# What does it take to do well in math class?

- Author: Noreen Niazi
- Last Updated on: December 1, 2023

SECTIONS

ToggleFor many students, the mere mention of a math class can induce feelings of anxiety and dread. The complex equations, abstract concepts, and problem-solving nature of mathematics often seem insurmountable challenges. However, anyone can excel in math class with the right mindset, strategies, and perseverance. This comprehensive blog will delve into What does it take to do well in math class, exploring practical examples, solving mathematical problems, and addressing frequently asked questions to demystify the subject.

## Section 1: Understanding Math Anxiety

Before we dive into the strategies for success, it’s crucial to address the elephant in the room – math anxiety. Math anxiety is a common phenomenon that can hinder a student’s performance and confidence in mathematics. It often stems from negative past experiences, fear of failure, or a belief that one is not “good at math.” Recognizing and overcoming math anxiety is the first step toward success.

### Example 1: Sarah’s Struggle with Math Anxiety

Sarah, a high school student, used to break into a sweat at the mere thought of a math test. Her anxiety was so severe that she would often blank out during exams, leading to lower grades. However, after seeking help from a math tutor and adopting relaxation techniques, Sarah gradually built confidence and improved her math skills.

## Section 2: Developing a Growth Mindset

One of the keys to success in math is adopting a growth mindset. Students with a growth mindset believe their abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. This contrasts with a fixed mindset, where individuals believe their intelligence and talents are innate and unchangeable.

### Example 2: Alex’s Journey to a Growth Mindset

Alex, a college student majoring in engineering, used to believe that he wasn’t naturally inclined toward math. However, he viewed challenges as learning opportunities after attending workshops on developing a growth mindset. Alex improved his study habits with a newfound perspective, sought help when needed, and ultimately excelled in his math courses.

## Section 3: Effective Study Strategies

Success in math class is often tied to effective study habits. Different students may find various strategies more suitable, but some universally proven methods can significantly enhance learning and retention.Active participation during math classes has been linked to improved performance. According to a study by **Freeman et al. (2014),** students who engage actively in classroom discussions and activities tend to have higher academic success rates.

### Example 3: Emily’s Time-Management Techniques

A middle school student, Emily struggled with time management while studying for math exams. She discovered the Pomodoro Technique, which involves studying for 25 minutes, taking a 5-minute break, and repeating. This helped Emily maintain focus and improved her overall study efficiency.

## Section 4: Engaging with the Material

Active engagement with the material is crucial for understanding and retaining mathematical concepts. This can involve various methods, such as participating in class discussions, asking questions, and exploring real-world applications of mathematical principles.

Consistent practice is crucial for mastering mathematical concepts. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) recommends that students should spend at least 10-15 minutes per day on math homework for optimal retention and understanding.

Research by Cooper et al. (2006) suggests a positive correlation between homework completion and academic achievement in mathematics.

### Example 4: Jake’s Real-World Application

Jake, a high school student passionate about computer programming, realized the practical applications of geometry when creating 3D models for video games. By connecting math concepts to his interests, Jake found a renewed motivation to excel in his math classes.

## Section 5: Seeking Help and Collaboration

Mathematics can be challenging, and seeking help when needed is perfectly acceptable. Whether it’s from teachers, tutors, or classmates, collaboration can enhance understanding and provide different perspectives on problem-solving.

Engaging in collaborative learning environments fosters a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. A study by Springer et al. (1999) revealed that students who participate in group study sessions tend to perform better on assessments.

Explaining mathematical concepts to peers and discussing problem-solving approaches can enhance comprehension and retention.

### Example 5: Maria’s Peer Learning Experience

Maria, a college student majoring in mathematics, formed a study group with her peers. They regularly met to discuss challenging problems, share insights, and teach each other difficult concepts. Through this collaborative effort, Maria and her peers achieved higher understanding and success in their math courses.

## Section 6: Overcoming Common Challenges

What does it take to do well in math class? Mathematics often presents common challenges that students may face. Addressing these challenges head-on can contribute to improved performance.

Students should not hesitate to seek help when facing challenges. Research by Pomerantz et al. (2007) suggests that students who actively seek assistance, whether from teachers or peers, exhibit improved academic performance.

## Section 7: Embracing Mistakes as Learning Opportunities

Mistakes are an integral part of the learning process, especially in mathematics. Rather than viewing mistakes as failures, embrace them as opportunities to learn and improve.

Example 6: Thomas’s Perspective Shift

Thomas, a high school student, used to get discouraged by every mistake he made in math. However, after realizing that mistakes were stepping stones to understanding, he began to appreciate the value of learning from errors. This shift in perspective not only improved his math performance but also enhanced his overall learning experience.

## Conclusion:

What does it take to do well in math class? Success in math class is attainable for anyone willing to adopt a growth mindset, engage actively with the material, seek help when needed, and learn from mistakes. By exploring various examples, solving mathematical problems, and addressing frequently asked questions, we aim to demystify the subject and empower students to excel in their mathematical journeys. Remember, with dedication and the right strategies, anyone can unlock the secrets to success in math class.

## Reference: What does it take to do well in math class?

Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415.

Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does homework improve academic achievement? A synthesis of research, 1987-2003. Review of Educational Research, 76(1), 1-62.

Hsin, C. T., & Murnane, R. J. (2013). Explaining changes in the gender wage gap, 1980–2000. National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper No. 18734.

Kutner, M., Greenberg, E., Jin, Y., Boyle, B., Hsu, Y., & Dunleavy, E. (2007). Literacy in Everyday Life: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

Springer, L., Stanne, M. E., & Donovan, S. S. (1999). Effects of small-group learning on undergraduates in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 69(1), 21-51.

Pomerantz, E. M., Moorman, E. A., & Litwack, S. D. (2007). The how, whom, and why of parents’ involvement in children’s academic lives: More is not always better. Review of Educational Research, 77(3), 373-410.