I am a PhD student and try to work each and everything in detail. I am facing a problem right now as I am making lots of silly mistakes. In the first year, I made fewer mistakes. In the second year I made more silly mistakes and now in the middle of my PhD I am making lots of silly mistake during presentations and meetings with my supervisor. I think it is due to the fact that I am now reading and understanding things more deeply.

Question: How can I better avoid silly and annoying mistakes in my PhD? I am actually surprised to see that in the first year I use to make very less mistake although I use to read more material. Actually right now I don't read very much material I focus on one or theorem, but it appears to me that I am making more mistakes. I don't as these mistake's will be reduced with time or not. One example of a mistake is many times I assume that it is easy to verify but when it comes to verification many times I fails and I have very much difficulty in proving trivial statements ( may not be trivial for others ).

closed as unclear what you're asking by Darrin Thomas, OBu, Buzz, user3209815, J-Kun Apr 13 '18 at 15:18

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  • What kind of mistakes? – Mark Apr 13 '18 at 8:35
  • @ Mark Mistakes in the defintion, proof etc. – abaa Apr 13 '18 at 8:40
  • as time goes, you will start not to care a lot. dont worry – SSimon Apr 13 '18 at 12:52

I think it's not that you're making more mistakes (not that I know 100%, to be honest) but that you are becoming more aware of the subtleties of your field, and are therefore becoming more aware of the difference between, say, a well-studied, published researcher and yourself. As you learn what is and isn't important, you start to recognize that you need to be more precise and rigorous.

The best advice I have for you is to take note any time you make such a mistake. Why was it made? Was it because you just wanted to write something down andget through it? Was it a genuine misunderstanding? Was it because you understood exactly what you meant, so you assumed that others did too? etc. Then, address the individual causes.

One of my biggest issues was the latter - I knew what I meant to say, so I didn't bother to be careful defining my terms or the context. It was obvious to me, so I forgot that I had spent months figuring it out and therefore it wasn't obvious to anyone else. I took a long time to remind myself that a proper setup is extremely important in selling the relevance and impact of my work. I still make that mistake sometimes, but I'm at least more aware of it.

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    +1 Also, don't try to fix everything at once. Just work on preventing the type of mistakes you make most often. When you stop (or nearly stop) making that type of mistake, move on to the next type of mistake. – mhwombat Apr 13 '18 at 11:32

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