mistakeIt is always an effective revision technique to provide students with model answers after they have completed an examination-style test (for example, a timed essay). For this reason, I will usually write the essay at the same time as the students, with the only difference being that I give myself 25% less time as a ‘handicap’ for my experience / speed on the keyboard.

However, from experience I found that one danger in simply providing students with ‘model’ answers was that they simply got filed away without a great deal of reflection. Therefore, what I now do is deliberately insert factual mistakes into my answers after they are written, and make some stylistic gaffes (e.g. not using paragraphs, quotes or appropriate evidence). I then put students into teams and challenge them to “Spot the mistake” – which works particularly well if used as part of a ‘leaderboard challenge‘.

Rules of “Spot the Mistake”:

  • The first team has to identify and correct an error in the account. If there are a lot of these, insist instead that each team will instead identify and correct two or even three errors.
  • The team can choose to play for up to 10 points. If they successfully identify and correct the specified amount of errors, they WIN the points. HOWEVER if they fail to do so, or make a mistake, they LOSE the same amount of points. This rule adds a bit of interest to proceedings!
  • Everyone in the class corrects their own version of the model answer.
  • Proceed to the second team, and so on, for as many rounds as are required.

Taking it further

Get students to produce their own model answers with deliberate mistakes and use these as a ‘quiz bank’ for future lessons and year groups.


Sample ‘Spot the Mistakes’ exercise – The League of Nations in the 1920s (in the style of IGCSE).