5 Possible Reasons Why Students Struggle With Math

Written by
Timothy Gan

Mathematics is considered one of the most challenging subjects in school. Surveys have shown that about 37% of teens aged 13 to 17 found math the most difficult subject to learn. Particularly in Singapore, many students sign up for H2 math tuition to better grasp math in preparation for university.

There are several possible reasons why many students find mathematics hard and confusing. If your child is one of these students, there is nothing for you to worry about since there are also many ways to make learning math fun and easy for your kid.

But before finding out what these solutions are, you need to identify the problem first. Below are some of the most common possible reasons your child struggles with mathematics, like many other students.

1. They suffer from math anxiety

Math anxiety refers to the feelings of stress and tension that many students experience whenever they are faced with math-related situations. Because there is a common notion that math is hard, many students feel panicked and helpless when asked to solve a math problem. This is an adverse emotional reaction to mathematics that can be crippling to achieving good grades.

If you think your child might be suffering from math anxiety, it is vital to give them words of encouragement and validation from time to time. Tell them that they are not the only ones going through this hardship and that mistakes are normal when learning.

2. They have attention difficulties

Math usually involves multi-step problems in which students must perform various consecutive steps to find a solution. This naturally requires them to stay actively focused on the task they are doing. However, when complicated math procedures are being taught, many students tend to lose their focus and become distracted during the lesson.

As a result, the students miss several significant steps in the problem-solving process and later face difficulties when trying to solve math problems independently. To help your child improve their attention span, establish consistent routines for them to follow and encourage mindfulness as much as possible.

3. They lack patience and practice

Patience and practice are two essential things that should not go missing when learning math. Because math involves numerous complicated concepts and lessons, students need to take their time and exert plenty of effort to understand mathematics better. However, many students do not spend enough time and make a significant effort to practice math concepts.

If you want your child to become better at math, you need to encourage them to practice harder. Throw in rewards to convince them to become more patient when dealing with math problems. Reward systems are known for being an effective way to facilitate positive learning behaviour in students.

4. They find it hard to understand concepts

Sometimes, there are instances when students might know how to perform a math operation from repetition, but they do not truly understand the meaning behind it. Although it may be helpful when trying to pass an exam, learning from repetition will not make your child a pro at math.

To be good at mathematics, students need to understand math concepts and not just learn or memorise them. When they fully understand the concepts, they will be able to answer any math problems given to them and apply their understanding in real-life situations.

5. They have not learned the basics

Mathematics is cumulative by nature. This means that there are always connections between the previous and new lessons that are taught to students. If your child has not learned and understood the earlier and more basic math concepts, they will most likely find it difficult to understand the more complex ones that will be newly introduced.

Math concepts and lessons are like building blocks. It is necessary to establish the foundation first before moving forward. Students will find it challenging to catch up with the class lessons if the foundation is not there.


Math is undoubtedly one of the most challenging subjects to learn in school. If you or your child is constantly struggling to understand math concepts, enrolling in additional maths tuition is a great thing to consider. With proper tutoring – be it A level or IP math tuition – it can help students understand math lessons more easily, so they can also eventually learn to love mathematics. However, if you are looking for a time and cost saving alternative, subscribing to our online maths courses is a great option!

5 Possible Reasons Why Students Struggle With Math
Published: 25th March 2022
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