With maths often being considered one of the most challenging subjects at school, it’s no surprise that so many students struggle with it. In fact, a recent report found that 37% of teens aged 13-17 found maths to be the most difficult subject. From basic concepts not being understood to trouble following multi step processes- there are a whole many reasons why students find maths so challenging. Even though every student's needs are different, here are the five most common reasons they may be struggling with maths and how a tutor is an excellent way to help get them back on track.
1. Basic Concepts Are Not Clear
One of the most common problems while learning maths is that students lack an understanding of the basic concepts. Think about maths like building blocks- it’s crucial to lay a strong foundation before a solid structure can be built. . For many kids the foundation hasn’t been laid properly, meaning they struggle to grasp the maths concepts that come later. Students with weak skill foundations can begin to feel as though they’re ‘rubbish’ at maths as they struggle to understand it, which is usually where a strong dislike towards the subject begins. Taking the time to rebuild those missing concepts will allow students to move ahead and build stronger maths skills and understanding.
2. Concepts Are Learned, But Not Fully Understood
With many maths concepts, it’s important to understand the purpose behind an equation to be able to choose the correct equation and solve complicated problems. For example, when students solve multiplication problems, they often know the answers because they’ve memorised their times tables, not because they understand that multiplication is really just adding the same number to itself a specific number of times. If students don’t ‘fully’ understand the maths concept, it can be difficult to choose the correct method for finding a solution to a maths problem, which can leave them feeling frustrated and confused.
3. Difficulty Following Multi Step Processes
Maths usually involves multi-step problems, meaning students need to be able to perform several calculations using different operations to reach the correct answer. This type of problem solving requires students to know, remember, and apply multi step processes, which can be hard for many students. Forgetting one piece of the process, transposing a number, or using the wrong operation will result in an incorrect answer and if students don’t realize where they made a mistake, it can be really frustrating and demotivating! Some students have no problem with remembering what step to take next, while others, especially those with certain disorders that impact learning, can really struggle with this skill.
4. Learning Style
Every student learns differently and needs to interact with information in different ways in order to truly understand it. Many students learn best when they can touch and physically interact with the material in some way. This is called kinesthetic learning. Much of higher level maths is abstract, meaning it can’t be touched or physically manipulated. This can make it very difficult for these students to grasp and really understand the more complex concepts of maths. Some students also need to make real world connections to their learning. While they can learn volume by measuring the volume of a glass and pouring water into it, it is much more challenging to physically interact with maths concepts like algebra and connect them to their own experiences.
5. Lack Of Practice
Finally, one of the most common problems with students struggling with maths is they simply don’t spend enough time practicing. Even though students can have a good understanding from a maths lesson, they may not revisit that particular concept for a number of weeks or until they have a test. By this time, they may have forgotten how to apply their previous learning, meaning when attempting to solve the problem, they struggle through the process. That’s why it’s so crucial for students to regularly revisit maths topics at home or with a tutor and get enough practice to enable new concepts to solidify their knowledge and understanding..
How A Private Tutor Can Help
For many parents, it’s been a long time since they’ve practiced maths and lots has changed. If your child is struggling with maths and you don’t feel equipped to get them back on track, hiring a tutor can make sure your child gets the right support.
A private tutor will not only be able to fill in any gaps in your child’s maths learning, but will also be able to deliver the material at your child’s pace, allowing them the time they need to fully absorb what they’re learning and the space to go back over prior concepts and ask any questions. Tutors also tailor learning to the style that suits your child best and give them the opportunity to practice tricky concepts as many times as they need until they’re up to speed.
For more information on the different programmes Tutor Doctor offers, click here.