Ever felt a splitting headache after attempting to solve a tough mathematics question? How about blanking out in the middle of a maths test despite having practiced the topic beforehand? Mathematics stress and anxiety are two common occurrences that frequently plague students. These make it difficult for struggling students, especially if they feel that their efforts are not being rewarded. How then can students cope with mathematics stress & anxiety?
To start, a routine is crucial in helping students to recall concepts. This is especially so when the answer is not readily apparent to them. A good method for handling math anxiety involves getting students to practice pausing and taking a deep breath before utilizing a particular sequence of thought that they have done numerous times before to solve a problem. By using a step by the step thought process, familiarity is introduced into the situation thus reducing the feeling of a lack of control that often leads to stress. Once a student is back in charge of the situation, he/she can then logically approach the problem and use their knowledge correctly to solve it.
Stimulating exam conditions without real consequences could help students to get confident and comfortable. Encouraging them to place themselves in mock exams increases the instances whereby mathematics anxiety is experienced. During these times, timely reminders to practice good resilience against the after-mentioned anxiety get them into a routine which they can employ during the actual paper.
A third commonly used method is to get students to not tackle a difficult question head-on repeatedly. Rather than bashing their head in trying to solve a question whose answer or method does not come to mind, taking a breather or even skipping the question would help to alleviate stress. Revisiting the paper at the end could allow them the opportunity to have had a eureka moment while solving other questions or at very least to come to tackle the question with a fresher mind.
A final alternative method would be to use practical methods to master a mathematics concept. Often times, maths is reduced to a repeated practice subject in school with limited real-life application involved. With such an abstract nature, it becomes tougher for students to recall a topic when under stress. As such, getting them to apply the topics in a variety of real-life situations or even simply likening it to what they see around them could help to give an alternative approach to recalling the topic when they get stuck.
Enrolling your child in a sec 3 E math tuition center that understands the importance of building resilience against mathematics anxiety would be highly beneficial to him/her. To build such resilience would require much time and patience, as such, it is advised for them to start early.