Free Proofreading Quiz – Test Your Skills

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| Candace Osmond

| Editing , Quizzes

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

So, you think you’re proficient enough to start a proofreading career. A free proofreading quiz or practice test will be beneficial for anyone who wants to measure their skills and look for areas of improvement. 

Whether you want to be a copy editor or proofreader, the field of proofreading is vast, and you should try these free proofreading quizzes to test your level. But first, here is ours:

Take The Proofreading Test!

The importance of practicing proofreading .

Grammarist Article Graphic V2 56

Practicing proofreading will allow you to develop your skills in the activity and improve the quality of your work . Whether you’re submitting your paper to your professor or presenting a business proposal, you want to make sure there are no lingering mistakes.

A professional proofreader of someone from a proofreading business will check a piece of writing for common errors like spelling mistakes, proper components of grammar, and that everything follows English grammar rules. 

Beginner proofreaders might start out as fact-checker or as beta proofers. This is a great way to dip your toe in the waters of being an experienced proofreader.

Being an excellent proofreader is also a fantastic way to start a side hustle. Many online clients look for a proficient proofreader or copy editor to check their works for writing mistakes. 

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What Should I Look for in a Proofreading Test? 

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a proofreading test.

Assessment Method

Many types of proofreading tests will challenge your skills. You’ll find multiple-choice quizzes that ask you about spelling, grammar, and punctuation methods. You’ll also find actual selections you can proofread with answer keys.

But no assessment method is better than the other. In fact, you can’t spot mistakes in an essay provided if you don’t know the basic grammar rules. That means you should start with beginner-level quizzes that address recall, then proceed with application quizzes.

I recommend starting with multiple-choice quizzes, such as GrammarPhile Blog and Freelance Writing’s quizzes. These tests will help you remember the standard of English.

Once you can perfect these easy tests, try practice tests like Michael Sellar’s proofreading exercises.

online copyediting test

Type of English and Style Guide

If you’re a proofreader for British clients, it won’t make sense to take an American English proofreading test. Make sure to pick a test that adheres to your style guide and English variant. 

Reputable Website

Ensure you’re testing your knowledge from reputable websites like ProofreadNow and ProofreadAnywhere. Look for a blogger or any English expert who has created a name in the industry.

These websites also offer proofreading courses and workshops you can enroll in before taking the quizzes. Check out their online programs so you can continue developing your skills in proofreading. 

What is a Proofreading Technique? 

A proofreading technique is a specific method a proofreader uses for different types of written documents. For example, business documents usually focus on the paper’s tone, voice, and format. Meanwhile, academic papers concentrate on citation styles.

Whatever your document is, one common technique among all papers is to read the paper aloud. Do it slowly so your brain can fill in the gaps and correct all errors. You also want to ensure each punctuation mark and word is correct. 

Sentence structure is also an essential part of proofreading. Check the subject and verb if they are producing a complete thought. Remove any sentence fragment or run-on sentence in the paragraphs. 

Where Can I Practice Proofreading? 

There are a ton of online grammar and proofreading courses that will give you knowledge about grammar and spelling. But before leaping in with an actual course, test the basics of your English language skills with a few online language quizzes. 

Writing tests, quizzes, and self-assessments are a great way to see your own skills with writing issues and if you’re good at spotting mistakes in writing. Take grammar tests, learn about writing styles, play with proofreading worksheets, and even proofreading games.

These platforms are where you can practice and get on your way to starting a proofreading side hustle.

GrammarPhile Blog

Now known as ProofreadNow, GrammarPhile Blog has a quiz on style guides . A style guide keeps your brand identity consistent, reliable, and ownable even if many writers produce these documents.

A consistent style guide is essential not only among businesses. Even universities and colleges observe specific styles and citation guides. 

Answer GrammarPhobe’s short multiple-choice quiz to know if you can match a text entry to its style guide. It will ask questions like which style guide encourages serial commas and avoiding gender terms when unnecessary. 

Portland Proof

Are you a competitive proofreader? Portland Proof lists its highest scores weekly. Take the ten-item quiz, which will appear one at a time on your screen. Just find the mistake and click on it.

Portland Proof states that the mistakes in their sentences are either misspelled words or incorrectly used punctuation. Some have missing words, while others exhibit capitalization errors. 

You can skip difficult questions but won’t get a second chance at the sentence.

Freelance Writing

This multiple-choice examination on proofreading by Proofread Anywhere tests your American English skills. The company offers in-depth general proofreading and transcript proofreading courses which you can enroll in anytime.

Caitlyn Pile is a proofreader-turned-blogger who developed the short test. Aside from quizzes and courses, the Proofread Anywhere founder also has ebooks and workshops about starting and keeping a freelancing career.

Michael Sellars and Jeff Fullerton

Michael Sellars offers The No-Nonsense Proofreading Course about the basics of proofreading and building a career. While the online program costs a few bucks, they also provide free proofreading exercises to practice your skills.

They developed twenty proofreading exercises to simulate actual proofreading work you might encounter in your career. You will be dealing with several errors on each selection, so keep your vision sharp.

Earn Smart Online Class

Earn Smart Online Class has a convenient quiz that will test your general knowledge of English. Are you competent enough to know the writing conventions and grammar rules of the language?

This proofreading test only includes 20 questions made on a Google Form. Just mark the sentence written correctly. 

Earn Smart Online Class also recommends Proofreading workshops and courses, such as Caitlyn Pile’s Transcript Proofreading: Theory and Practice and Proofread Anywhere Workshop.

Sporcle offers a practice test where you need to find the error in every sentence. It’s an extended test asking you to click on the correct answer in the word bank. This company also offers trivia entertainment on live shows and online. 

Grammar Monster

Grammar Monster provides several pieces of information that will help you be a better English speaker or writer. Learn how to observe proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. You can also test your knowledge through the numerous tests available.

The tests on Grammar Monster are divided into parts of speech. You’ll find practice examinations on punctuation, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, and more. 

Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP)

CIEP aims to help editorial freelancers and in-house staff enhance their proofreading and editing skills. It offers several courses that cater to different experiences, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned proofreader. 

Aside from the professional development curriculum, CIEP offers fourteen helpful quizzes that will challenge your abilities. The first quiz focuses on punctuation, and the next concentrates on language use.

You’ll also find spelling, hyphens, dashes, and phrases tests. Then, there are actual paragraphs where you will look for common writing mistakes. 

Business Writing Blog

Business Writing Blog reposts New York Times’ proofreading quiz entitled “Red Pencils Ready?” by Philip B. Corbett. Corbett wrote a passage that challenges users to spot errors.

According to the quiz developer, he included ten errors in the paragraph that Microsoft Editor and Google Docs spell checker won’t spot. Here’s a spoiler for you: Most errors include contextual misspellings and hyphenation issues.

Test Your Knowledge Now

Now that businesses are investing in online content writing, proofreaders are becoming more in demand. If you want to join the industry, check your accuracy first.

I hope this list of proofreading quizzes and practice tests helps you become a better proofreader. Challenge yourself and take the assessment today!

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Nobody's perfect all the time—and now, you don’t have to be!

There are times when you just want to write without worrying about every grammar or spelling convention. The online proofreader immediately finds all of your errors. This allows you to concentrate on the bigger picture. You’ll be 100% confident that your writing won’t affect your grade.

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What does a proofreader do?

The proofreading process is your last chance to catch any errors in your writing before you submit it. A proofreader makes sure your spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors are reviewed and fixed. This can be done automatically by an AI-powered tool like the one at the top of this page or by a real human. Both options have their advantages, so pick the one that suits you most.

word use

Fix mistakes that slip under your radar

✔ Fix problems with commonly confused words, like affect vs. effect, which vs. that and who vs. that.

✔ Catch words that sound similar but aren’t, like their vs. they’re, your vs. you’re.

