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Top Ways to Pass or Fail the EAC Certification Exams

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Top Three Ways to Pass

1. Study Regularly

It's no secret—studying is the key to success. Form a study group or meet with a friend to make studying a weekly habit. Use the Certification Study Guides to practise test-taking skills and monitor your progress. Time yourself when you write the practice test, to ensure that you're working at an appropriate pace. Once you've completed the practice test, make note of your score and carefully review any errors. Redo the practice test to improve your score until you feel ready for the real thing. Work through the passages in Meeting Professional Editorial Standards for extra practice.

2. Be Sure You Have a Solid Foundation

Be certain that you have a solid grasp of the fundamentals of editing. Start by reviewing Part A of Professional Editorial Standards (2009). These apply to editing in all media and disciplines, and should form the foundation of your knowledge. The Chicago Manual of Style also contains detailed information about fundamentals and the editorial process.

3. Prepare Mentally

It's not enough to perfect your editing skills. You must also prepare yourself to write an exam—something you may not have done for many years. Practise relaxation techniques like deep breathing to calm yourself and overcome any anxiety. Do a web search for "overcoming test anxiety," and you'll find plenty of information to help you prepare mentally and boost your confidence and your test-taking skills.

Top Three Ways to Fail (and How to Avoid Them)

1. Wing It

Coming to the test unprepared may be the easiest way to fail. Be sure to schedule enough time to study properly, and take the practice tests to improve your chance of success. It's important to remember that little details matter, too. Make sure you know what books and resource materials you can bring to the test, as well as the test location, date, and time.

2. Ignore the Test Instructions

When we edit in the real world, we often do a combination of different types of editing—whatever the document requires. For the certification tests, you need to separate out the various types of editing and do only what is asked. On the copy editing test, follow only the copy editing standards, and don't stray into structural or stylistic editing. On the stylistic editing test, don't copy edit the passage. Be sure to follow the instructions to the letter (for example, mark up the proper set of proofs, not the manuscript), and do only what is asked.

3. Succumb to Stress

Stress can affect you mentally and physically. Even if your editing skills are strong, you may not pass the test if you don't have a strategy for managing stress. When you receive your test pages, take a deep breath, review them quickly, and manage your time so you can complete the whole exam.

The editors and the national office staff who work to administer the certification program wish all test takers success in achieving one or more of these prestigious credentials or the full Certified Professional Editor designation.

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Issued on behalf of the EAC certification steering committee by the national office.