It’s estimated that one in four college students experience symptoms of math anxiety, which can affect each of them differently.
UNC Associate Professor Molly Jameson, who researches the condition that she herself confronted and overcame en route to earning a Ph.D. and becoming a faculty member, offered tips for students to manage the condition:
Jameson (image at right) recommends that students should try to boost their confidence and control their anxiety by focusing on past successes in calculating math or while in a previous math class.
“Think about a time when you improved your grade in a math class; victory doesn’t mean getting 100%, and being successful doesn’t mean getting 100% … it means improvement,” Jameson said. “Focusing on those times you’ve improved can really help.”
Math-anxious students should also consider writing about their anxieties before doing math, which can help release those anxieties from their thoughts and clear the way to do calculations.
“Write about how and why you’re anxious and where that anxiety is coming from,” she said. “What researchers think that does is that it gets it out of your brain instead of continuing to fixate on it.”
In the link below there is a podcast where Jameson goes into more detail on what math anxiety is, the number of students who experience it and how faculty members and students can mitigate the interfering effects.
For more information on this, the podcast and the podcast’s transcript click here.