✔ Check your punctuation to avoid errors with dashes and hyphens, commas, apostrophes, and more.

✔ Avoid sentence fragments, subject-verb agreement errors, and problems with parallelism.

How does the proofreader work?

The online proofreader.

It’s really straightforward. Just paste the text into the tool. All your errors will now be underlined in red. You can hover over these mistakes to see how they can be addressed. If you agree, just click on the button “Fix all errors,” and your mistakes will be fixed instantly! 

Proofreading process

The professional proofreader

Upload your entire document first. Choose the pages you want proofread, the extra services you want to use, and the deadline. Then fill in some key details like your field of study so that we can find you the best proofreader. When you’re done, you pay for your order, and we make sure that your writing is checked by a proofreader. You’ll be contacted when the job is done!

Who should use this proofreader?


Avoid a bad grade and hand in your documents with absolute confidence.



Look like a pro by writing error-free emails, reports, and more.


Ensure your work is clear and readable to increase the chance that it’ll get published.

AI Proofreader

Want your whole document checked and corrected in a matter of minutes?

Would you like to upload your entire document and check all your documents for 100+ language issues? Then Scribbr’s AI-powered proofreading is perfect for you.

With AI-powered proofreading, you can correct your text in no time.

  • Upload document
  • Wait briefly while all errors are corrected directly in your document
  • Correct errors with one click

Proofread my document

Fantastic service!!

“Excellent review of a paper that was deciding my grade. I appreciate both the edits and the feedback to increase my knowledge of correct APA formatting and accurate citations. I needed the paper returned quickly, and the team worked hard to make sure I had what I needed. I just got my grade back, A+. I would 100% use this service again, it was worth every penny!!!!!!”

A proofreader for everyone

Don’t let typos and grammar keep you down. make your writing count, ask our team.

Want to contact us directly? No problem.  We  are always here for you.

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Frequently asked questions

Our support team is here to help you daily via chat, WhatsApp, email, or phone between 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. CET.

Yes! Our personal statement editors can help you reduce your word count by up to 25%. You can choose to receive this feedback through direct edits or suggestions in comments – just select your choice when you upload your personal statement.

Our APA experts default to APA 7 for editing and formatting. For the Citation Editing Service you are able to choose between APA 6 and 7.

It is not necessary to reserve a time slot for your edit. As soon as your document is ready to be proofread, you can upload it at any time via our website . Based on your chosen deadline, our editor(s) will then proofread your document within 24 hours, 3 days, or 7 days.

If you are unsure about the availability of our services or are planning to upload a very large document (>13,000 words) with a 24 hour deadline, we recommend that you contact us beforehand via chat or email .

Scribbr is following the guidelines announced by the WHO (World Health Organization). As an online platform, all our services remain available, and we will continue to help students as usual.

Can I still place an order? Will my order be completed within the deadline? Yes, you can still place orders and orders will be delivered within the agreed upon deadline. Scribbr is an online platform – our proofreading & editing services are provided by editors working remotely from all over the world. This means Scribbr can guarantee that we will process your order with the same diligence and professionalism as always. The same holds true for our Plagiarism Checker .

Can I still contact customer support? Yes. Our support team is available from 09.00 to 23.00 CET and happy to answer any questions you might have!

Yes, if your document is longer than 20,000 words, you will get a sample of approximately 2,000 words. This sample edit gives you a first impression of the editor’s editing style and a chance to ask questions and give feedback.

How does the sample edit work?

You will receive the sample edit within 12 hours after placing your order. You then have 24 hours to let us know if you’re happy with the sample or if there’s something you would like the editor to do differently.

Read more about how the sample edit works

When you upload a large document (20,000+ words), we will ask your editor to send a sample edit of approximately 2,000 words as soon as possible. This sample edit gives you a first impression of your editor’s editing style and what you can expect from the service. You will receive it within 12 hours after uploading your order.

Why do we provide you with a sample edit?

We always aim to make you 100% happy, and Proofreading & Editing is a complex service. We want to make sure that our editing style meets your expectations before the editor improves your entire document.

Our editors are trained to follow Scribbr’s academic style . However, your preferences might deviate from our conventions. The sample edit gives you the chance to provide feedback – you can let us know if you’re happy with the sample or if there’s something you would like the editor to do differently.

Once your editor has completed your sample edit, you will receive a notification via email. You have 24 hours to reply to this email and provide us with feedback. If we receive your feedback in time, your editor will go the extra mile and adjust the edit according to your input.

What sort of feedback can you give?

Give us feedback that will help your editor meet your requirements. For example:

  • “I am completely happy. The editor can continue editing like this.”
  • “I forgot to mention that my school has the following rules for gendered pronouns.”
  • “The editor changed the spelling of a technical term, but my professor spells it differently. Please keep the original spelling of this term.”

The  Structure  and Clarity Check can only be purchased in conjunction with Proofreading & Editing . Providing feedback on structure and clarity requires extensive knowledge of the text, which the editor acquires while proofreading and editing your text.

However, our Paper Formatting Service,   Citation Editing Service and Plagiarism Checker can be purchased separately.

Yes, Scribbr will proofread the summary in another language as well.

Who will proofread my summary?

If your document contains a summary in a different language, we will send this part to another editor who is a native speaker of that language. The editor will check your summary, applying our standard Proofreading & Editing service.

If you ordered any additional services, such as the Structure Check or Clarity Check, the editor will not apply them to your summary. This is because the summary is a translation of your abstract – you already receive Structure and Clarity feedback on the text in the original language. Therefore, when proofreading your summary, the editor will focus on making sure your language and style is correct.

How does it work?

We will create a new assignment within your order and send you a confirmation email. This also means that you will receive a separate email/SMS notification from us when the editor has finished proofreading your summary. Once your summary is proofread, you can download it via your Scribbr account and read the editor’s feedback.

Yes, we can provide a certificate of proofreading.

As soon as the editor delivers the edit, you can email us at [email protected] to request a certificate.

Please indicate the following in your email:

  • Your order number
  • Your full name
  • The title of your work

We will create a PDF certificate and email it to you as soon as possible.

Scribbr specializes in editing study-related documents . We proofread:

  • PhD dissertations
  • Research proposals
  • Personal statements
  • Admission essays
  • Motivation letters
  • Reflection papers
  • Journal articles
  • Capstone projects

Yes, when you accept all changes and delete all comments your document is ready to be handed in.

How to accept all changes:

  • Word for Mac 2011

How to remove all comments:

When you’ve finished this, others will no longer be able to see the changes made by the editor.

  • Read your last version one last time to make sure everything is the way you want it.
  • Save your document as a .pdf file to come across more professional and to ensure the format of your document doesn’t change.

Yes, in the order process you can indicate your preference for American, British, or Australian English .

If you don’t choose one, your editor will follow the style of English you currently use. If your editor has any questions about this, we will contact you.

Yes, you can upload your thesis in sections.

We try our best to ensure that the same editor checks all the different sections of your thesis. When you upload a new file, our system recognizes you as a returning customer, and we immediately contact the editor who helped you before.

However, we cannot guarantee that the same editor will be available. Your chances are higher if

  • You send us your text as soon as possible and
  • You can be flexible about the deadline.

Please note that the shorter your deadline is, the bigger the risk that your previous editor is not available.

If your previous editor isn’t available, then we will inform you immediately and look for another qualified editor. Fear not! Every Scribbr editor follows the  Scribbr Improvement Model  and will deliver high-quality work.

However, every editor has a slightly different editing style, so you may notice small inconsistencies in editing choices. As with every proofreading order, be sure to carefully review your editor’s changes and suggestions as you finalize your text to ensure that everything is as you want it.

The fastest turnaround time is 12 hours.

You can upload your document at any time and choose between three deadlines:

At Scribbr, we promise to make every customer 100% happy with the service we offer. Our philosophy: Your complaint is always justified – no denial, no doubts.

