| Aug 9, 2016

It's time to stop struggling with math

There’s just no getting around it: if you want to go to college or university, you’re going to have to have at least some math credits under your belt. In theory you might be able to find a way of getting around it, but in practical terms math is a necessary part of education. And if nothing else, a shortage of math courses will certainly close off a very long list of college majors, and, by extension, future jobs and careers. So there’s just no choice: even if math causes you fear, frustration or a general sense of hopelessness, you still have to slay that dragon.

If you struggle with math, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Get help. Seriously, no joke: get help

Math is one of those subjects where the answers are very clear and without wiggle room. Some courses allow teachers an opportunity for a bit of subjective interpretation if necessary, but this is really not possible when it comes to math. It’s all about precision and accuracy, which means that if you’re struggling you’re likely to hit a brick wall.

Why suffer alone? There are so many ways you can get help from people who really know their business, whether it’s an in-home tutor, a one-on-one tutor, a study group or just a geeky aunt. You definitely won’t regret it.

Again: don’t go it alone. This applies to all ages, from elementary school through high school and beyond.

2. Always ensure you understand the basics

Math isn’t just about formulas and functions -- there are plenty of terms that are very important to comprehend. Sum, mean, limit, polyhedron, sine. There are just so many words that describe so many things. It’s actually an aspect of mathematics that often gets overlooked, so don’t make that mistake. Learn all the terms related to your courses, and understand not just their definitions but what they mean in the context of the work. This will give you a deeper comprehension of math. In turn this will give you more confidence.

3. Don’t just study -- drill

Methods for mastering other subjects might not work a well with math. Staring at a math textbook is unlikely to help you understand if you’re struggling. So in addition to studying, try practicing as well. Math drills are easily available online, and your teacher will probably be more than happy to provide worksheets. There are also a ton of phone apps that will do the job. If you think of math as a skill -- like carpentry or drawing or basketball -- then you’ll understand the need for practice. That’s how you get good at something, right? Practice! Doing so will not only improve your skill, but reduce any intimidation you feel.

 

4. Be gentle with yourself!

If you’re stressed, find ways of relaxing. If you’re feeling like a failure, find ways to increase your confidence. Actually dealing with stress, struggle and failure is a key part of life. Let’s face it, life is going to throw a lot of obstacles in your way, and as strange as it sounds, overcoming your math struggles can improve your life overall, as well as your prospects for happiness and confidence. In other words, conquering math can help you conquer life.