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Editors Canada Certification Exam Pass Rates and Seven Reasons Candidates Fail
The Editors Canada certification exams are a demonstration of mastery and may take more than one attempt to pass. Over the last five years, one-third (29%) of candidates have passed, which is in line with results for other nation and international certifying bodies. Failing does not mean you are not competent or that this is something to be ashamed of; it is reasonable to need additional attempts to demonstrate your mastery of the craft.
The exams should be taken seriously and strong preparation is required in addition to years of wide-
ranging experience. Preparation for the test is excellent for your professional development. Here are
some of the most common reasons candidates fail and what candidates can do to avoid them:
1. Some candidates don’t have enough solid work experience before they attempt a test. It’s not
enough to have in-depth experience in one medium. You need broad-based experience that covers
several areas within the publishing and communications industry. This is the best way to acquire the
skills needed in the Fundamentals of Editing section of Professional Editorial Standards (2016). To
help determine whether you’re ready to take a certification test, you can use our handy preparation
2. Some candidates don’t prepare adequately. They don’t work carefully through Professional
Editorial Standards (2016), the Test Preparation Guide, and Meeting Professional Editorial
Standards. Others don’t go beyond these resources, which are meant as a starting point. The Test
Preparation Guide has a list of suggested resources for further study. Preparation requires more
than just a few hours. Surveys of those who write the tests indicate that most study for at least 30
hours per test. To increase your chance of passing a test, you need to do more than just spend a
few hours reading. You need to have a comprehensive plan and prepare well.
3. Some candidates don’t follow the test instructions. You need to read the instructions for each
section of the test and respond appropriately. If you’re writing the copy editing test, for example,
you should be careful not to do any structural editing. And if you’re writing the proofreading test,
you should refrain from copy editing.
4. Some candidates don’t manage their time well and are unable to complete the test in the time
allotted. You need to be organized in your approach and be aware of how much time you can afford
to spend on each section of the test.
5. Some candidates disregard some of the specific standards required for each type of editing, as
described in Professional Editorial Standards (2016). For example, some proofreading candidates
forget to proofread non-text materials accompanying a passage they’re asked to proofread (see
standards E8 through E12), while some copy editing candidates miss common grammar and usage
problems (see standards D1 and D4). You must meet all of the requirements outlined in the relevant
sections of Professional Editorial Standards (2016).
6. Some candidates fail to use tactful, respectful language in their comments and queries to authors
and other team members. The tests measure soft skills such as clarity and judgment, in addition to
hard skills. This is covered by Standard A11.3, which says, “Communicate clearly and tactfully with
team members at all stages.” Please be sure to review all standards.
7. Some candidates are just having a bad day. That’s why this Test Preparation Guide includes tips to
help you have a good day, such as getting enough sleep the night before, dressing comfortably, and
eating a nutritious meal before the test. You want to feel confident and at your best when taking the