Math Anxiety Term Paper

Total Length: 1080 words ( 4 double-spaced pages)

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Math Anxiety

I did not realize before that I had any feelings of anxiety related to the subject of mathematics. Math is not the most difficult subject although certainly it can be challenging. Yet, my writing indicates that I do feel math-related anxiety which therefore need to be better understood. From early on, I knew that math was not my favorite subject. For many people math is difficult, primarily because it takes a great deal of memorization and strict rules. It is not a subjective subject, but rather an objective one. When you do a math problem, you either find the correct answer or you find a wrong answer. There is little room for maneuvering between these two extremes. Perhaps this is where my anxiety with math is the most obvious, in the fear of finding the right answer and the subsequent fear of being wrong in my findings. My math anxiety is really an anxiety over being wrong, of failing, and of not living up to what I perceive is my intellectual potential.

During an interview with someone who possesses a high degree of knowledge in mathematics, the same concept seemed to appear even though this individual did not know my assumptions about the different components of math and its objectivity being a decisive factor in anxiety. This individual had never really faced difficulties with the subject. In the interview, they informed me that math had always been their best subject in school. This person attributes that to the fact that the subject does not involve writing and is objectively correct or incorrect. Their degrees are in science and education, with a major in mathematics, indicating that these types of subjects are where they excel.
Yet, this person also says that they experienced a level of math anxiety while they were a student, primarily during examinations. This might not necessarily be anxiety related to math, but test anxiety which is something many students have to deal with, but it not limited to mathematics. A person can be terrified of math and feel no more pressure during tests or they might be wonderful in math but then become fearful when it comes time to take the tests.

In subjects such as mathematics where there is a definitive right or wrong response to any given question, I believe there is more pressure to be correct than anything else. In other subjects you might ultimately come to the wrong conclusion, but you can still be successful. An example of this would be English or History classes. The professor gives you a prompt and you must write about that prompt to prove a point. Your findings or analysis may be wholly different from the way that your professor sees things. Certainly in history if you have your dates or names wrong, then your work will have less potency and be worth less as a piece of academic discourse. However, you will still likely receive some credit for what you were able to do in the writing. Even if you understand the question wrongly and assert an incorrect response, you will still receive credit for your efforts. Mathematics rarely gives room for this kind of consideration. The situation is far more about black or….....

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