Our customer support team is here to find the solution that helps you the most, whether that’s a free new edit or a refund for the service.

Every Scribbr order comes with our award-winning Proofreading & Editing service , which combines two important stages of the revision process.

For a more comprehensive edit, you can add a Structure Check or Clarity Check to your order. With these building blocks, you can customize the kind of feedback you receive.

You might be familiar with a different set of editing terms. To help you understand what you can expect at Scribbr, we created this table:

View an example

Scribbr not only specializes in proofreading and editing texts in English , but also in several other languages . This way, we help out students from all over the world.

As a global academic writing proofreading service, we work with professional editors  – all native speakers – who edit in the following languages :

This way, you can also have your academic writing proofread and edited in your second language!

Please note that we do not offer Finnish proofreading, but students can still upload English papers on .

Yes, regardless of the deadline you choose, our editors can proofread your document during weekends and holidays.

Example: If you select the 12-hour service on Saturday, you will receive your edited document back within 12 hours on Sunday.

The footnotes are not automatically included in the word count.

If you want the language errors in your footnotes to be corrected by the editor, you can indicate this in step 3 of the upload process . The words in the footnotes are then automatically added to the total word count.

Need help with your references?

  • If you use the APA reference style, you can use our free APA Citation Generator or the articles about APA in our Knowledge Base.
  • If you’d like us to check your references for consistency, you can use our Citation Editing Service .

To keep our prices competitive, we do not offer a free trial edit. However, if your document is longer than 30,000 words, we are happy to provide you with a sample edit of 2,000 words to ensure you are satisfied with the editor’s editing style.

Rest assured, our customers are very satisfied with our proofreading services. We’re proud that they have rated us with an excellent 4.6 on Trustpilot. In the unlikely event that you have a less positive experience, we’ll solve that with our 100% happiness guarantee !

After your thesis has been edited , you will receive an email with a link to download the edited document.

The editor has made changes to your document using ‘ Track Changes ’ in Word.  This means that you only have to accept or ignore the changes that are made in the text one by one.

It is also possible to accept all changes at once. However, we strongly advise you not to do so for the following reasons:

  • You can learn much by looking at what mistakes you have made.
  • The editors do not only change the text, they also place comments when sentences or sometimes even entire paragraphs are unclear. We therefore advise you to read through these comments and take into account your editor’s tips and suggestions.
  • Because of the many changes, sometimes there may be double spaces, double periods, or other minor mistakes in a sentence. Checking the changes one by one, you can easily detect these minor errors.

We have written a manual in which we explain step by step how ‘Track Changes’ works.

Check out an example

Our editors are very experienced and will do their utmost to correct all errors in your thesis .

However, with our current rates, an editor can only check your thesis once. This may cause an editor to overlook an error. We can therefore not guarantee that your thesis is 100% error free after you have had your thesis edited.

The editor uses ‘Track Changes’ in Word when editing your thesis.

Don’t know how this works? Then read the following guide  in which we explain step by step how ‘Track Changes’ works.

No, we do not provide you with a clean copy. You will always receive a file edited with tracked changes .

We do this for two main reasons:

  • In most papers, there are sentences that the editor cannot edit without additional information from the author. In these cases, your editor will provide guidance but leave you to implement the feedback. If we were to simply accept the changes for you, then these issues would be left unaddressed.
  • We believe students should be accountable for their work. Our editors can correct language errors and coach you to be a better writer. However, the end product belongs to you and should reflect your ideas and decisions.

All Scribbr editors are language experts with interests in different subject areas.

You can indicate your field of study when you upload your document . We’ll make sure that the editor who proofreads your work is familiar with your discipline and its specialist vocabulary.

These are the fields of study you can choose from, and examples of the main subjects in each field:

  • Business and Management: Business Administration, Hotel Management, Accountancy, Marketing
  • Economics: Business Economics, Econometrics, Finance
  • IT and Engineering: ICT, Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Applied Mathematics, Civil Engineering, Industrial Design, Electrical Engineering
  • Natural and Life Sciences: Biomedical Sciences, Biology, Chemistry
  • Geography, Agriculture and Environment: Ecology, Earth Sciences, Environmental Studies, Urban Planning
  • Health and Medical Sciences: Medicine, Obstetrics, Pharmacy, Nutrition, Dentistry
  • Arts and Humanities: Philosophy, History, Literature, Cultural Studies, Theology
  • Law and Policy: Law, Political Science, Public Policy, Human Rights
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences: Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Communication Sciences

Editors don’t have to be experts in the content of your paper, but they do know how to present it in the best way possible! Our goal is to improve your writing and give you feedback on the readability, structure, logic, and clarity of your text. We know from experience that the most effective editors are specialists in language and academic writing.

We’ve carefully selected and trained all of our editors to proofread theses and other academic documents. Once they’re qualified, we continue to carefully monitor their work to make sure we always deliver the highest quality .

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Are You Ready To Test Your Proofreading Skills?

Even the most grammar-savvy amongst us benefit from a thorough proofreading of our work.

You may rely on an editor to check your work, or like many writers, it might be tempting to do a quick scan of your writing without thoroughly proofreading it.

But proofreading is as essential to your writing as writing is. It allows you to fix any errors that may obscure your intended meaning or distract your reader. It also helps you catch grammar and spelling mistakes , misused words, and punctuation errors.

If you have an editor, he or she can polish your work much more easily (and less expensively) if you’ve given it the careful once-over before the editing process.

If you don’t have an editor, proofreading can save you from embarrassing and critical comments from your readers.

Proofreading makes you a better, more mindful writer and, over time, it will cement the skills you need to be an accomplished writer.

Proofreading Test

Review this letter for mistakes:, corrected letter.

Here’s a checklist of actions you should take to properly proofread your writing:

  • Remove any distractions so you can concentrate on proofing your work.
  • Look for one type of writing problem at a time (first spelling errors, then word usage, etc.).
  • Read your writing out loud and silently.
  • Print a copy of your work to proofread it on paper.
  • Read it backward to spot any spelling mistakes .
  • Look out for homonyms (words that share the same spelling and pronunciation).
  • Double check contractions and apostrophes for common mistakes (like it’s and its or there and their).
  • Review carefully for punctuation mistakes. Look up anything you aren’t sure about.
  • Ask a friend to read your writing after you proofread it to check behind you.

So, why not spend a few minutes assessing your own proofreading skills with an easy and entertaining test?

woman on Mac computer at desk Proofreading test

To make this proofreading test more challenging, I’ve thrown in a variety of hurdles for you to spot and clear as you make your way to the finish line.

May you find the following proofreader and copy editor test as helpful and enjoyable as it was excruciating to write. Don’t let my agony be in vain.

Dear Ms. Adams;

We’ve recieved your manuscript and have read enough of it to offer this constructive critique, which we hope you’ll take unto consideration before sending us another sample of your work, we do value you’re time.

1. The beginning of your story is week. Try to evoke an emotional response within the first few paragraphs.

2. You use to many semicolons. Its distracting.

3. You use third person omiscient POV, which in our humble opinion, weakens the impact of your main characters painful situation.

4. You tell more then show what your characters are feeling. As Anton Checkov wrote: “Dont tell me the moon is shining, show me hte glint of light on broken glass.”

5. You switch points of view, jumping from one persons head to another without warning, it’s confusing and you risk loosing your reader’s trust end attention

6. The dialogue feels forced and unathentic: the southern accent is overdone and painful too read.

7. Your use of ellipsis is… awkward. And you use them quite alot. Consider removing most of them. Noone pauses that much..

8. You’re love of dashes is evident. Please eliminate most of them, and and make your sentences shorter clearer, and less wordy.

9. Please please please stop using dialog tags like “he grinned” or “she sighed”. You can’t sigh or grin words. It can’t be done. Stick with “said” but try to make it more obvious who is saying whom without using dialog tags for every quote. If you must indicate sighs, grins, and other nonverbal gestures set them apart from teh quotes with periods rather than commas .

