More often than not, when students are asked which subject they find the most difficult, the answer is unanimous — Mathematics. Sometimes these students also share the question, Is Physics hard just like Mathematics? This is due to the similarities between these subjects. 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? Or, is it because of the board you are following? Do you find a difference when comparing ICSE and CBSE exams or how your syllabus varies?
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.
Once you get the hang of the subject you might even want to pursue a career in Maths. 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.
1. Why do many students hate mathematics?
Students tend to hate mathematics because it is a challenging subject. Often students lack a strong foundation in the subject, which makes it harder for them to practise problems as they move into higher classes.
2. How can I become a genius in maths?
If you want to become good at maths, then the first thing you need to do is to ensure that you are thorough with the foundational concepts. Then, follow a strict schedule that includes regular practice and the right guidance to help you tackle any problem with ease.
3. How can I make math easier?
Maths is a challenging subject for many students. But, it is possible to make it easier. Here's how - Ensure that your foundation of concepts is strong, Practice problems from text books and previous years question papers, get the right guidance from teachers or mentors when you have doubts, prepare a study schedule and follow it.
4. How can I focus in math?
Maths requires active studying. To focus on the topic you are trying to learn, ensure that you set short-term study goals for youself. This will motivate you to achieve the goals. You can also reward yourself when you cross a set of goals.
5. How to make maths interesting?
If you love games, then you can make maths interesting by treating each topic as a new challenge that you must overcome. You can also try applying your concepts to real-life scenarios and watch video lessons that make the chapters interesting.
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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