Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Ten Ways to Reduce Math Anxiety

Feeling overwhelmed by the math learning curve and anxiety of taking math tests? You're not alone. Here are some great tips from Rio Salado's Counseling Services.

1. Learn to relax when you are nervous and tense. Reduce math anxiety by using meditation and deep breathing techniques in stressful situations.

2. Change negative thoughts like “I can’t do this," "I’ve never been good at math," and "I won’t finish in time” to positive thinking. You can do this!

3. Imagine yourself succeeding. Visualizing is a technique used when preparing for a performance. See yourself relaxed and successfully completing math problems.

4. Tackle the easy problems first. Scan your assignment to see which problems you can easily solve. This will help you build confidence and help you relax in preparation for more challenging problems.

5. Employ physical activities. In addition to deep breathing, try squeezing a stress ball and consider a walk or run

6. Prepare for exams early. When cramming for an exam you are likely to quickly forget. Build a study plan where you practice material over a period of time. This will ensure you have a better mastery of the material and less chance of forgetting when under stress.

7. Be good to yourself. Balancing school, as well as, your personal activities can be challenging. Your body and mind function best when we practice good eating and sleeping habits.

8. Learn the “why” of concepts. Under stress, short-term memory is usually the first to go. Math is not just a set of rules but one where concepts build on what came before. Understanding the “why” behind the rules will help you solve multiple types of problems.

9. Use support services.  Take advantage of tutoring and counseling services. These services are available free of charge to students. Also consider joining a support groups for adults with math anxiety. Don’t try to do it along. Reach out!!

10. Reward yourself when completing a difficult assignment or an exam. This is the time to take a break, stop, relax and pamper yourself.

There many more strategies at your disposal. Visit this Rio Salado Academic Success Toolbox for more self-help techniques.

Contributed by Dr. Jean Tease on behalf of Rio Salado's Counseling Services, helping students with their personal, educational and career goals.

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