10. Your main character launches into a stream of conscience monologue and his dialoge partner somehow doesn’t lapse into a coma before he finishes this is wishful thinking and makes it hard to sympathize with the mane character who’s soliloquy is way too long to keep you’re readers attention. We tired but had to skip to the end wear he finally sums it up nicely.

11. We dont really get to now your secondary character well enough to care about what happens to her. She listens to the main character and throws in a few responses hear and their but is otherwise bland and two dimensional. Her boyfriend the main character, does most of the talking, and she stairs out the window a lot and I mean a LOT. Yet we never find out weather she’s waiting for someone or something or if shes just really board. She’s certainly stiff as a board (see what i did they’re?).

12. My fellow editers here at Proper Publishing House agree with all the statements in this letter which I spent ours perfecting ought of sincere gratitude for your efforts and true dat concern for yore development as a writer.

13. We recommend you contact the services of a inexperienced proofreader or copyediter before submitting to us any future writing samples. Good proofreading makes such a deference!

In short let us offer you hour best hopes for the improvement of your writing don’t be discouraged keep at it and remember Proper Publishing House will always bee honest with you because

Sincerely and optimystically

Sarah jane Smythe

Cheif Editer

Now, it’s time to compare your corrections with the letter below. Keep in mind that not all your copyediting corrections have to look exactly like mine. There’s room for some creative improvisation. I’ve highlighted the errors and everything added or crossed out.

Dear Ms. Adams :

We’ve received your manuscript and have read enough of it to offer this constructive critique, which we hope you’ll take into consideration before sending us another sample of your work . We do value your time.

1. The beginning of your story is weak . Try to evoke an emotional response within the first few paragraphs.

2. You use too many semicolons. It’s distracting.

3. You use third person omniscient POV, which , in our humble opinion, weakens the impact of your main character’s painful situation.

4. You tell more than show what your characters are feeling. As Anton Chekhov wrote , “ Don’t tell me the moon is shining ; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

5. You switch points of view, jumping from one person’s head to another without warning. It’s confusing, and you risk losing your reader’s trust and attention.

6. The dialogue feels forced and inauthentic ; the Southern accent is overdone and painful to read.

7. Your use of ellipses is… awkward. And you use them quite a lot . Consider removing most of them. No one pauses that much.

8. Your love of dashes is evident. Please eliminate most of them, and and make your sentences shorter, clearer, and less wordy.

9. Please , please , please stop using dialogue tags like “he grinned” or “she sighed .” You can’t sigh or grin words. It can’t be done. Stick with “said , “ but try to make it more obvious who is saying what without using dialogue tags for every quote. If you must indicate sighs, grins, and other nonverbal gestures, set them apart from the quotes with periods rather than commas.

10. Your main character launches into a stream of consciousness monologue, and his dialogue partner somehow doesn’t lapse into a coma before he finishes . This is wishful thinking and makes it hard to sympathize with the main character , whose soliloquy is way too long to keep your reader’s attention. We tried but had to skip to the end where he finally sums it up nicely.

11. We don’t really get to know your secondary character well enough to care about what happens to her. She listens to the main character and throws in a few responses here and there but is otherwise bland and two-dimensional . Her boyfriend , the main character, does most of the talking, and she stares out the window a lot — and I mean a LOT. Yet we never find out whether she’s waiting for someone or something or if she’s just really bored. She’s certainly stiff as a board (see what i did they’re?).

12. My fellow editors here at Proper Publishing House agree with all the statements in this letter , which I spent hours perfecting out of sincere gratitude for your efforts and true dat concern for your development as a writer.

13. We recommend you contract the services of an experienced proofreader or copyeditor before submitting to us any future writing samples. Good proofreading makes such a difference !

In conclusion , let us offer you our best hopes for the improvement of your writing . Don’t be discouraged , keep at it , and remember Proper Publishing House will always be honest with you . because

Sincerely and optimistically ,

Sarah Jane Smythe

Chief Editor

More Related Articles:

12 Effective Tips On How To Write Faster

The Hemingway Editor And App Review

Hiring The Right Book Editor

Recovery Time

Maybe it’s time for a soothing cup of something. No hard feelings, I hope.

If you found value in this proofreading practice test, please share it with others. The purpose of this article, after all, is to help you and your fellow writers more accurately proofread your own work before submitting or publishing it.

It doesn’t hurt that while it was often painful not to proofread the sample letter while writing it, it was also pretty fun. I hope you enjoyed the exercise enough to pass it on.

And may your good humor and selfless commitment to the edification of your fellow writers infuse everything else you do today.

As a writer, you want to make sure you put your best foot forward with your work. Take this proofreading test to measure your copyediting skills.

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Rafal Reyzer

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10 Free Proofreading Tests (To Boost Your Editing Skills)

Author: Rafal Reyzer

Are you ready to kick-start your career as a proofreader?

How about testing your skills through a free proofreading test? Taking free proofreading quizzes will help you improve your editing capabilities rapidly. Can you take these tests without spending a dime? Yes! To make things easy for you, I’ve compiled tests that will help you grasp English grammar rules and common language errors. Are you ready to become a successful proofreader? Let’s do this!

The 10 Best Free Proofreading Tests Online:

1. earn smart online class.

earn smart online class quiz page

Earn Smart Online Class is an excellent platform for new proofreaders as it offers more than just proofreading tests. The website contains several tips for improving your proofreading skills. Although the proofreading test is short with a few multiple-choice questions, it tests your capability by asking questions where most proofreaders make mistakes. Thus, you can easily test your proofreading skills through this test. The good thing about this website is that besides offering an online test, it also provides a downloadable PDF. Thus, you can choose to take the test at your convenience. It also has an answer key to make sure you check your answers as well!

2. Freelance Writing

freelance writing quiz page

As the name suggests, Freelance Writing is a platform dedicated solely to writers. So, if you’re a proofreader, you can get much more from this website. I like this test and would suggest you take it as well because it’s different from many others. It specifically checks your professionalism on the job. The test isn’t composed of multiple-choice questions but of one paragraph with only a few grammatical errors. This test trains you to check documents written by professional writers as well. You’ll also find the solution at the end, which explicitly explains how it works to help improve your proofreading skills.

3. Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP)

CIEP quiz page

The proofreading test by the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP) is perhaps the best choice for people who want to test their copy-editing skills through a credible source. Unlike many other tests, it contains several multiple-choice questions. The questions also focus on a broad spectrum wherein you’ll have to highlight grammar mistakes, punctuation errors, language use, etc. The website has 14 quizzes, and you can download the PDF version of the test. You’ll also have to download the answer key, which is right next to the quiz. The best thing I like about this free proofreading test is that it focuses not only on grammar and spelling mistakes. Instead, you’ll learn a lot more to help you become a professional freelance proofreader.

4. Using English for Academic Purposes (UEfAP)

UEfAP quiz page

Using English for Academic Purposes (UEfAP) is a credible source with many tips and resources to help you improve your skills in checking copies for errors. It has several quizzes to test your proofreading skills, which you can take after learning the pointers taught by the site. It enables you to assess whether your proofreading skills have improved. Another good thing about this website is that it has a wide assortment of quizzes, including punctuation, parts of speech, spelling, word order, etc. By taking these quizzes, you can have a better grip on various parts of the English language, which will help you a lot in your proofreading career.

5. Grammar Book

grammar book quiz page

Grammar Book is another excellent website for writers and proofreaders because it contains a lot of tips and information to help boost your skills. You can find almost everything about English on this website. So, if you want to learn about proofreading and writing, as well as expanding your vocabulary , it can be an amazing resource. Apart from that, the website has 52 free quizzes and 4 free tests. If you want to access more, you’ll have to subscribe. However, I believe attempting the quizzes and tests is enough to help you improve your English skills . The quizzes are also of different types to help you unlock a broad range of knowledge about proofreading.

