I constantly hear students saying that they made a silly mistake or that they didn’t read the question carefully. To me, these are excuses. We don’t know the material well enough, make a mistake because of it and then try to get ourselves off the hook by saying it was just a silly mistake and really we do know the material.

In light of this, last week I gave a presentation to my department about Cognitive Load Theory and specifically how it relates to student error in exams. They seemed to enjoy it and I was asked to give a session to Y11-13 in the run up to their exams. I’ve attached the slides here which you are welcome to use.

I am no expert in the field so please bear the below in mind when using:

  1. This is not a scientific treatise. It is an over-simplification aimed at conveying a fairly simple message to exam classes.
  2. Any constructive feedback is welcome.
  3. My notes are in the notes on the slides.
  4. I tried to keep the ppt as generic as possible, obviously I delivered it in my particular style
  5. It’s a powerpoint. Get over it.

Why do you make mistakes

There are some extra reading links at the end and there’s always more stuff here if you’re interested. 


Many thanks to Rosalind Walker, DrK and David Didau for having a cursory glance to check for clangers