Many pupils cannot identify reliably when two different circuit diagrams are/are not showing the same circuit
Misconception
Diagnostic Resources
The following worksheets may help to identify whether students hold this particular misconception.
For more information, see the University of York EPSE website.
All the circuits here would function exactly as the drawing at the top. But only (a), (c) and (d) are drawn to represent the circuit precisely. In the others, the switch is connected to the positive terminal of the battery. This question may be useful to identify pupils who think the position of the components in a circuit diagram (e.g. bottom or side) is important.
EPSE Circuit Diagrams Q1In Q2, all the diagrams are correct except (e). The drawing at the top of Q3 is different to that in Q2, but is electrically equivalent. The response options are the same as in Q2.
EPSE Circuit Diagrams Q2Q4 is designed to probe pupils' ability to recognise equivalent ways of drawing a circuit with two parallel branches. All the circuit diagrams here are correct representations of it.
EPSE Circuit Diagrams Q4No circuit drawings are used in the following questions. Instead, they use different methods to test pupils' ability to recognise circuit diagrams that are equivalent ways of representing the same circuit.
EPSE Circuit Diagrams Q5The final two questions test pupils' ability to 'translate' in the other direction  from circuit diagram to actual circuit.
EPSE Circuit Diagrams Q9Resources to Address This

Describing Parallel Circuits (1114)
Source  SPT/ El02TL15
This resource discusses how best to describe the behaviour of parallel circuits in the classroom, and talks about ways of exploring different (but physically equivalent) circuit layouts with students.
View Resource 
Circuits from circuit diagrams (1119)
Source  Practical physics/ Electric circuits and fields/ Simple electric circuits/
Students of all ages sometimes struggle to relate 2D circuit diagrams with 'real' circuits. Examples and scafolding the skill will help.
View Resource
References
The following studies have documented this misconception:
 Millar, R. and King, T. () Students’ understanding of voltage in simple series electric circuits. International Journal of Science Education, 15 ( (3),
339349.