and then check them against the responses. Study the discussions carefully. The previous 2-volume edition (Meeting Professional Standards) is also available.
- Complete editing exercises in MPES and other books designed for self-directed study (e.g., Mark My Words or The Copyeditor's Guide to Substance and Style; order information available at www.eeicommunications.com).
- Review the contents of all the books you plan to use during the test and study at least one of the style guides in depth. Note that you will be allowed to use one dictionary, Editing Canadian English and up to three more style guides. (In 2008, candidates were asked to choose from the following: The Chicago Manual of Style, The New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style and Usage, The Canadian Style and The Canadian Press Stylebook and its companion, CP Caps & Spelling.) Once you have registered for a test, you will receive a complete list of books and materials that you can bring to the test. Past candidates have found it helpful to add tabs or post-it notes to sections that they refer to regularly.
- Find a study partner or join a study group. Past candidates have found it helpful to meet with editing colleagues regularly in the months leading up to the tests to review the standards in PES and to work through MES or one of the study guide volumes. Some have improved their test-taking skills by working on the practice test and then reviewing each other's work. Some have benefited from reviewing and discussing the sample pass and fail responses in each study guide volume.
- Study and practise copy editing and proofreading mark-up (e.g., as shown in The Chicago Manual of Style or The Canadian Style).
- Read books about writing, publishing and editing. Past candidates have recommended the following: The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, Style: Toward Clarity and Grace by Joseph Williams, Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing by Claire Kehrwald Cook, The Copyeditors' Handbook by Amy Einsohn, Copy-editing by Judith Butcher, and The Oxford Guide to Style.
- Work through a grammar text and review books about usage (e.g., The Great Grammar Challenge; order information available at www.eeicommunications.com).
- Write tests and quizzes on grammar and usage that can be found on the Internet.
- Review test-taking tips. This is particularly important if you have not written a test for some time. Past candidates have found it helpful to consider test-taking strategies, especially those related to good time management.