6. Portland Proof

portland proof quiz page

Portland Proof is a company that offers proofreading and editing to clients all over the world. This site is quite popular for providing amazingly professional services. As this company is a provider of proofreading services , we can rely on it to give us a better insight into doing this job. That’s why it has also designed quizzes and tests to evaluate your abilities. It offers different quizzes, each of which contains ten questions. You’ll have to check the mistake, and the next question will appear after attempting the one already on the screen. Attempting this test can be an excellent way to improve your proofreading skills.


proofread now quiz page is an excellent platform for both beginners and professional proofreaders. However, this quiz can be tough because it challenges you to spot the tiniest mistakes. Their meticulous method is excellent for testing your proofreading skills. That’s why professional proofreaders can also try it to polish their skills even more. The quiz consists of 10 multiple-choice questions, and it won’t take much time to solve them. However, you’ll have to rack your brain to spot and point out the tiniest mistakes. The quiz starts as soon as you select the first answer, and it’ll go on from there. Another thing, there is no do-over once you answer, so you have to think hard before solving.

8. AuthorityPub

authority pub quiz page

If you want to take a shot at really challenging tests to polish your proofreading skills, I recommend you try the tests made by AuthorityPub. The site provides you with amazing tips and tricks to improve your proofreading skills before you attempt to ace the quiz. It then offers the option for you to take the quiz to check if you’ve understood the guidelines. There are a lot of paragraphs for you to proofread and highlight the mistakes. After taking the test, you can check the answer key at the end.

9. Love To Know

love to know quiz page

Love To Know is another free online proofreading test that I liked a lot. The test itself is moderate, and the best thing about it is that it’s printable. This feature makes it easier for people who find it difficult to underline and highlight mistakes on the screen. This test won’t tell you the number of mistakes in the document beforehand. You must fish them out. This method is amazing because when clients give you documents to proofread, you will not be told about the number of mistakes as well. So, attempting this test can be an excellent way of getting some practical experience .

10. Sporcle

sporcle quiz page

What draws my attention to Sporcle’s proofreading test is that it has 25 questions and is much longer than standard proofreading tests. Also, unlike many other free proofreading tests, you only have a fixed time of 8 minutes to solve all 25 questions. So, it also helps develop your reading comprehension skills. It seems more difficult to solve because of the time pressure. As for the multiple-choice questions, the difficulty level varies as you go along. You’ll have to find the mistakes in each question and click the correct answer as the time ticks away.

Proofreading takes more than just spotting grammatical and spelling errors. You must be eagle-eyed in identifying even the smallest punctuation mistake. Sometimes, you even have to do quick fact-checking to ensure the veracity of each sentence before publishing. Taking a stab at a free proofreading test can be an excellent way to improve your English language skills and easily spot misspelled words or missing punctuation marks. Taking these tests repeatedly and improving your results will make a positive impression on your employers and perhaps even help you start a proofreading business . The best thing is that you can complete these quizzes at no extra cost. Later on, you can try a course for professional editors that will let you obtain certification and take your skills to the next level .

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Hey there, welcome to my blog! I'm a full-time blogger, educator, digital marketer, freelance writer, editor, and content manager with 10+ years of experience. I started to provide you with great tools and strategies you can use to become a proficient writer and achieve freedom through online creativity. My site is a one-stop shop for writers, digital marketers, and content enthusiasts who want to be independent, earn more money, and create beautiful things. Dive into my journey here , and don't miss out on my free PDF guide 80+ AI marketing tools .

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Testing copyeditors, part 2: take the editing test.

Editing tests taken as part of a job interview are a contentious topic among copyeditors. While some editors have no problem taking them, others are quite vocal about not taking them.

In this new series, I’m looking at the question from both sides: the test takers and the test givers. In part 1 , I outlined some reasons for skipping the test. This time, I’ll look at why you might take the editing test.

Why Would You Take a Copyediting Test?

There are some good reasons to not take a copyediting test, but there are some equally good reasons to take a test.

Taking a copyediting test is a good opportunity to show your skills, especially if your résumé doesn’t (yet) reflect your skills. It’s a Catch-22 problem: Hiring agents want experience but you can’t get experience without getting hired. A test can demonstrate your abilities and make the hiring agent feel more secure about you.

You might also take a test because it’s an example of what you’d be working on, giving you an idea of what the job will entail. Hiring isn’t a one-way street. You should get an opportunity to decide if the work is a good fit for you. It’s also a good opportunity to see if your style of editing is a good fit for the project.

Interestingly, no one seems to question tests as part of learning to copyedit, and copyediting teachers are most often experienced copyeditors. If you know the test is being handled by someone who is capable of judging your work, such as a senior or training editor, then the test shouldn’t be a problem.

What if the copy you’ll work on is something very different from what you’re used to, such as academic texts when your experience is in business texts? The hiring agent might like to know if you can make the transition; not everyone is good at all types of editing, after all. You’ll want to know, too, whether you can or even want to do it.

The biggest reasons to take a test, of course, are because the hiring agent wants you to and you want the job. Getting work often involves jumping through hoops, and this might be one of them.

This article was originally posted on the Copyediting website on September 8, 2015.

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A sticky note with the message

I’ve scoured the internet to bring you some of the best online proofreading tests and quizzes!

I recommend using a dictionary and other resources while taking these tests since professional proofreaders use resources while working. In fact, we couldn’t do our job without them!

Below, you’ll find helpful information about the assessments. I’ve tried to order them from easiest to hardest.

At the beginning, I’ve included a test I made to get the ball rolling!

Two tests are in UK English, and the rest are in US English.

Please keep in mind that there are spelling, punctuation, grammar, and vocabulary differences between British and American English. 

The duration of the test is listed as short or long.

Short means it will probably take you a few minutes to complete. Long just means it will probably take you more than a few minutes to finish; “long” really isn’t very long. Is that vague enough for you, lol?

I’ve included the number of quizzes on each website whenever more than one quiz is available. Some of these websites will probably add more tests over time.

I hope you have fun testing your skills and boosting your proofreading power!  😊

Om Proofreading

Test Format:  Multiple choice

Type of English:  US

Duration:  Long

Test-Taking Note:  This test focuses on mistakes that spellcheckers miss. Most sentences deal with homophones: words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings (and often different spellings). I hope you enjoy it!

Note: If you need to rid your writing (or someone else’s) of mistakes with homophones, the free version of Grammarly can catch a lot of homophonic errors! 

And if you aced the test above, you may want to check out my article about confusing homophones . It contains a fun quiz at the end to check your understanding!

Edit Republic

Quiz Format: Multiple choice

Type of English: US

Duration: Short

What the Company Offers: Site owner Phon Baillie has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. She offers several courses for those interested in working as proofreaders or editors.

Portland Proof

Quiz Format: Find the error in each sentence and write the correct word or punctuation mark in the text box

Duration: Short; I’m not sure how many quizzes are on this site, but it seems to have quite a few. I think they’re a ton of fun!

Quiz-Taking Tip:  Click the “Begin Game!” button to start the quiz. Your score is based on how many mistakes you make and how long it takes you to correct each sentence. You can compete with other quiz takers for the highest score.

What the Company Offers: This company provides proofreading services.

Test/Quiz Format: Multiple choice; 4 tests and 52 quizzes are available

Duration: Long (the 2 pretests and 2 mastery tests); Short (the other 52 quizzes)

What the Company Offers: This website is based on Jane Straus’s The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation . I own and love this book!

The site is a fantastic resource for proofreaders and copy editors as it teaches the rules for English grammar, punctuation, and usage. It includes 4 free tests and 52 free quizzes. Hundreds of additional quizzes are available with a paid subscription.

Grammar Monster

online copyediting test

Test Format: Varies

Duration: Short (334 total tests!!!)

