Math Anxiety is a Real Thing


If you’re the type of person whose hands always got a little clammy before a math test, you may not be the only one.

Researchers at the University of Chicago conducted a study that found math-induced anxiety is a real thing.

For some, mathematics can be very intimidating

For many, the prospect of solving a math problem is just as intimidating as rewinding to those first few steps through your middle school hallway. The area of the brain that is trigged when one of these individuals is doing math is literally the same area that is stimulated during a physical attack. Those with math-induced panic are made to feel so anxious at the thought of math – walking to a classroom, talking about an exam – that their physical fight or flight response becomes stimulated.

Scientists involved in the study said that we need to treat this phobia much like we would any other. Certain measures can be taken to help a child or student with their math anxiety. For example, writing about one’s math anxiety prior to a test may help them perform better.

Why is this important?

Research found that not only can individuals be affected with this disorder, but teachers of students can actually project their own math anxiety onto their pupils. Female elementary teachers are the most likely to suffer, with math anxiety starting for kids as young as the first grade.

What should a parent do?

Talk to you child and their teachers about your students’ performance. Are they consistently struggling in their math class? Do they have the confidence they need to know that they can perform better? Be sure to be encouraging, patient and unafraid to seek alternative methods.

You never know, the secret to a higher test score, may just be writing down your feelings about math prior to the exam. It’s gotta be worth a try.

By: Jen Wolfe

For More on Parenting:

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Parenting a Child with ADHD

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