Proofreading 2: Headway

Who is this course suitable for?

This course is for people who have some knowledge and experience of proofreading and would like to learn more. Specifically designed to sit between Proofreading 1: Introduction and Proofreading 3: Progress, Proofreading 2: Headway builds on the basic skills you already have to improve your concentration, focus and judgement.

We recommend that you take Proofreading 1: Introduction before you tackle this course.

Course description

This course guides you through common editorial conventions, house styles, layout issues and the basics of dealing with texts involving illustrations, tables, notes and references. The exercises cover a variety of texts ranging from public information to academic books. They provide you with plenty of practice in spotting and marking errors both on screen and on paper and are designed to help you develop strategies for dealing with increasingly demanding texts.

Proofreading 2: Headway is an assessed course, with three assignments marked by your tutor. In addition, you have 1 hour of tutor support as part of your course. Further hours can be purchased at £36.80 per hour.

What you should know after the course

After taking this course you will:

  • be better at spotting errors
  • have strategies for dealing with common proofreading problems
  • be more confident in your ability to judge what must be changed and what is ‘good enough’ to leave
  • have a basic understanding of how to deal with more complex elements such as illustrations, tables, notes and references.

As a result of your tutor’s marks and comments, you should also know what you need to work on to improve your proofreading skills.

At the end of this course, you will have sufficient knowledge to work professionally on shorter, uncomplicated texts. However, to acquire the full range of skills that a professional proofreader needs to enable them to work in a variety of professional settings, we strongly advise you to study further with Proofreading 3: Progress.

Requirements for taking this course

This course requires you to understand the basics of proofreading as taught in Proofreading 1: Introduction, including:

  • the types of error a proofreader is expected to spot and correct
  • how to mark those errors on paper and on screen using BSI symbols, PDF markup tools and Word Track Changes
  • some of the common editorial conventions in the UK and how to apply them
  • an understanding of how to exercise judgement in how much to change
  • the difference between proofreading and proof-editing
  • the importance of obtaining sufficient guidance from the client regarding the work they expect
  • where proofreading fits into a variety of publication processes.

If you are unsure about any of these aspects, then you are strongly advised to take course Proofreading 1: Introduction before attempting this course.

You will also need:

  • Fluency in English
  • Good knowledge of English grammar
  • Wide general knowledge
  • Familiarity with the functions of word processing programs; this course assumes use of MS Word (Office 365)
  • Familiarity with basic markup tools for PDFs (this course assumes knowledge of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC)

While this course provides helpful links to information on these aspects, it does not teach the rules of grammar or spelling, or how to use the software.

Curriculum snapshot

I found the course super – well-designed and very interesting. The tutor was excellent. Her comments were extremely useful. I can see very clearly what my strengths and weaknesses are.


A good, effective course, which was quite challenging. For the final assignment, my tutor provided a fully corrected response, which was very helpful.


My tutor always promptly returned my assignments, usually in less than week. Her comments were fair, constructive and positive.


I enjoyed the course and found it quite challenging, particularly with regard to the marking up of PDFs; this was an area unfamiliar to me so I needed to do a lot of extra reading on this.


Availability, prices and upgrade points

Two upgrade points are awarded for completing this course, and a further three for passing the final assignment.

Achieving a pass indicates that you are ready, if you wish, to move on to the more advanced Proofreading 3: Progress.

Price (members)  
Price (non members)  
CIEP upgrade points 5
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Other price discounts are available. See the fees page.

E-learning courses take between 10 and 45 hours to complete, depending on the course, but you have access to the course materials for 6 months.

Prices are exclusive of tax, which will be added automatically at your local rate at checkout.

Course structure

Time allowed for access: 6 months CIEP upgrade points: completion 2; pass 5
Approximate study time needed to complete the course: 20–25 hours

This is an assessed course. You will be assigned a tutor who will be available for up to one hour of support (usually by email).

Your tutor will also mark and provide feedback on three assignments.

The first exercise, in Unit 1, is self-assessed and gives you the chance to revise and practise what you learnt in Proofreading 1: Introduction. The second assignment, in Unit 2, is marked so that both you and your tutor can assess whether you are at about the right level for the course (if you are struggling, you can put the course on hold and come back to it later after more training or experience). A second tutor-marked assignment comes in Unit 3, and your result for the course will be assessed in the final assignment in Unit 6. The exercises in Units 4 and 5, like Unit 1, are self-assessed against model answers. Your overall performance on the final assignment determines whether you have passed the course.

Unit 1 reminds you of the main methods of proofreading on screen and on paper and summarises good working practices, whatever the type of proofreading required.

Unit 2 helps you to develop concentration and focus so that you can keep your eye on all the different aspects of a publication that you need to deal with.

Unit 3 helps you to develop your understanding and judgement of how to decide what must be changed and what is 'good enough' to leave as it is.

Unit 4 explains the complexities of house style and gives you confidence to make style decisions for yourself and to compile your own style sheet.

Unit 5 provides an overview of how to tackle the elements that are not part of the main text, including tables and illustrations.

Unit 6 looks at strategies for checking the ‘whole picture’ and ensuring that any publication is complete, clear, consistent and ready for its intended readers.

When you have finished the course you can download and print a certificate that states either that you have 'passed' the course – with merit or with distinction if you do well – or, if you have not passed, that you have at least completed it.

Time management

  • When you are planning your coursework, allow time for your tutor to respond to any queries you raise and for your three assignments to be marked before the course expiry date.
  • Tutors usually respond to ad hoc queries about the course within a day or so.
  • All CIEP tutors are also full-time editors, so they are unlikely to be able to mark your work immediately upon receipt.
  • Tutors will guarantee to mark and return your assignments within three weeks of you submitting them, except in exceptional circumstances. In such circumstances, your tutor will contact you to explain the delay.
  • Marking turnaround is usually considerably shorter than three weeks.
  • We strongly recommend that you wait for the return of your marked work before attempting the next section of the course.

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