Course FAQ

ASI Training in Indexing Course
Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is the ASI Training in Indexing Course?
    A self-study course of four modules, A-D, adapted under license from the British Society of Indexers’ (SI), leading to a Certificate of Completion in Indexing Training.
  2. For whom is the course designed?
    Beginning indexers, people seeking a career change, information workers, editors, and writers, as well as people with some experience in indexing who want to validate, broaden, or update skills. Only members of ASI may take the course.
  3. Is the course available to indexers outside the US?
    Yes, if the indexer is a member of the American Society for Indexing.
  4. What do I need in terms of equipment or software to complete the course?
    A computer and word processing/document creation software, such as Microsoft Word. The course material will recommend books for purchase that will help with your study and that are valuable as references during a career in indexing. The course does not require dedicated indexing software to produce the indexes to meet exam requirements.
  5. What content is covered in the Modules?
    • Module AIntroducing Indexing: Indexers, Users, and Documents
      An introduction to the function of indexes and how indexers
      work, including basic terminology, the characteristics of indexers, the process of indexing, and authors and document originators.
    • Module BChoosing the Words: Term Selection and the Formation and Arrangement of Main Headings and Subheadings
      Guidance on intellectual processes of indexing, including identifying and selecting terms to index, kinds and forms of headings and subheadings, cross-referencing to indicate relationships and assist searching, and alphabetization.
    • Module CNames and Numbers: Sorting Order, Proper Names, and Locators
      Covers the principles and rules of index arrangement, use of multiple indexes, inclusion of proper names in indexes, and page numbers/locators.
    • Module DFinishing Touches and Beyond: Index Presentation, Specialized Forms and Applications
      Includes book and journal indexing processes, finished index presentation, embedded, website indexing, team, and cumulative indexing.

    Each module includes quizzes and exercises related to the content, and students are encouraged to complete all of them for practice before taking the exams.

  6. How much time is needed to complete the course?
    Each module requires 40-50 hours of study. The minimum amount of time needed is five months. The maximum amount of time allowed is four years. It is anticipated that most students will finish in 12 to 18 months.
  7. Are there any exceptions to the maximum limit of four years?
    In special circumstances, a six-month extension may be granted by the Course
  8. What does the course cost?
    The price of each module includes one exam attempt and is as follows:

    • Module A—$150
    • Module B—$150
    • Module C—$175
    • Module D—$200

    Overall minimum cost for the course, excluding ASI membership, is $675. Additional costs include the purchase of recommended reference books.

  9. How were the prices determined?
    ASI bases the prices on its costs, and keeps prices in line with those of the SI Training Course and with other training programs available in the US.
  10. What if I pay for a module and then decide I don’t want to complete the module or take/finish the course?
    Students may request a refund of a module registration fee within thirty days of receipt of login information for that module, provided the exam for that module has not been downloaded. When a refund is issued, password access to the course website is cancelled, and the student is disenrolled from the course.
  11. Are there any required textbooks for the course?
    All the material required for the exams is contained in the module documents, quizzes, and exercises.
    However, students are encouraged to begin assembling their indexing reference libraries by the time they begin Module B. Useful texts are Indexing Books, 2nd edition, by Nancy Mulvany, and Ten Characteristics of Quality Indexes by Margie Towery, and especially the indexing chapter of The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition, which may be purchased as an ebook or paperback book here.
    By the time they start Module C, some students find the conceptual approach to indexing in Facing the Text: Content and Structure in Book Indexing by Do Mi Stauber, Cedar Row Press, 2004, to be very helpful.
  12. How does the exam process work?
    Each module contains self-assessment exercises to evaluate readiness for the exam. When you are ready, download the exam from the ASI Training page. The exams must be completed within the time limits set for each module—2 weeks from date of download for Module A, 3 weeks for Module B, 4 weeks for Module C, and 6 weeks for Module D—and sent to the Course Administrator by email.
    Upon successful completion of exams for all four modules, you will be awarded the Certificate of Completion in Indexing Training.
  13. What is contained in the exams?
    You will be tested on aspects of the content of the module and asked to apply that knowledge in successive exams. In other words, the exams become more detailed and cumulative as you move from Module A to Module D.
  14. How are exams graded?
    The Course Administrator assigns exams to graders. Students and graders are unknown to each other to ensure equitable treatment in grading. Exams are Pass/Fail, with 80% required for passing. Performance expectations are high, and exams increase in difficulty as you move from Module A to Module D.
  15. What kind of feedback will I receive on my exam?
    The grader will provide detailed comments using a form designed for each module’s content. This feedback will be passed on to you by the Course Administrator in the email notifying you if you passed or failed the module. You will also be informed if your score was Excellent (90-100%), Good (80-89%), Needs Work (70-79%), or Unsatisfactory (below 69%).
  16. What if I fail an exam?
    If you do not pass an exam the first time you attempt to do so, you may purchase an Exam Retake for that module. You must wait at least one month from the day you receive your Fail result email to submit an Exam Retake.
    The price of each Exam Retake is as follows:
    Module A—$50, 1 retake allowed
    Module B—$70, 2 retakes allowed
    Module C—$90, 2 retakes allowed
    Module D—$100, 2 retakes allowed
    Every effort will be made to assign the retake to the same grader for consistency.
    If you do not Pass the exam within the allowed number of retakes or within the course timelines, you may be asked to discontinue the course.

  18. Can I contest a Fail result?
    If you fail on your first attempt on any exam and do not understand why after a careful reading of the feedback provided, you may send questions for your grader to the Course Administrator. Once you receive a response, if you are still not satisfied, you may submit a request to the Course Administrator to have your answers reviewed by another grader and be bound by the decision of that grader.
  19. What if I fail my Exam Retake?
    You may request your answers be reviewed by another grader.
  20. What is the benefit of a Certificate of Completion in Indexing Training?
    The certificate can be used in marketing materials when you are ready to promote yourself to potential clients. The Module D exam includes an indexing exercise, the results of which could be used as a sample of your work if you are asked to provide one.
  21. Once earned, could my Certificate of Completion in Indexing Training ever be revoked?
    ASI has not had to revoke a certificate during the years it has offered the course. However, if cheating was reported or discovered, the case would need to be reviewed, and resolution sought.
  22. Are there any other resources you recommend?
    There are a few online resources to check out:

    • Indexers Discussion Group
      “Listen in" on concerns of indexers—style guidelines, decision making, working with authors and publishers, and the industry in general
    • Index Peer Review (not for use with exam indexes). Send a blank email
      Indexers volunteer to review other indexers' work at no charge, as long as you're willing to reciprocate