What the Company Offers: This site provides a wealth of knowledge about grammar, punctuation, and commonly misused words. And, of course, truckloads of tests are available. You can hone your English language skills to your heart’s content!

Quiz Format: Find the error in each sentence

Type of English: Not a relevant factor in this case (but UK punctuation is used)

Duration: Long

Quiz-Taking Tip: You have to click on the correct answer (located in the word bank below each sentence).

What the Company Offers: Sporcle provides trivia entertainment online and at live shows. If you’re into trivia, you’ll love this site!


Test Format: Find the punctuation error in each sentence

What the Company Offers: This company is dedicated to helping people become experts in business writing.

Proofread NOW .com

Quiz-Taking Tip: As soon as you click inside the bubble to mark your answer, the quiz moves on, and you can’t go back.

What the Company Offers: Proofreading and copyediting for documents written in English and Spanish; English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English translation services

Employment for Proofreaders: Yes. However, they weren’t hiring the last time I checked. They require a minimum of five years of experience as a professional proofreader. You must also perform exceptionally well on several complicated editing tests.

You can go here to see if they’re currently hiring.

Grammar Lion

online copyediting test

Test Format: Multiple choice

Duration: Short 

Test-Taking Note: You need to create an account to access this free test. I took it and enjoyed it! You can take the test now and then retake it after finishing the Grammar Lion Refresher class to see how much you’ve learned.

Test-Taking Tip: You can’t go back on any questions, so make sure you’re happy with your answer before moving on. After finishing the test, choose “Next Lesson” to see your score. 

What the Company Offers: Site owner Ellen Feld has a master’s degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University. She offers a grammar course and a writing course, both suitable for beginners. Ellen also provides coaching services for writers.

The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP)

Test Format: Finding errors in a passage of text

Type of English: UK

Test-Taking Note: One question requires a bit of copyediting

What the Company Offers: The CIEP is a nonprofit organization that puts forth editorial standards. They serve as a community that provides support and training to people working in the editorial profession. They have useful resources and offer unique benefits to paying members.

CMOS Shop Talk (from The Chicago Manual of Style )

Workout Format: Multiple choice; 47 workouts are available

Workout Tip: Remember to breathe deeply and engage your core. Oops! I mean, enjoy this fabulous resource! These workouts mainly contain questions related to proofreading; however, they also include questions about editing and knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS).

I own a hard copy of CMOS and have an online subscription. CMOS is my go-to guide for proofreading and copyediting.

CMOS Shop Talk is an incredibly valuable resource for general proofreaders!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do i prepare for a proofreading test.

To get ready for a proofreading test , you need to know the details of the exam (e.g., if it has a particular focus, any style guide requirements, or a time limit).

You can take practice proofreading tests to boost your confidence and uncover areas that need improvement, such as specific aspects of grammar and punctuation. Then, you can use online resources and reference books to improve your skills.

What is a proofreading test?

A proofreading test evaluates an individual’s proofreading proficiency. These tests are administered for various purposes: to assess job candidates, verify progress made in a proofreading class, or determine if someone should earn a particular credential.

What are five items to check when proofreading?

Five items to check while proofreading are grammar, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and formatting. Proofreaders fix errors and inconsistencies in these areas. They also look for proper usage and repeated or omitted words. Verifying that writing adheres to a style guide may be needed too.

Is there a website that can proofread my paper?

The best website I’ve found that can proofread a paper is Grammarly’s free grammar checker . However, please know it’s unlikely that this checker will catch all the mistakes in your writing. If you have an important, complex, or long text, I’d recommend hiring a proofreader.

I hope you’ve enjoyed putting your proofreading skills to the test!

Please see my post about the skills proofreaders possess if you’d like more information about this topic. 

Om Proofreading also has an article about the signs you would make a good proofreader !

Best wishes to you! 

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou

online copyediting test

Lindsay Babcock

Lindsay is the creator of Om Proofreading. She has a BA in psychology and earned a certificate in proofreading by passing the final exam in Proofread Anywhere’s general proofreading course. She shares what she’s learning in the field and through research to inform and inspire her readers.

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The New York Times

Times insider | copy edit this quiz no. 17.


Times Insider

Copy edit this quiz no. 17.

JUNE 26, 2019

The Times’s standards editor, Philip B. Corbett, and his colleagues invite readers to correct grammatical errors in recent New York Times articles. You can take other quizzes here .

Here’s the latest installment of our copy editing quiz. Each of the passages below, from recent Times articles, contains at least one clear error in grammar or word usage. I’m not counting less-than-elegant phrasing that could be improved, or other more subjective editing judgments.

You don’t have to explain the error or fix it; just click on the part you think is wrong. If I agree, you’ll see my explanation. If you’re off base, try again.

And remember, we’re on deadline here!

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Editing Quiz

Instructions:  Consider your corrections for each sentence below. Do not avoid any grammatical issues. Then click on the question to view the correct answer.

Test Your Knowledge

1. volkswagon is only having trouble with one of there new models..

Volkswagen (spelling) is having trouble with only (adverb placement) one of its (a company is an "it," not a "they") new models.

2. The grand marshal gave his councel to whoever sought it.

The grand marshal gave his counsel (spelling) to whoever (this is the subject of the verb "sought," so it needs to stay "whoever") sought it.

3. Only one of the people who work in the lab is a vetinarian.

Only one of the people who work in the laboratory (spell out on first reference; thereafter, "lab" is fine) is a veterinarian (spelling).

4. He claimed he knows a star athalete who will sign with the school.

He said ("said" is neutral and always the best choice in journalism) he knew (sequence of tenses) a star athlete (spelling) who would (sequence of tenses) sign with the school.

5. He felt bad due to the unhygenic accomodations.

He felt bad because of ("because of" was previously preferred in constructions like this one, but few people know that anymore and so won't be distressed by "due to") the unhygienic (spelling) accommodations (spelling).

6. He looks like he can pitch real good.

He looks as if he can pitch well (use an adverb, not an adjective, here).

7. Travelling acrost the U.S., it's vastness effected her.

Traveling (one "L" is the preferred U.S. spelling) across (spelling) the United States, she ("she" was the one traveling, so "she" needs to be the subject of the main clause to avoid a dangling participle) was affected by its (possessive "its" takes no apostrophe) vastness.

8. Like I said, he should be like I and do like I do.

He should be like me (object) and do as ("as" is preferred over "like" in this kind of construction) I do.

9. He wanted to know if the criteria is valid.

He wanted to know whether (if it's a yes/no situation rather than a conditional, "whether" is preferred) the criterion ("criteria" is plural; "criterion" is the singular) was (sequence of tenses) valid.

10. Joe told his wife Alice he likes his mistress better than her.

Joe told his wife, Alice, (assuming Joe has but one wife, her name is an appositive that needs to be set off with commas) that he liked his mistress more (liking is a matter of quantity, so use "more" or "less," not "better" or "worse") than her.

11. The hero was presented with an historic award by the Congressman.

The hero received (an active construction is better here) a historic (use "a" when you pronounce the "h") award from the congressman (lowercase).

12. This is different than and hopefully more preferrable over that.

This is different from (use "from" in most cases with "different") and hopefully (in modern usage, "hopefully" is acceptable to mean "it is hoped") preferable (spelling) to (use "to" and not "over" with "preferable") that.

13. Its easy to see the difference between she and I.

It's easy to see the difference between her and me (these are objects of the preposition "between," so they need to be the objective pronoun forms).

14. We must try and keep up with the Jones.

We must try to ("try to..." instead of "try and...")  keep up with the Joneses (one Jones, two or more Joneses).

