Analysing and discussing a problem is so much easier than chalking out a solution for it. A solution may not be the only right answer but solutions do get us close to 1.

Here are 5 ways to overcome Maths Anxiety:

  1. Do EASIEST problem first: Simple problems helps in clarifying basic operations and concepts in mathematics. Doing easy problems first gives a lot of confidence. Initial success can help you tackle “harder” problems later. Keep winning!
  2. Look at the answer: Practically, looking at the right answer reduces the anxiety to almost zero. It also gives a clear message that understanding a maths problem and thinking how to solve it is more important than just getting the right answer. Maybe that is the reason why – Most of the textbooks give answers at the back or at the end of an exercise.
  3. Make it a challenge: Does referring word problem as puzzle or riddle really help? Yes, it does. From my personal teaching experience, I have found it helpful. To make students understand time in the 24hours format I created an investigation scene. I was working with 3rd graders, a curious and inquisitive bunch. Our job as a class was to find a thief who stole a Queen’s necklace from a museum. We had 3 suspects and one concrete information – The theft took place at 14:30. We also had other data like the train timings and bus timings of the nearby station. Most of the students were so engaged in identifying the thief that they completely forgot that they are actually doing maths. It was fun! some took it in the true sense and were asking me to get the CCTV footage of the area 🙂
  4. Take care of yourself: There is a psychological aspect here as well. Combat negative thinking. Imagine yourself being relaxed and confident while solving a maths problem just like what an athlete does before a big game (Visualisation). Reward yourself for attempting a difficult problem or for practicing maths daily. If you feel you are good at concepts but lack in calculating answers quickly, use a calculator. Make yourself feel easy because maths is indeed easy.
  5. Go online: Literally, there is an ample amount of resources available online. Why restrict yourself to textbooks and some 30-minute session inside your school. Take your own time to understand any concept and revisit the videos THOUSAND times. Most of them are free, for example, the Khan Academy is a great resource.

Time to reflect on the quote by a great scientist Albert Einstein. By the way, Maths and science are related. Our next post would be on Fixing Science, so stay tuned. Oh! here is the quote: “It’s not that I’m so smart. It’s just that I stay with problems longer”

About the author:

Sahil Sayed is an Educator, Teacher, and Learner. An engineer who understood science and mathematics little better after teaching primary grades for almost 4 years now. Currently heading Science, Mathematics and ICT department at Red Camel International School, India.