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Why Students fear Math | How to solve mathematics anxiety among children | Math counselling help

Math (or mathematics) is one subject which students either like too much or simply hate. It is not uncommon to hear that students find mathematics too hard, and many students struggle with math at some point of time. Unlike other subjects like languages or Science or SST, where answers may be opinion based, or hard fact, math involves bit analytical thinking, and many students simply want to avoid this.

In this article, we will see, what makes math difficult for some students to learn, and why do many students find it too hard. Continue reading to find the key pain points from students regarding mathematics.

Why Student fear math?

Poor foundation

One of the key points that have been seen is student having poor foundation in math. For example, unless students have clear understanding of numbers, and basic arithmetic operations (mostly covered in primary grades), that person will struggle in higher concepts like algebra or trigonometry which are key topics in middle school. So, if a student struggle, it is important to see the reason, and if it is poor foundation, teacher needs to rework on that part.


Sometimes student suffer from learning difficulty that make it difficult for them to understand formulas, or mathematical shapes, figures and number concepts. These students need special attention, and their curriculum needs to be moved as per their learning speed.

Math anxiety

Students with math anxiety don’t simply dislike math—for them, math causes debilitating feelings of fear and failure that hurt their ability to perform. Students feel excess mental pressure and lack of confidence, which often result in brain freeze, or forget things which they earlier know.

Why So Many Students Struggle With Math

Difficult to associate practical examples

Science is easy, as there are many practical examples from where students can relate. Likewise languages are easy, as student often speak/hear/see it. Math is one subject, where practical examples are sometime not available. For example, in case of number system, or in case of calculus, it is difficult to find real world examples that student can relate too. As a result, extra pressure get built up, where student need to forcefully retain the concept.

No open ended answers

Math solutions are either right or wrong, there is no middle path or opinion based answer. This becomes demotivating for students, as they try to avoid math questions, for fear of wrong answers.

It builds on itself

If a student is clear with concepts of whole numbers, that integers are easy for the child. If the child is clear with integers and decimals, that rational numbers are easy. Like clarity of rational and irrational numbers, make it easier to understand real number and complex numbers. As, you see, math build on itself. Your learning of one concept is used in advanced concepts. So, if a child is not clear with basic things, he/she will definitely struggle in advanced things. In math, a “C” means that your child is missing fundamental building blocks for success in the future. Because math builds on itself, that “C” means that the next unit or class is going to be even harder until your child has a grasp on previous topics.

Mistake of memorization

One of the short cut which student follow to learn math, is memorizing formulas, and thinking they just need to put values and get answers. But Math is basically a analytical subject, you need to first decide what to solve, and then how to solve. Student often end up being low confidence in math, or simply giving up on subject, if they follow this strategy.

Math has reputation of being boring

Unlike other subjects like languages or Science or SST, which can be fictionalize, math is more straightforward, bland, and boring to some students. Lots of students with creative bend simply lose interest in math, due to this reason.

Students think math to be difficult

This is a classic case of the self-fulfilling prophecy: students expect it to be difficult, so it is. When students go in expecting math to difficult, they are quicker to give up when they don’t understand something. A negative mindset like this can quickly turn into a cycle of low confidence, less motivation, and poor performance.

Math is learnt from practicing

There is a saying that student who 10 questions know more math than student who does 8 questions. Math is basically a practice, of different variant of concepts and associated questions, so more variety of questions a child practice in math, better the learning. In fact, practicing is one of best way of getting child interest back in math.

End note

In this article, we have seen main causes of why students fear mathematics, and what parents or teachers can do to remove the math anxiety or fear from them.

If you feel your child also suffer math anxiety, or math fear, and you are looking for a counseling help or guidance, you can reach out to us, and we will be happy to offer our guidance.

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Mastering math can take a lot of effort, but with the proper skills and ongoing practice, it doesn’t have to be difficult! Learn more about our math tutoring programs and find out how we can help your child become a master of math—and even have fun while doing it. Each child is taught as per learning speed, and learning capacity. Our courses are highly personalized. Contact us to know more.

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