15. What kind of a woman could like those kind of men.

What kind of (no need for the indefinite article here) woman could like that kind (If "kind" is singular, the rest of the phrase needs to be also) of man? (this is a question so needs a question mark)

16. The principle reason for Lopez' dismissal was because he behaved wierd.

The principal (spelling) reason for Lopez's (form the possessive with apostrophe-s) dismissal was that ("reason" implies a cause, so "because" is unnecessary) he behaved weirdly (spelling, plus an adverb is needed here, not an adjective).

17. Neither her or him know how to play the ukalele.

Neither she nor he (these are subjects so need to be the subject pronoun forms) knows (singular verb, because we're talking about "she" or "he," not both) how to play the ukulele (spelling).

18. Have you got a recipe for a clam chowder soup which won't make me nauseous.

Do you have (preferred over "have you got") a recipe for clam chowder (chowder is soup, so "chowder soup" is redundant) that won't make me nauseated ("nauseated" once meant feeling ill and "nauseous" once meant inducing nausea, but "nauseous" has shifted in common usage to also mean feeling ill, so either is OK. Or change to "won't nauseate me.")?

Ready for more challenges?

The Ultimate Editing Test

See if you have what it takes to edit with the best!

  • I’m no editor, I’m a super editor!
  • I am not an editor; I’m a super-editor!
  • I’m not an editor. I’m a super-editor!
  • I’m no editor; I’m a super editor!
  • 2. How many words are misspelled in the following paragraph? The last time I went to Conneticut, I picked chrysanthemums a long the boulavard. They were in such abundence that their were to many to count. I was wholely overwelmed by the stuning vista. If my schedule ever accommodates another visit, I’ll bring a camera. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
  • “I want you to say, “I’m a good editor.””
  • There is nothing I can’t correct.
  • The letter “i” usually preceeds the “e.”
  • Are you sure there isn’t something wrong with me?
  • How sure are you.
  • Optional: Email my results, and sign me up for your blog!
  • What's your name? First Last
  • Phone This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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Copyediting and Technical Communication Information Session (INFO-70034)Free | Online Are you interested in a new career as a copyeditor or technical communicator, but not sure where to begin? Explor...

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Grammar Lab (WCWP-40234)10 Weeks | OnlineThis ten-week online Grammar Lab course is skillfully designed to meet the needs of all students. It is beneficial for those with little grammar experience and...

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Copyediting I (WCWP-40236)10 Weeks | OnlineAs a copyeditor (or copy editor), you will be expected to proofread text for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling and check for readability, style, ...

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Copyediting II (WCWP-40237)10 Weeks | OnlinePractice judicious and defensible editing in Copyediting II so you can master how to thrive as a copyeditor (or copy editor ) in the modern-day workplace. ...

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Copyediting III (WCWP-40238)10 Weeks | OnlineAre you ready for your first major editing assignments? In this course, you carry out heavy edits on all elements of two manuscripts. You will also work on...

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Digital Landscape for Editors WCWP-40340

Digital Landscape for Editors (WCWP-40340)10 Weeks | Online Interacting in the digital space is a frequently expected skill for freelance and staff editors. In Digital Landscape for Editors, you will...

online copyediting test

Required Tools

  • Internet access
  • Scanner access (for use in Copyediting I course)
  • Acrobat Reader 11.0 (or newest available)
  • Microsoft Word 2016 or newer

Certificate Guidelines

Grammar Lab, Copyediting I, II, and III must be taken in sequence. You must earn a Pass (C-) or better grade in each course.

Conditions for Admission

You must have native-level fluency with English and must write clear, logical, and grammatically correct sentences. You will need a computer, a high-speed internet connection, MS Word 2016 or later, and proficiency with all of the above.

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional questions.

For questions regarding our classes and certificates, please contact us at [email protected] or 858-534-5760.

What is the difference between proofreading and copyediting?

Copyediting Copyeditors make multiple passes and work directly with the author. They look at the following::




The use of italics and bold type

Treatment of quotations

Treatment of numbers and numerals

Treatment of special elements, such as lists and charts

The formatting of footnotes and endnotes

Consistency and clarity throughout a document.

Fact-checking information—for instance, whether an important date is correct in the text

Rephrasing awkward language

Maintaining author's voice

Proofreading Proofreading is the final stage of editing a manuscript before it is printed. Proofreaders are unlikely to do multiple passes or to have any interaction with the author, as they are working directly with editors. They look for egregious errors and formatting issues, like the following:

Errors that were introduced during the formatting process, such as dropped words or even dropped paragraphs.

Other typographical and layout errors, such as whether a word breaks badly at the end of a sentence or whether a paragraph breaks at a bad spot over two pages.

Any misalignments, such as incorrect margin and line spacing.

Consistency between the table of contents and chapter names as well as page numbers.

Whether the front matter and back matter are in the right place. Front matter includes the title page, copyright page, and table of contents. Back matter may contain the author’s bio, an appendix, an index, and a glossary.

Whether headlines or titles, photographs, text, and even advertising all make sense on a page. For instance, in a newspaper or magazine, you typically do not want an ad from an airline company next to a story about a plane crash, or on a corporate website, an article about a bank collapse and neighboring ads inviting the reader to apply for the bank’s credit card.

Advisory Board

Samantha Enslen

Teresa Schmedding

Sara Ziegler

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Last updated on Nov 07, 2023

Copy Editing Certificates: Do You Need One and Where to Get It?

This article was written in collaboration with professional copy editors Kelsy Thompson , Maggie Lyons , Mary-Theresa Hussey , Amanda Rutter .

A lot of industries require some sort of accreditation or certification in order to join them — and editing is no exception. Copy editing certificates are often meant to ensure that new professionals are up-to-date with industry standards and know what the job requires from them. It’s also a great way for current and prospective editors to acquire new skills and broaden their professional scope.

That said, is it necessary for you to get a certificate if you want to become a copy editor ? And what are the best options for an editing certificate, if you choose to take one? We’re answering all your pressing questions in this post. 

Do you need a copy editing certificate to become a copy editor?

The short answer is no, a copy editing (also sometimes written as copyediting) certificate won’t be necessary. The long answer is that it depends on your previous work experience, education, and professional network.

Copy Editing Courses | Why You Should Get an Editing Certificate

“I don't think a certificate is necessarily required, but it certainly makes things easier than muddling through by oneself,” says editor Kelsy Thompson . “Authors tend to favor certified copy editors over non-certified ones — rightfully so. And I think the certification programs are very helpful and a very efficient way to learn how to become a copy editor .”

On the other hand, editor Maggie Lyons says:

“None of my clients has ever asked if I have certification. Many prospective clients ask me to provide a sample of my work or take their editing test as all the proof they need of my competence. Other clients are happy to hire my services on the strength of a colleague's referral.”

So it really depends on the situation. Usually, it’s more beneficial for a beginner to take up a course and earn a copy editing certificate: it’s a good way to learn the basic techniques and give yourself some credentials so that potential clients know that you’re trustworthy. If you’ve already got some copy editing experience, the impact that new certificates have on your career might be less noticable. 



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Is a copy editing certificate worth it?

The cost and time dedicated to copy editing classes might not seem appealing to some aspiring editors. However, there are some benefits that can make taking copy editing courses pay off — let’s take a look at them. 

Improve or gain new copyediting skills

No matter how good at English you are, how confident in spotting errors, or assessing writing, you might still be surprised at the nuances of written language as you sit down and work on it. This is especially true when you consider the fact that language is evolving all the time . A good editor thus knows that learning (and re-learning) about conventions in language usage is part of the job. 

A good copy editing course is a great chance to carefully revise and learn the rules of language, get familiar with best practices, as well as see how they apply to contemporary situations. More importantly, you’ll also get to brush up on the nitty-gritty of being a professional, as certified copy editor and former executive editor at Harlequin, Mary-Theresa Hussey , explains:

“A certification program is useful to reinforce grammar, style, as well as learn how to make changes and the differences in the roles that the line and copy editor fulfill.”

