More often than not, when students are asked which subject they find the most difficult, the answer is unanimous — Mathematics. So, why is maths so hard for students? Is it because numbers are not everyone’s ball game? Or, because there is something inherently wrong in how the matter is taught?
Well, there are several reasons why maths is hard. However, do not worry because there is a solution for every problem. First, let us get to the bottom of the worldwide conundrum — why do students hate maths?
Imagine mathematics as a tall building that grows as we do — remember, every building needs a strong foundation. The chapters we learn in our primary classes form our foundation for the subject. When we fail to understand the concepts taught in our formative years, we leave gaps in our foundation. Hence, as we progress to higher classes to learn more complex concepts, naturally, these gaps grow wider, and our “building” becomes shaky. A common mistake that students make is moving on to the next topic before thoroughly understanding a concept. This is the number one reason why maths is so hard for students.
Growing up, we’ve always expected maths to be very difficult and that one must work hard to excel in it. This is because our peers, siblings, parents, or teachers have told us that maths is difficult, whether or not we attempted to get to know the subject first. These preconceived notions affect a student’s confidence and enthusiasm to learn the subject. Given an opportunity, every student must take their time to discover their own potential in mathematics before forming conclusions about their own abilities.
Every student is unique and has different learning styles. Some might be visual learners and others might prefer auditory learning. Mathematics is often taught according to the strict curriculum in schools, and some students may struggle to catch up to their peers. Understanding your learning style can help you find the right medium to get better at maths — this could be through video lessons or a personal tutor. It’s important to practice maths at your own pace to ensure a thorough understanding of the concepts.
Students learn best when they can relate the subject to real life. However, mathematics is very abstract, which means that the concepts in maths are only tools that can be applied to multiple scenarios. For example, the Pythagoras theorem might seem like it has no practical use, but it is very important in architecture. Students may not be unable to understand the application right away, but may realise the full potential of the subject once they begin exploring it. Learning maths by relating it to real-life situations can help you understand it better. Hence, you might notice many application-based problems containing real objects in your textbook or video lessons.
Unlike other subjects, maths problems usually have only one right answer, which leaves us very little room to make mistakes. There might be different methods to arrive at a solution, but nevertheless, the solution always remains the same. Trying to work out the correct answer often leaves students feeling frustrated and they tend to grow afraid of the subject. The only way to get over maths fear is to get right into it and learn from your mistakes. Remember, the steps always count in your solution.
Maths requires hours of concentration to ace it. Some students may find it difficult to dedicate a chunk of their time to mathematics, and hence lose out on the much-needed practice. While studying at the last minute, you might prefer memorising the concepts and formulae rather than taking the time to understand the reasoning behind them. However, this is a short-term fix and not sustainable in the long run. Maths requires patience and practice to understand and ultimately excel.
Did you find any of these tips useful? Do tell us in the comments below why maths is hard for you and what methods you follow to get better at the subject.
Vandya is a copywriter by the day and an amateur illustrator by the night. She's a cat mom 24/7. As a certified organisation freak, she lives and breathes in Notion. With a head full of ideas, she is passionate about crafting interesting concepts - for work or play. To kick back at the end of the day, she likes binge-watching shows with an inclination for all things spooky.
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