02 Feb How To Overcome Maths Anxiety?
How To Overcome Maths Anxiety?
Recent research by KPMG and National Numeracy Day has found that over a third of adults (35%) say that they feel anxious when doing maths. The study of 3,000 UK adults also found that one in five (20%) are so fearful when it comes to maths that it makes them physically sick. With such a large number of UK adults reporting maths anxiety, it’s no surprise that a massive number of school-aged children also face fear and anxiety when it comes to their maths studies.
Maths is one of the most important subjects for a child to get to grips with, it will help to carry them through their adult life and benefit them in their careers. But, this recent study by KPMG and National Numeracy Day has also found that as many as two-thirds (66%) of UK adults agree that you do not realise how important maths skills are until you’re older and using them to navigate daily life.
Ensuring your child has confidence with numbers and a positive attitude towards maths will give them the best chances of success, not just at school and in their exams, but throughout their adult life and careers too.
Throughout this article we are going to take an in-depth look at what exactly maths anxiety is, what causes maths anxiety, how it affects the way a student learns and what you can do to help reduce or overcome maths anxiety for your family.
What Is Maths Anxiety?
Maths anxiety is a phobia, or feeling of tension or fear, that interferes with a person’s ability to process numbers, solve mathematical problems and properly understand other numerical tasks. Considered a psychological or emotional condition rather than a learning difficulty, maths anxiety is not related to intelligence or academic ability.
Distinct from mathematical learning difficulties such as dyscalculia, maths anxiety is a fear of maths that creates discomfort and can affect performance in certain mathematical situations. Those with maths anxiety may avoid working with numbers entirely, lack motivation when it comes to their maths studies, have difficulty remembering maths topics and may put off maths work until the last minute.
The root causes of maths anxiety can be wide ranging, whether it be previous negative experiences when learning maths, pressure to excel, or a general lack of confidence when it comes to numbers. The good news is that maths anxiety can be overcome by addressing the emotional and psychological blocks associated with maths.
What Causes Maths Anxiety?
Maths anxiety can stem from a range of underlying causes, and often it’s not just any one issue that has contributed to your maths anxiety, it’s a range of causes that have all contributed to a negative attitude towards maths and numbers. Here are some of the more common causes of maths anxiety:
Negative Past Experiences: Previous negative experiences in maths classes such as poor grades, criticism, comparisons with other students or a generally unsupportive environment can all contribute to your maths anxiety. A single discouraging incident can create a lasting impact that can create a fear of failure and affect a learner’s overall attitude towards maths.
Teaching Methods: The teaching methods used in previous maths lessons can be a factor in the development of your maths anxiety. Previous maths lessons may not have accommodated your unique learning style, for example, previous lessons may have been heavily focused on memorisation when you needed a more engaging hands-on approach to your maths studies.
Pressure To Excel: Expectations to excel in mathematics can create performance anxiety in students. Students may feel the pressure of high expectations from parents, teachers and classmates, all of which can contribute to anxiety around maths and numbers.
Lack Of Confidence: A general lack of confidence will exacerbate anxiety when it comes to maths. A lack of confidence or self-assurance may be reinforced by comparisons with peers or poor results in previous maths classes. A general lack of confidence will affect students in all aspects of their education, not just their maths studies.
Cognitive Problems: Certain cognitive problems, such as difficulty concentrating or an aversion to problem solving, will all contribute to maths anxiety. Students may get overwhelmed by the complexity of maths tasks leading to heightened anxiety.
Parental Influence: The attitudes of parents or guardians towards maths can significantly influence a student’s perception of the subject. If parents/guardians have anxiety or a negative attitude towards maths, it may influence a child’s attitude towards the subject.
Maths anxiety can’t often be attributed to any one cause. Instead, it’s a combination of factors that all contribute to a negative attitude towards maths and numbers. Recognising some of the potential causes of your maths anxiety will help you to address the problem in the most effective way possible!
How Does Maths Anxiety Affect Students?
Maths anxiety can have a significant and wide-ranging affect on individuals, not only impacting their academic performance but their personal day to day lives too. Maths is such an important subject and is something you will you use throughout your daily life, whether that be at school, work or simply when cooking or doing the shopping.
Maths anxiety will affect individuals in a wide range of ways, but most commonly maths anxiety manifests itself by: impacting performance in maths class or when working on maths topics, by avoiding maths-related activities and tasks entirely, by affecting your overall self-confidence and increasing stress levels or by fueling a negative attitude towards learning in general. All of these effects of maths anxiety can have a lasting impact which will not only affect individuals in their education but can also have a long term impact on career opportunities and overall confidence with numbers.
