For Those About to Edit...

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This coming Saturday, around 80 nervous editors will file into examination rooms around the country in a bid to join the ranks of IPEd Accredited Editors. It's been a little over a year since I did the same and despite the whirlpool of emotions (mostly fear and anxiety) that day produced in me, making it through and coming out the other end an AE was a rewarding and significant achievement - one I hope all who sit the 2012 exam can replicate themselves.

I had toyed with the idea of sitting the exam for a while, but only made the final decision almost on impulse, a day or two before the registration cut-off (I then refused to tell any of my workmates what I was doing, fearing the shame I would suffer if I didn't pass!). This left me barely a month to prepare, a 'mistake' I thought would prove my undoing after hearing the Tales of Months-Long Preparation from AEs at the society's exam prep workshop. That same month would see the launch of a brand-new title at work alongside the deadline for our biggest annual publication, as well as a tripling of the workload in my freelance job, all of which added to my exam preparation stress.

Besides all that, I didn't even know where to start in my study. That was where the sample exams on the IPEd website came in. Over subsequent weekends I did both samples and the additional editing extract, in as near-exam conditions as I could impose on myself. I marked them following the guidelines provided. And by those marks, I failed all three!

But that at least gave me an indication of where I felt I was letting myself down, and thus the areas I should brush up on. I still wasn't confident, though. It had been several years since I'd done any kind of study or sat an exam, and then the study was guided by the parameters of a course. Also, my years of thinking the editing I did - on lifestyle "fluff" - was somehow less than what other editors do left me questioning. What on earth did I think I was doing, trying to play with the real editors?

Well, for one thing: proving to myself that I could; that I was worthy of the title of editor. And so I went through with it. I turned up on the day, too nervous to talk, probably white as the proverbial. And I remained that way until about ten minutes into the exam, when we were given the go-ahead to pick up our pencils and start. Suddenly, everything else dropped away. This was what I did every day. It was no longer scary and, indeed, the process of working through the sections, and the questions, became almost Zen-like, broken only to check the clock. In the end, I finished with time to spare!

A month or so later, the email arrived confirming I had passed. I was convinced it must have been a mistake. Even a year on, I still sometimes think someone, somewhere, screwed up. But I have the certificate as proof, and if I can do it, so can you.

Most of this year's candidates were probably at the preparation workshop last month, but if you missed it you can read our report. Further details are contained in the Accreditation Report. This month's newsletter isn't just about the exam, though. President Trischa provides us with her impressions of the recent Australian Educational Publishing Awards, and Editors Victoria member Siobhan Argent gives us an excellent overview of one of the biggest issues facing all editors - accredited or otherwise - in the future: editing ebooks.

Good luck to everyone going into that room on Saturday. Just remember: you do this every day. Your working life as an editor is the best preparation you could have.

Melanie Sheridan, AE