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The paper deals with the problem of magnetic characterization of samples with the first-order reversal curve (FORC) diagrams. Second-order reversal curves (SORCs) are introduced in a similar manner as in the generalized deltaM experimental procedure. SORC diagrams are calculated and compared with the well-known FORC diagrams. The difference between the FORC and SORC diagrams is explained. This difference represents an estimation of the errors made when the FORC distribution is considered as the distribution of coercive and interaction fields. Both Preisach and micromagnetic simulations of the FORC/SORC diagrams are presented and discussed.