On both these points, it was nice to be stretched and try out something new – and to reassure myself that I was able to cope with new types of proofreading task. In some cases, I deliberately limited how long I spent on the exercises so as to test my accuracy, and was pleased to find that I generally picked up everything on a single read-through (in real-world jobs, I generally do two read-throughs).
The third and most important difference is that, unlike Proofreading 1, Proofreading 2 is assessed. The first two exercises are checked to ascertain that the person taking the course is of a sufficiently high standard, while the final exercise determines whether they have passed the course overall. It was a considerable advantage to have this sort of direct feedback on my work, with more detailed explanations of better ways to correct certain errors and discussion of cases where the correct approach is not entirely black and white. I was also able to raise specific queries, to which I received helpful answers. I scored 90% on all three tests: funnily enough, I did particularly well on the use of the BSI symbols despite not having used them much before, but was less good at spotting “layout” errors such as alignment, spacing and “widows” (as mentioned in my previous post, such errors were emphasised less in my previous in-house proofreading training, so this is clearly an area I need to work on).
Having passed the course, I feel more confident in my abilities going forward, and also that I could tackle types of proofread that I don’t currently work on (even if, as the examiner acknowledged, proofreading against copy is increasingly rare these days). Passing the course also entitles me to register for mentoring with the SfEP, which could be a very useful next step in sharpening up my skills.