The application process for being a copy editor usually involves taking a test. This quiz usually challenges you to spot mistakes in a piece of writing.
Read on to learn how to study for an editing exam. Then, test your copy editing skills through the copy editing test I developed.
How to Study for an Editing Exam
A copy-editing exam usually includes an excerpt from a book, magazine, or other pieces of writing with intentional mistakes. Your task is to correct every sentence’s spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
This assessment should test whether you’re competent and skilled enough to improve the readability of a text. You’ll encounter these quizzes when applying as a freelance copy editor or when looking for a job at a publishing house.
Here’s how you can study for an editing exam.
Spelling, Grammar, Punctuation
First, you should review the most common spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes on writing pieces. It’s so easy to make an error in grammar or spelling and overlook it, so knowing how to spot it is important.
The most prevalent misspellings that even expert writers make are homophones. These are words that sound the same but have different spellings. Double letters, silent letters, and words with irregular spellings are also commonly mistaken.
It’s also a great idea to review common grammar errors, such as verb tenses and incorrect preposition use. Learn how to correct the passive use, weak adverbs, and tautologies.
Lastly, practice spotting punctuation errors in writing. Learn the difference between a hyphen, en dash, and em dash. You should also know when to use parentheses and commas for additional information in the sentence.
Editing exams might also ask you to make a piece of writing more readable and consistent. Read any article and check if the description of settings and people is consistent. Evaluate the use of transitional devices, consistent pronouns, and lengthy statements.
Copy-editing may also include fact-checking. If the instructions involve fact-checking, make sure to come prepared. Do initial research, especially when you’re editing non-fiction works.
How to Practice Copy Editing
Here are some tips that will help you ace the copy editing test.
Pay Attention to Detail
Attention to detail is an essential skill you should practice if you want to be a copy editor. Make sure you’re patient enough to read every word, sentence, line, and paragraph for mistakes.
Read the Text Again
Read the article at least twice before copy editing. You can do one fast skim, then do a thorough read. That’s because you won’t always spot a mistake on the first read.
Correct One Mistake at a Time
Each reading you perform on the article should involve a review of one aspect. On the first read, you can check the spelling of the text. Then, focus on the grammar, and so on.
Test Your Copy Editing Skills
Actual copy editing tests may include several items or a long piece of text. But the instructions are always the same. You need to find the writing mistake and correct it.
Do you have what it takes to become a copy editor? Try taking the quiz below to test your knowledge and skills.