Ways Students can Overcome Math Problem Solving & Test Anxiety
Math is not the Enemy: Tips on how to overcome Math Anxiety
It is an amazing thing to watch someone with excellent math skill zoom through problems with ease, but many of us struggle to just keep our bank accounts in order. Some of us need help doing the simplest math problems and as soon as we hear the word math, we freeze. Those with great math skills sometimes feel the same way about English and the ability to write well. So what do we do? We buckle down and find ways to help us where we are weak, and when it comes to math there are more of us that need help than meets the eye, (raised hand).
What Teachers Can Do
Math teachers want to know, “What can I do to relieve my student’s anxiety?” Here are a few tips that may help them overcome their fear of tests and actually have a bit more fun with math.
- Math is an exact science. After an answer has been given, invite the class to come up with alternative ways to do the same problem. As in science allow an experiment to develop and have them help each other in groups of 3-4.
- During study time, show them the answers to problems instead of depending on the students that know-it-all to answer. This gets rid of the pit in the stomach feeling that students get that keeps them from raising their hands.
- Gamification of math is an excellent way to teach your students. Allow them to use their calculators as a way to find different paths to the answers. They will learn to be more strategic this way. The majority of people love games, especially students and if math is taught as a game the learning becomes fun.
- After working on specific problems on the board and with the groups, have personal time to allow the calculations that they have just learn sink in.
- Begin confidence building skills by giving students problems that you know they can handle in the beginning of classes. Make the problems look more challenging than they actually are. This will pump up the students’ self-esteem, and as they get more problems right they will feel more motivated to excel in class.
What Can Students Do?
- As a student the best thing you can do for yourself is practice. Anything that you do continually over and over again becomes a part of you. If your teacher assigns 50 problems, find an app that gives you 50 more. If it is the weekend, don’t spend it playing games online, play math games.
- Students need to reach out for help. Your teacher wants to know if you are struggling with your math homework. If your tests are coming back less than passing, you need help. There are tutors available to help you but you must reach out to them and make arrangements for the extra help.
- If you are having trouble understanding your math teacher, request another one. This is appropriate. You are in need of someone that you can understand in order to pass math or any other course of study.
- There's always a way! Find math help online if nohing else works better for you. You won't believe the options available.
We had someone write in that their teacher was from another country other than the U.S. and their accent was confusing. Instead of letting someone know she couldn’t understand, she sat through the entire semester and she failed the class. It is not embarrassing for you to report that you are having trouble understanding the teacher.
We found the following apps that may help with your math problems. They make it fun solving equations and can provide needed math homework help. Check out the tools for math practice:
- My Script Calculator
- Free Graphing Calculator
- CalcBot (this is a calculator)
- Math Ref
What Can Parents Do?
Parents are frustrated as they sit down with their children and try to help them with math they may have never seen.
- If this is your dilemma, contact your students school and let them know that you would like resources that will help you help your student succeed.
- Show your child that you are willing to study along with them, and let them know that this is new to you also. It will be fun for you to learn toghether.
- As you learn together, test each other, laugh at each other’s mistakes saying better luck next time. Continue with this during the entire semester.
- Encourage your student to ask the teacher questions. Let them know that you met with the teacher and she assured you that she would help them.
- Visit the school during the semester to see a sample of their work. Find out their weaknesses and buy appropriate apps and tools to use at home to help them.
By following some of the suggestions listed here teachers and students alike will find that math is not as scary as once thought. There are many websites to help relieve the anxiety that math brings on. Keep on practicing and working towards better outcomes and you will succeed.