Give you a leg up

Getting a certificate might also give you the favorable plus point to sway potential clients towards hiring you. When you’ve never had a professional collaboration, for example, a certificate is proof that you’ve completed some training and are able to carry out the tasks that the clients need your help with. 

Editor Amanda Rutter says that:

“A certificate can provide a springboard that opens doors to publishers that you may not have worked with previously. If you are ‘cold calling’ a publisher, in order to try to make new contacts and obtain further freelancing editing roles , having some form of certification will definitely make them examine your proposal for work more carefully than if you were just someone who has read and enjoyed a lot of novels.”

Options for copy editing courses

So, say you decide to sign up to a copy editing course — what options do you have? There are plenty of resources for you to choose from, though Amanda Rutter shares that “any course that is directly recommended or provided by official bodies would carry a lot more weight than those by smaller companies that aren't as familiar.”

Other criteria alongside the institution providing the training program may include:

  • The duration 
  • The course’s online availability

The last point is important because many aspiring copy editors are busy with other aspects of their life and find great convenience in remote working, as all you really need as a copy editor is a laptop. The list below is curated with all of this in mind, so that you can find the best copy editing certificate to bolster your career.

1. UC San Diego 

Cost: $2,566 

Duration: 12 months 

Copy Editing Courses | UC San Diego's Logo

It’s worth noting that the course is more focused on nonfiction editing — not that the skills needed in that genre can’t be applied elsewhere in book and magazine editing . but the type of texts can have some impact on how you apply your skills, as nonfiction may require a deeper insight into referencing. The course also requires students to follow schedule, so it’s not the most flexible for those who might be otherwise engaged. 

2. University of Chicago 

Cost: $6,500

Duration: 9-24 months 

We can’t leave out this university when it comes to editing courses, given that it’s the birthplace of the Chicago Manual of Style. As you can guess, this style guide will be quintessential to the certificate program provided by University of Chicago . 

In addition to four core copy editing courses which will whip your spelling and editing skills into shape (like teaching you how to create a style sheet) you can also choose to take electives in developmental editing, medical editing, or even copyright (which is ideal for those interested in managing editor roles ). Chicago’s course is also more exciting than UCSD’s in that it allows for in-person and hybrid classes, as well as online ones. 

The main drawback to enrolling into this program is its cost and the time commitment that it requires. 

3. Emerson College 

Cost: $1,625

Duration: 45.5 contact hours over a maximum of 2 years 

If you prefer a more flexible schedule, then Emerson College has just the right editing certification program for you. Emerson teaches all aspects of copy editing, from grammar to inclusive language, in 9 modules to be taken within 2 years in any order you prefer. All modules are taught online and require that you be there for live webinars, but other than that, you’re free to organize your own study schedule.

4. Queen’s University 

Cost: $1,875 (Canadian dollar) 

Duration: 15-24 months 

Copy Editing Certificates | Queen's University's Logo

Each course is taught over a period of two months and is usually open for enrollment once every term. In other words, one of the biggest drawbacks of this course is its time requirements — it’ll take a minimum of 5 terms (over a year) to complete the certification. Moreover, each course asks for 100 hours of work, which is quite demanding if you're moonlighting or have a regular job to keep up with. 

5. Publishing Training Centre

Cost: £300-£700 

Duration: Up to 18 months

The Publishing Training Centre specializes in getting professionals ready to work in publishing , whether as an in-house employee or as a freelancer. They offer a range of programs, though the most suitable for aspiring copy editors is probably Essential Copy-Editing . 

This program is done in a self-paced manner, so there’s no strict time commitment on a day-to-day basis. You’ll be assigned a personal tutor who will advise you all the way through each assessment, so this is a great chance to focus on improving your particular skillset. 

6. Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP)

Cost: £191-£879 

Duration: Up to 18 months 

Similar to the Publishing Training Centre, the CIEP (previously known as the Society for Editors and Proofreaders) provides a range of online editing courses. Their 3-course series on copy editing lets you advance level by level as you please. Each course can be finished within 6 months, at your own pace. 

At the end of each, you get a certificate, so you can choose to stop at whichever level you think is appropriate and still be certified. While you don’t get a personal tutor, you do get a chance to enter a mentoring scheme at the end of your level 3 course, where you can ask advice and gain insights straight from a professional. 

On that note, the importance of a good mentorship relationship should not be underestimated. The right mentor can be as valuable as a high-quality course, as shown through editor Michael McConnell ’s experience. “I have never taken a copyediting course. I do not have a certificate. I had the good fortune to work with an editor/proofreader named Kathleen Finneran. She taught me about type sizes, fonts, specs, page layout, and editing.”

7. American Copy Editors Society (ACES)

Cost: $150-$600 

Duration: Up to 1 year 

Copy Editing Certificates | ACES logo

Both courses are online, though the advanced program is taught in faculty-led seminars rather than self-paced lessons.

8. Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA)

Cost: $200 

Duration: 4-6 weeks 

Taught by editors and members of the EFA itself, the courses that the association offers are usually shorter and more infrequent than some of the others on this list since the schedule depends on which professional is available. That said, their copyediting courses are effective in covering the basics and providing good exercises to practice one’s skills and practice linguistic accuracy, so it’s worth checking into their catalog of courses every now and then to catch the right opportunities. 

9. Writer’s Digest 

Cost: $799 

Duration: 10 weeks 

Through 10 weekly lessons taught by experienced copy editors in news and book publishing, the copy editing certificate program run by Writer’s Digest is a suitable crash course for all those who are planning to start their freelance editing career. The first half of the course covers craft topics like paragraph structures and syntax; the second half focuses on professional skills like how to leave effective comments on texts and manuscripts, and where to find editing jobs. 

You won’t get live classes with this one, though you’ll still be able to communicate with and get feedback from your instructor throughout the program, as you hand in assignments. 

10. Editors Canada

Cost: $550 (Canadian dollar)

Copy Editing Certificates | Editors Canada Logo

While they don’t teach, Editors Canada do offer a lot of free resources for you to look at prior to your certification exam. They also advise that you work on a couple of editing gigs before signing up so that you have some practical knowledge. This is a great choice for more experienced editors who want extra credentials to take their career to the next level. 

For more resources, you can take a look at our list of quintessential books about editing that every professional should read. 

While copy editing certificates may not be the best option for everyone, there are definite benefits to obtaining one. It’s best to carefully consider your level of experience and your career goals before you decide to get one. Either way, we wish you the best of luck!



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Copy Editing Test: Trivia Quiz!


A copy editor revises the material & corrects it. Our fun ' Copy editing test trivia quiz!' will check your working knowledge of basic English grammar. Do you possess enough English skills to answer our questions correctly? The questions below are the kinds of style questions you might encounter from time to time on the job. We ask you to check the boxes next to the answer you think is correct. Try your best to get a high score. Let's see how well you perform. We wish you all the best Good Luck!

He ordered ___________ worth of cookies from Corner Bakery.

A hundred dollars

One hundred dollars

None of the above

Rate this question:

He was __________ attempted murder.

Charged with

Charged with allegedly

Legally charged with

Let me see whether I can ____________ a pair of tickets to Pearl Jam.

Kuwait ordered 16 new ____________., the $1 million donation from the industrialist did not ______ my vote against the "clean air act.", joe and pete are going to have an early-morning surf session that _______ going to remember for years..


I can't believe ___ the end of the day already.

He's / hers 

She hasn't ____________ a hand on him since Tuesday.

Neither hannah nor her sisters __________ been to the movie "hannah and her sisters.", the kicking game, as well as the running game, _________________________..

Are entirely different matters

Is an entirely different matter

Is a big matter

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    Contact our department at 858-534-5760 or [email protected]. For those who are considering entering the field of copyediting via UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies's Copyediting Certificate Program, we invite you to join our LinkedIn group of current students, graduates, and writing professionals. Format: Online. In-class options not available.

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