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Proofreading tests

by: Garry Pierrepont (19 July 2011)

Before you plunge in and declare yourself to be a proofreader, it might be wise to take a proofreading test or two.

We have some proofreading exercises in the NewsSpot section of this website, but proofreading exercises are not the same as proofreading tests. Where proofreading exercises are usually designed to hone your skills, proofreading tests have the purpose of making a judgement of your proofreading skills. Unfortunately, although it's a fairly pedantic difference, exercises are sometimes labelled as tests and vice versa.

When you get the results of your proofreading test, you might have done well, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a future as a proofreader; conversely, if your test results are not too good, it doesn’t mean you should give up there and then.

A related point is that proofreading tests (and exercises) usually have a higher density of errors than a real manuscript you may be asked to proofread, so it is rare that a proofreading test can match the "real thing". Nevertheless, tests are worthwhile in helping you to understand whether your grasp of grammar and spelling, as well as punctuation and layout, is going to be sufficient to see you develop into a proofreader.

The best way to approach a proofreading test is to take one (or more) at the end of a proofreading course. For more information on proofreading courses see our article at proofreading course. In that way you will have followed the guidance of the course to take you into the test. This will improve your chances of a good result. Simply to think you might have an aptitude for proofreading and to plunge into a test may give you worse results than you were expecting and give your confidence an unnecessary knock back. You can avoid that by taking a course, then taking the test.

Indeed, before you take a full-blown test, complete as many proofreading exercises as you can. Here is one on our site: Proofreading exercise.

We wish you good luck when you come to take your proofreading test!

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