Addressing maths anxiety is essential for individuals who want to reach their full academic potential and be confident when it comes to maths and numbers. By addressing your maths anxiety, you are taking the steps needed to be a confident maths learner and have the skills needed to use your maths knowledge in everyday life.
Is Maths Anxiety Real?
Maths anxiety is very much real and is a recognised problem. Over 35% of UK adults say they feel anxious when it comes to maths, numeracy and arithmetic, and that number is even higher when it comes to children. Although not considered a learning difficulty, maths anxiety can have a significant impact on an individual’s outlook on education, career opportunities and overall quality of life.
How Do You Know If You Have Maths Anxiety?
Identifying whether you have maths anxiety isn’t always straightforward. There is no one test that can say whether you have maths anxiety or not. However, by monitoring and recognising certain emotional or behavioral issues when engaged with your maths studies or working with numbers, you will be able to determine whether maths anxiety is an issue for you.
Do you experience negative emotions when approaching maths? Do you exhibit avoidance behaviours at the thought of having to work with numbers? Perhaps you suffer from persistent self-doubt when studying maths which results in negative self-talk about your maths ability? All of these are signs that you may suffer from maths anxiety.
While a lack of confidence, memory lapses, self-doubt, avoidance behaviours and a negative attitude towards your maths studies all impact your ability when it comes to working with numbers, they are not necessarily symptoms of mathematic learning difficulties such as Dyscalculia. Rather, these are all signs that you have an anxiety surrounding maths. The good news is that maths anxiety can be overcome. With the right tools and learning strategies, maths anxiety can be tackled!
How To Help & Reduce Maths Anxiety?
If you suffer from maths anxiety you may be wondering what can be done to help reduce your worry and stress surrounding numbers. Overcoming your maths anxiety requires a combination of practical strategies, emotional support and positive reinforcement! Here are some of the most effective ways you can reduce your maths anxiety:
Acknowledge Your Anxiety: In order to overcome your maths anxiety you must first acknowledge it. Recognising and acknowledging your anxiety surrounding maths is the first step to overcoming the problem. In acknowledging your anxiety, it is important to understand that maths anxiety is a common issue that affects a huge proportion of the population and doesn’t reflect your overall intelligence.
Practice Regularly: Practice makes perfect and that couldn’t be any more true than when it comes to your maths anxiety! By practicing your maths regularly, you will gain confidence in your maths ability, helping to improve your attitude towards your studies and overcoming any avoidance behaviours you may have.
Break Tasks Into Smaller Steps: By breaking more complex maths tasks into smaller, more-manageable steps, you can make maths tasks seem less daunting while still making progress.
Set Realistic Goals: Set achievable and realistic goals to help you to overcome your maths anxiety. By setting yourself realistic maths goals, you will be able to celebrate the small victories and use your progress as motivation to tackle more challenging problems.
Relaxation Techniques: Relaxing into your maths tasks will give you the mindset needed to succeed in maths. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or going for a short walk to manage stress and calm yourself before taking on maths-related tasks.
Positive Mindset: Approach your maths tasks with a positive mindset. While it may be easier said than done, trying to approach your maths tasks with a positive mindset will help you to digest more information and memorise more of what you have learnt.
Online Tutoring: By far one of the best ways to overcome maths anxiety is through the use of an online maths tutoring programme. Online maths tutoring allows students to work on their maths skills from the comfort of their own home, without any of the pressures of a classroom or studying with others. An online tutoring programme such as Tutorwiz helps students to overcome their maths anxiety by combining both online educational maths resources with real-life tutor support whenever it’s needed. Tutorwiz’s short lessons helps those with maths avoidance-behaviors and our incentives and rewards programme helps students to see real value in their studies, all making Tutorwiz one of the best solutions for individuals with maths anxiety!
To find out more about how Tutorwiz’s online tutoring programme can help students to overcome their maths anxiety, then please get in touch today. You can get in touch by calling us on: 0800 181 4221, by emailing as email@example.com or by using our contact form. Alternatively, request a FREE Maths Doctor Assessment now and identify some of the possible causes of your maths anxiety as well as any gaps in your current maths knowledge. With this information, Tutorwiz will develop a personalised learning plan for you, giving you an effective strategy for overcoming your maths anxiety!