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Discussion 4 – Analyzing Mistakes

Point Value: 1

• Identify the types of errors that you make most often and what strategy you will use to minimize making this type of error in the future.
• State what you have learned by analyzing your mistakes.

Why do we make mistakes?   The old adage that “nobody is perfect” is certainly true but we can LEARN from our mistakes.   Start to analyze your mistakes.  In this analysis consider these categories for your mistakes.

1.         Conceptual Error:  The error is due to a misunderstanding of a concept.  Name the concept, at least to yourself.  For example, the concept might be finding the absolute value of a number.  The process of naming the concept will help you to find additional information about that concept and strengthen your understanding.

2.         Calculation Error:  In your judgment, you understood the concept or concepts involved but you made a miscalculation.  Name the type of calculation error.  For example, a type of calculation error might be that you applied the wrong rule for adding signed numbers or that you rounded the number incorrectly.

3.         Transcription Error:  The error resulted from miscopying of the problem or miscopying a portion of the problem from one step to another. Identify the transcription error. For example, you may have copied the wrong problem or copied part of one problem and part of another.  Another common transcription error is to leave out a number or sign as you copy from one line to the next.

4.         Interpretation Error. We answer the wrong question or do not answer all the questions.We often find ourselves anticipating what a problem is asking us to do without carefully reading the instructions.  For example, you might be asked to give the new amount in a percent increase problem instead of just the amount of increase.

By increasing your awareness of the type of mistakes that you make the most often, you will begin to make them less often.