Math Anxiety

Introduction

Math classes are a source of anxiety for many students who feel they are not good at math, or who just do not like math. The mere thought of math causes feelings of dread and helplessness. But there is hope.

What is Math Anxiety?

Math anxiety is a learned, intensely negative, psychological reaction to math, which interferes with a student's ability to learn and to do math. Math anxiety is characterized by emotions such as feelings of panic, fear, worry, nervousness, helplessness and/or any other such feelings some people have about their ability to do math. These negative feeling almost always interfere with learning math. However, it is possible to overcome math anxiety. Overcoming math anxiety is more about convincing yourself that you can do math than it is about any lack of ability.

How to Recognize Math Anxiety

The math anxiety self-test below is adapted from the www.mathpower.com website.

Rate yourself on a scale from 1 to 5 where 1 means you strongly disagree and 5 means you strongly agree. Place a number in the space before each item. The sum appears at the bottom of the list.

If your score is in the 40-50 range, then you most likely have some degree of math anxiety.

A Word of Caution

If your self-test shows that you have math anxiety, do not use that as an excuse to do poorly in math. Instead, devise a plan to cope with and ultimately overcome your math anxiety.

How to Overcome Math Anxiety

In most cases, math anxiety has been learned and reinforced over a long period of time. Consequently, it will take time and effort to overcome math anxiety. The suggestions given here, if diligently practiced, will enable you to control your anxiety instead of anxiety controlling you.

Conclusion

To overcome math anxiety you first have to believe in yourself. Secondly, you must avoid self-handicapping behaviors such as negative self-talk. With time and effort, you can overcome math anxiety.

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