Why Do Students Struggle With Math?

Math tends to be a polarizing subject: students either love it or hate it. Students who have a strong dislike for math typically struggle with the subject.

Oftentimes, you will hear phrases like “I hate math,” or “math is my least favorite subject,” coupled with phrases like “It just doesn’t make any sense,” or “it’s too hard,” or “I don’t get it.”

While the general consensus is that math is a tricky subject, there are specific reasons why students tend to struggle with this subject more than others.

Here are four of the main reasons why students have a hard time with math:

1. Math requires a strong foundation

Unlike subjects like science where a student doesn’t have to master biology concepts in order to do well in chemistry, for example, math continues to build on itself year after year. If students fall behind in math and don’t understand a key concept, they will lack the foundation they need to understand the concepts in the next unit.

Every unit and year in math is a prerequisite or building block for the next. Students need foundational knowledge of pre-algebra in order to do well in algebra I, and they will need to know the topics covered in algebra I before they can succeed in algebra II.

Because math requires this foundational knowledge, students who don’t have a strong understanding of concepts covered in previous math classes typically struggle with their future math classes.

2. Math has a reputation for being difficult

When students hear over and over again that math is hard, they start to develop a fixed mindset about the subject. This means that when they start to have a little bit of trouble understanding a concept, instead of approaching their struggle with a growth mindset and trying to receive extra help or try additional tactics to understand, they are more likely to give up and think that math is just too hard for them to understand.

This mindset negatively affects their performance in math class, further supporting their idea that math is too difficult and preventing them from making any improvement.

3. Math requires practice

Even when students have a solid grasp of the lessons covered in class, it will be hard for them to do well in the class without extra practice. Practicing math can be repetitive, which makes it seem tedious or boring to many students. It also requires students to be willing to put in extra effort toward developing a skill that they may think they have already mastered.

When students aren’t putting the time into practicing different math concepts, they will fall behind and start to have difficulty with the subject.

4. Math does not seem relevant

Ask almost any adult, and they will tell you just how important math is for developing critical problem-solving skills, creating technological advancements, and supporting major industries.

Ask almost any student, and they will tell you something along the lines of how math isn’t important because they will “never use math in real life” or after they finish school.

Many students struggle with math because they cannot relate it to real-life situations or find it to be relevant. Whereas history talks about people and policies that influence our daily lives, and English allows students to read and write about ideas and stories that resonate with them, math can seem random and irrelevant.

Helping your student master math

If your student is having a hard time doing well in math class or struggles to grasp different math concepts, hiring a private online math tutor through Prep Expert will help.

Prep Expert only hires expert tutors who score in the top 1% on standardized tests like the SAT and ACT, guaranteeing these instructors have the expertise necessary to teach your student challenging math concepts in a way that they will understand.

When you sign up for private math tutoring, your student will be matched with a highly-qualified tutor that will access their weaknesses and curate an individualized plan for success.

Working with a Prep Expert tutor will help your student gain the foundational knowledge and practice they need to understand the topics covered in their math classes. As students continue to develop the skills they need to succeed in math, they will also build their confidence in math, which will help them develop a growth mindset.

Sign up for private math tutoring through Prep Expert today or learn more about how a private tutor can help your students when you visit our website.