Fear not Maths! Follow these tips to crunch numbers without pain

Representational Image. Photo: iStock/ lakshmiprasad S

The mere mention of Mathematics gives jitters to many students. Who has not lost sleep the night before the exam? The fear of this subject has been passed on to students for ages and math anxiety is real.

On the International Day of Mathematics, March 14, 2023, Onmanorama unravels why Mathematics remains a 'complicated' subject and how one can excel in it without fear.

Nothing to be scared of

“Our exam system depends on and tests students' memory power. It is all about writing down word-for-word what has been given to them through notes by teachers or during tuition. But Maths does not work this way. You need to utilise your thinking or reasoning ability to the maximum,” said Akhilesh P, Assistant Professor, Kerala School of Mathematics, Kozhikode.

He said the fear of Maths stems from the competition mentality in our society and teachers' inability to develop students' interest in the subject. “More than the fear, it is the hatred towards the course that makes it tougher for students. Parents want their children to score high or full marks in this subject and therefore enroll them in tuition or extra classes after school. This can draw a negative image about Maths in the child's mind as study consumes their free or playtime,” he added.

“Many times, difficulty in understanding the basic rules or methods from the primary level can also create an aversion towards Maths,” said Manju N, a Maths teacher at the Chinmaya Vidyalaya in Kottayam. Manju, who has been teaching the subject for over 22 years, added that a positive attitude among students and parents can bring a change in the attitude to the subject.

“Parents and teachers play a major role in helping the children overcome stress,” she said.

Not a subject to mug up!

Studying for a week or a day before the exam will not help you. “One has to be thorough with the basic concepts. One cannot solve a problem if one lacks knowledge of these concepts that form the backbone of this subject,” said Manju.

Akhilesh added that students must study this subject from day one, instead of mugging it up in capsule form.

Here are a few tips on how to do well in Mathematics exams:

• Avoid stress and studying without any sleep the day before the exam.

• Take help from teachers on subjects that one finds tough to grasp, instead of enrolling in multiple tuition classes.

• Brush up on the basic concepts of Mathematics regularly.

• Attempt solving previous years' question papers/arithmetic exercises regularly to improve time-management skills.

• Practice basic operations or methods, such as simplification, algorithms, geometry, etc. consistently. Preparing a timetable for this can also be helpful.

• Avoid being over-confident while doing various exercises. Attempt exercises from all levels from easy to difficult.

• Attempt all the questions asked for the exam. Because even a few steps to the answer can get you marks and something is better than nothing.

• Make use of remedial class facilities available in your school.

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