# Getting rid of the Maths fear

### Becoming proficient in numbers can help students succeed in their career and life, avers Romith Rao

There’s a good news to all students struggling with Maths and all those parents worried about their children’s performance: the human brain is mightily gifted with calculation, logical interpretation and reasoning ability. All you need to do is unlock this potential and train your brain to calculate quickly and accurately.

Mostly, students who face problems with Maths are termed to be slow learners. They are those who find it difficult to keep pace with the learning pace of the rest of the class. Their basic calculations like multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, decimals, fractions, percentages and ratios are slow and are mostly wrong.

As a result, they repeatedly commit mistakes and are unable to understand the topics being taught in the classroom. Consequently, such students start to feel neglected, discouraged and get chided by parents, which worsens their situation. As a result, they come to fear Mathematics.

Such students also become the laughing stock of the class, thanks to the mistakes they make. This psychologically discourages them from even trying to solve a problem or answering a question asked by their teachers. Eventually, such students will resort to copying, both in classrooms and exams. Needless to say, such damaging practices will affect their learning skills in the long run.

So, what’s the solution for this? To start with, it is extremely important for the kid to improve the basic calculations namely division, multiplication, addition and subtraction, decimals, fractions, percentages and ratios. The basic calculations should be practiced in a time-bound manner for about three to six months so as to increase the speed and accuracy of the student in the subject.

Since weak students lack understanding of previous concepts, learning all previous lessons relevant to the present class syllabus are vital. In about an hour of practice per day, half an hour should be meant for practice and the rest for learning previous lessons. Students should be given a test at the end of each topic.

Tests should be designed starting with simple and easy questions to improve the confidence of the students. The difficulty level of the tests should be gradually increased week after week. Regular practice, revision and regular tests definitely help a student. Feedback from the test results shows the areas of concerns and what the student needs to learn and practice.

The students should be consistently encouraged and inspired during this practice course and never discouraged at any point. Having said that, they should also be corrected when they commit mistakes.

By the end of this practice course, the student will have developed good speed and accuracy in calculations. The student would have relearned and revised all relevant previous lessons.

She or he would have also realised and worked on all of their shortcomings and is now completely able to solve the problems in the present syllabus in school, quickly and accurately. There will definitely be a drastic improvement in their scores, performance and most importantly, in their confidence level.

One advice that could help all students would be to develop a habit of solving problems on their own. Use your own brains, put in a little more effort and you will never need to depend on others. Students of Classes 8 and 9 who are weak in Maths and have performed poorly throughout need to relearn the subject and take up a detailed course for about six months. This will help you perform well in your upcoming Class 10 exams and get admissions in top colleges of your choice.

Develop a habit of reading books and using the Internet for learning purposes and not for watching viral videos and social media. So, once you have got a handle on all the basic aspects of Maths, don’t stop. It’s time to move ahead with advanced level studies.

Take part in quizzes, aptitude tests and hone your skills. Try to work without using a calculator. Take up logical interpretation tests and reasoning ability tests. Many such tests are available online. Read good books on various topics and on the latest technologies.

Remember, only constant practice can make you perfect in any subject. And as always, don’t hesitate to take help from experts. If necessary, get some coaching from subject matter experts, mathematicians and professional teachers with expertise and experience.

(The author is a number theorist & CEO, FIRST Math Academy, Mangaluru)