Top 5 Reasons Students Find Math Difficult

Top 5 Reasons Students Find Math Difficult

Maths – a subject that some of us love and others hate.

The numbers, shapes, and even letters make some people cringe at the very thought of having to solve a math problem. And why is that?

Why do so many students find Maths difficult?

This post will explore the top 5 reasons why students struggle with this subject and offer some guidance on how to overcome these difficulties.

Reason #1: Lack of Understanding

One of the main reasons students find Maths difficult is due to a lack of understanding. Maths requires strong foundational knowledge.

The colourful blocks you played with in preschool and the multiplication tables you learned in primary school are all important building blocks for more complex math concepts.

If a student struggles with grasping these basic concepts, they will most likely face difficulties as they progress onto more complicated topics.

To right the wrongs of the past, you can seek extra help from a tutor or teacher. In addition to tutoring sessions, there are numerous online resources that can supplement your learning. These include video tutorials and interactive games, which can enhance your understanding of math concepts.

Reason #2: Anxiety

Math anxiety is a thing.

According to National Numeracy, math anxiety causes adults and children to feel worried or stressed when faced with maths. This has nothing to do with intellect or inability but more about the stress that limits one’s ability to think clearly.

Common signs of math anxiety include:

  • Feelings of frustration
  • Sweatiness
  • A racing heart
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Nausea

If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it’s important to identify the underlying cause. Causes of math anxiety can vary from person to person, but some common causes include:

  • Pressure from parents or teachers
  • Negative past experiences with maths
  • Lack of confidence
  • Fear of failure

To overcome math anxiety, it’s important to address the underlying cause and seek support. Talk to your teacher, maths tutor, or a trusted adult about your struggles, and work on building your confidence in mathematics.

Reason #3: Learning Disability

Learning disability, also known as a learning disorder or learning difficulty, is a brain condition that makes it tough to understand or process information. It can stem from various factors such as genetics, brain injury, or environmental factors.

According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, approximately 1 in 5 individuals have a learning disability. This means that many students may face challenges with learning maths due to a diagnosed or undiagnosed learning disability.

Some common learning disabilities that can affect math skills include:

Dyscalculia: Difficulty understanding and manipulating numbers and math concepts.

Dysgraphia: Difficulty with writing, handwriting, and fine motor skills that may impact solving equations and showing work.

Dyslexia: Learning difficulty related to reading and language processing that can affect word problems and mathematical language comprehension.

If you have a feeling that you may have a learning disability, it’s important to seek professional help and get an evaluation. With the right accommodations and support, students with learning disabilities can excel in math.

Reason #4: Memorising Instead of Understanding

Maths is not, as the Afrikaner would say, “papagaai werk” (parrot learning). You cannot rely on parrot learning and memorising facts and expect them to work in all situations. Exam papers and homework do not repeat sums; they test the understanding of mathematical concepts and the application of problem-solving strategies.

Math requires an understanding of concepts and being able to apply them in different scenarios.

Many students struggle with math because they try to memorise formulas, rules, and procedures without truly understanding the underlying concepts. This can lead to confusion and difficulty when faced with new or complex problems.

Instead of just rote memorisation, you need to focus on building a strong foundation of understanding in math. This includes understanding why certain formulas and rules work and being able to apply them in different scenarios.

Reason #5: Lack of Practise

The popular saying “practice makes perfect” definitely applies to math. Many students struggle with math because they do not devote enough time to practice.

Simply completing your class activity and homework may not be enough to fully understand mathematical concepts.

To truly excel in math, it’s important to do additional practice problems and seek out opportunities to apply your skills.

This can include:

  • Working on past Math exam papers.
  • Creating your own practice problems.
  • Seeking help from a maths tutor.
  • Playing sudoku or other mathematical games.

Solve Your Math Problems with Confidence!

Not all of us will love math, but with the right approach and mindset, anyone can master it. If you feel like you’re struggling with math, don’t give up! Take a step back and identify which of the above reasons may be affecting your progress.

For whatever reason, in the end, remember that extra math tutoring lessons can help you improve your understanding and confidence in the subject.

It’s never too late to start improving your math skills, so contact us at Tutor Doctor today! Our tutoring services are dedicated to focusing on YOU.

So, let us help you overcome your math struggles and achieve success in the subject!


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