Mathematics Anxiety: Why Students Struggle with Numbers

Mar 22, 2021 | Summerside

Mathematics is a core subject that extends its reach beyond non-STEM-related courses. Although it’s an essential life skill that everyone must master, it’s not uncommon for a batch of students to be reluctant to learn these numbers-oriented courses. This can lead to the dangers of mathematics anxiety, which is common among many students.

The Contributors to Mathematics Anxiety

Every student faces different challenges throughout their schooling years. However, there seems to be a common thread among students worldwide about the difficulty of overcoming mathematics subjects. Instead of treating their math problems as a temporary case, it may help understand why your child is experiencing it in the first place.

In this article, we’ll share three potential causes of mathematics anxiety and show how you can manage them.

1) The Myth of the Fixed Mindset

The fixed mindset believes that a person’s abilities are limited from the moment they’re born. This is a damaging myth that can affect a student’s intentions and motivations to succeed in any subject or career. The legend of the ‘mathematics’ brain is a typical contrast to an ‘artistic brain’ that social circles tend to affix to a person having one or the other. In reality, people can develop both an artistic and numerically inclined mind through practice and development.

If your child is too vocal about being "bad" at mathematics, you should encourage them to change their mindset and to reinforce a culture of improvement and learning. This will allow them to measure their tries more than their failures to be more proactive about their difficulties with numbers.

2) The Dangers of Surface-Level Understanding

It’s not uncommon for some students to go through a mental block when dealing with complex mathematical equations once they’re in a problem-solving format. This is because they lack a deeper understanding of its core components. It’s the danger of simply memorizing computations and equations.

Since you can present math in almost any method and situation, try encouraging discussion and collaboration to overcome problem-solving activities. Allowing them to work in a group setting where they can throw ideas with others is an excellent way to branch out their limited perspectives. You can work with them yourself or ask them to have a group study session with friends and classmates.

3) The Pressure of Success and Failure

Many students have a fear of disappointing their parents, teachers, and themselves, especially on demanding subjects in their curriculum. This pressure is even more apparent to students of STEM schools and universities. It’s an internal mindset that can damage a child’s formative years, making them too focused on their academic achievements and limitations.

Some students with mathematics anxiety are too reluctant to overcome their weaknesses to no longer attempt to get better. Although overcoming academic hurdles is a part of life, it’s important to remind your child about the value of persevering and to give their all. Remind them that the trick to beating new math concepts is by developing familiarity and constant practice. As long as they’re willing to try again, they will always be a step closer to being better.


It’s important to recognize when your child has simple learning hurdles or complex difficulties with their schooling. Paying attention to their academic and non-academic attitudes and behavior will give you insight into whether they’ll need an extra hand with their classes. Thankfully, you can consult credible tutors online to give your child a better chance of overcoming mathematics anxiety.

At Mathnasium of Summerside, we are well-equipped to help your child with their math education. We utilize the Mathnasium Method™ to transform the way kids learn math, whether they're behind in class or ahead of the curb. Contact us today at (587) 809-6496 to inquire about math classes in Summerside!