HOW TO OVERCOME MATH ANXIETY (FOR STUDENTS)
Math is a wonderful thing
Math is a really cool thing
So, get off your “ath” let’s do some math
Math, math, math, math, math…
Math phobia (or math anxiety) can be defined as anxiety about one’s ability to solve mathematical problems. This can be observed mainly in students when called out to solve the problem. There are a lot of observable symptoms when it comes to identifying math phobia in a student. This phobia has impacted most students as they have the wrong perspective on mathematics due to various factors. Concepts like algebra, trigonometry, calculus, etc., are usually considered problematic by the students, not because of the complexity that it looks like, but because of the lack of clarity of the concept. Not only students themselves, but parents and teachers are also involved, intentionally or unintentionally.
SYMPTOMS OF MATH ANXIETY:-
Important noticeable symptoms of Math Anxiety include:-
1. Avoidance of mathematics
2. Fear of wrong answering
3. Incorrect perspective
4. Rapid breathing when solving math problems
5. Incapable teachers
6. Nervousness at the thought of math
7. Lack of confidence
These symptoms clearly show that you are experiencing math phobia. A problematic experience, so to speak. This is just like any other anxiety; it should be identified and treated as soon as possible. For this, you need not have a therapist, but parents, teachers, and students’ consistent efforts would be enough to cure this. But before the solutions, we must analyze the critical causes of math phobia to discover how to fix it.
CAUSES OF MATH PHOBIA:-
1. Limited time in the examinations
The deadline given to students in the examinations and/or tests causes pressure on the student to solve the problems faster. As they are not comfortable with math in the first place, this causes them to be impatient and anxious throughout the exam, getting nothing done. Hence, they perform less than expected.
2. Rote Learning
A fundamental reason. Students are taught to remember the formulas and memorize all of the essential theorems rather than understanding, proving, and also implementing those theorems in real-world situations. It has become a standard convention for teachers to expect students to remember just about everything. For students to have the proper perspective over mathematics, the student must be taught the right way. Students generally don’t like memorizing, so rote learning is the worst way to explore a world like mathematics.
3. Fear of public embarrassment
Generally, the students are scared of what others think. This is the root of this cause. Public embarrassment is one of the worst feelings the student can face. Relatives, parents, friends, etc., can tease them for having weak math skills. They also can make the students feel embarrassed by over-emphasizing the lower grades scored by them. Therefore, In their subconscious mind, this would create a negative impact. Due to all of this chaos, they would fear math. Even simple arithmetic calculations will create a burden in their head.
4. Practice required for mastery
Even if mathematics is a fun subject to begin with, it is universal that you need practice for mastery. Just like in anything, constant, persistent practice with the right spirit is essential to master Mathematics. But on the contrary, mathematics is a subject in which once you’ve lost touch, you’ve lost it. The enormous amount of practice required to solve math; and the various symbols, formulae, identities, concepts, and such make it harder to master mathematics. And all of this creates a misconception in the students’ minds that mathematics is a subject they can never learn.
5. The negative attitude of students towards math
Due to all of the reasons explained above, the ultimate problem happens with students’ attitudes towards math. Students begin to perceive mathematics as a subject whose syllabus they are supposed to finish. Hating math for the wrong reason is certainly not good. It is because mathematics is generally taught the wrong way. As simple as that.
SOLUTIONS FOR MATH ANXIETY:-
Now that we have seen the causes of math anxiety, how about the best solutions?
Here are some practical solutions which will help you stop math anxiety:-
1. Find reasons to learn math
There are many reasons which I can provide. First of all, it is the most essential subject to use in real life. Mathematics is used everywhere in the real world. From measuring Mount Everest to creating a tire for a vehicle, math is just universal. Math can be used to explain Science in a much imaginable and concise way. You even measure the shirt you want to buy before even wearing it for a trial. Without the language of numbers, units, and symbols, the world wouldn’t be as simple as now.
2. Imagine yourself as if you are succeeding in mathematics
I mean, seriously, what would be more satisfying than overcoming the anxiety of math? It will be absolutely bombastic if you solve that challenging problem with complete confidence and certainty. Whether you are right or wrong is a secondary thing, but the spirit you go about is more important. Imagine that in your brain and feel that happiness, that joy, that feeling of success! This will definitely energize you and boost your confidence to go further in mathematics.
3. Understand the concept rather than memorizing
I am sure you have had that moment when you have a question, but you cannot ask it? Either because you are too bored or too scared? This is the case with most students. And if you want to stand out in front of the crowd and excel at math, then start questioning. “Why does this theorem apply to such cases?” “Are there exceptions?” “Please explain the derivation of the formula?” are some questions which you can ask your teacher. And if at all your teacher is uncomfortable, note down the doubt and ask it at the end of the class. But never stop till you find the answer. This will develop your reasoning and logical skills as well, so that is a plus. Understanding the concept helps you remember better and perform well in the examinations as well.
4. Be the early bird
Instead of cramming the math altogether before the examination, a gradual improvement through practice would be much better. So, be that early bird and catch the concept and practice it thoroughly before the actual test. If you are an early bird, then you will become a glorious achiever! You are likely to forget if you cram it in the last moment, so remember to revise and take small steps every day.
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In conclusion, I would like to tell you that math is more exciting than you think it is. You will definitely start enjoying math if you work on yourself. Ask questions, be curious and keep learning. I am sure you will enjoy the ride. Think beyond the book, beyond those variables, and try to look into real-life situations that you can apply the math to. Be happy, be positive, and all the best as you embark on this journey of mathematics!