Rock Valley College
Rockford, Illinois

Cut Anxiety

Ten Ways to Cut Down on Math Anxiety

1. You are not alone! Relax. Many people dislike and are nervous about math. Even mathematicians are unsure of themselves and get that sinking, panicky feeling called "math anxiety" when they first confront a new problem.

2. If you have math anxiety, admit it. If you pretend not to have it, you will not learn to overcome or manage it.

3. If you're having math trouble, practice a little math each day.

4. Ask questions. Some people think asking questions is a sign of weakness. It's not. It's a sign of strength. In fact, other students will be glad as they have questions too.

5. Do math in a way that's natural for you. There's often more than one way to work a math problem. Maybe the teacher's way stumps you at first. Don't give up. Work to understand it your way. Then it will be easier to understand it the teacher's way.

6. Notice your handwriting when you do math. The sloppier it gets, the more confused or angry you probably are. When it gets really sloppy, stop. Look away for a few seconds. Then erase the messy parts. Start again. Try to not let your attitude interfere with leaning math.

7. Know the basics. Be sure you know your math from earlier grades. Maybe you missed something that time you moved in junior high. Face it; Math builds on itself. You have to go back and relearn that stuff. Remember it's never too late to learn. Besides, you're older now. It'll be easier and quicker to learn.

8. Don't go by memory alone. Try to understand your math. Memorizing is a real trap. When you're nervous, memory is the first to go.

9. Trouble with the text? Get another math book. Maybe a book in the library will explain things better.

10. Get help. Everyone needs help now and then. Try to form a study group with friends. Or get a tutor. Or take a review course.