Mathematics has always been regarded the Queen of all sciences. Being a science of numbers and space many modern disciplines have evolved from maths. Moreover, it is an accurate science that does not provide alternative solutions as there is only one right answer to any assignment. However, it is one of a few school subjects learning of which may eventually grow into a phobia.

Undoubtedly, maths is one of the most difficult subjects at school. To have a good command of this subject it is necessary to learn it from the basics and without gaps. But it is not the only discipline that requires such efforts. So why then does phobia of math exist and how to combat it? Let’s try to find answers to these questions in the article.

What is Math phobia: definition and symptoms

Many renowned scholars have given great recognition to mathematics that is considered to be a difficult subject. This thought rests in the heads of students and they result in poor performing and development of math phobia. However, reasons for this phobia are much more various.

Math phobia is a feeling of anxiety that appears because of solving different mathematical problems. Apart from anxiety, some people call math phobia a tension, panic, helplessness, and mental disorganization. Possession of a prolonged phobia feeling can have a negative impact on health issues and desire to learn the following subject further. That is why any phobia should be eliminated at the very beginning not to evolve into more serious problems.

As well as other phobia types math phobia has the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety, depression, and panic;
  • Fear of doing anything else;
  • Sweating, trembling or getting hot flushes;
  • Problems with breathing;
  • Apparent choking sensation;
  • Quicker heartbeat and tightness in the chest;
  • Nausea, headache, fainting;
  • Getting confused and disorganized;
  • Immediate desire to leave.

Causes of math phobia

It is impossible to get a phobia without learning anything about the subject. Usually, only those people can get a math phobia who get nervous on any occasion and undergo the influence of other people. But nobody is insured against that overwhelming feeling as the causes of math phobia are quite various:

  • Educator’s teaching method is aggressive, stressful and tiresome.
  • Inability to solve math problems.
  • Bad relationships between a teacher and a pupil.
  • Inability to cope with too much home assignment.
  • A teacher can not break down concepts into simple and easy-to-understand units.
  • Students are given tasks without instructions.
  • Teacher’s abusive words.
  • Weak mathematics background.
  • Negative attitude to the subject.
  • The solution of mathematical problems takes much time.
  • Accentuating that male students perform better than females.
  • Lack of reference materials etc.


How can be phobia of math expressed by students?

It often happens that neither teachers nor parents do not realize that a child suffers from math phobia. All those troubles are referred to improper upbringing, age crises or bad example. But in reality, you might be very surprised to learn the ways how students show their phobia:

  1. Ignorance of the subject is very often connected by parents with a variety of other problems but not the core of the problem.
  2. Discontinuity in concept learning in another apparent feature.
  3. Avoiding any participation in the learning process.
  4. Offending or ignoring a teacher.
  5. Getting nervous and stressed when assigned to solve mathematical problems. Feeling feared, anxious and panicked.
  6. Mentioning that maths is the least favorite subject.
  7. Skipping classes.
  8. Selective attention.
  9. Irrational thinking.

In general, they can be categorized into three groups: behavioral, emotional and cognitive.

Struggling with math phobia

It is a task of both a teacher and student to get rid of math phobia and treat this subject as well as other ones. Of course, if some negative experience has already transformed into a phobia, it is much more difficult to find the root of the problem. But there are still some methods that might be helpful in the struggle with phobia and they are:

  1. Constant use of instructional materials for students to see an example.
  2. Prevailing in using contemporary and innovative teaching approaches.
  3. Creation of the conductive environment for learning.
  4. Giving more time for every assignment and thus decreasing its number per each lesson.
  5. Building trustworthy and close relations between teachers and students.
  6. Motivating students to treat math positively.
  7. Breaking down sections into closer units.
  8. Providing access to reference material.
  9. Use of modern facilities, devices, and tools.
  10. Organization of tutorials for teachers.
  11. Making some changes in the curriculum for it to be feasible to students.
  12. Hiring only professional teachers that never stop developing.


Unfortunately, educational systems of all countries are not exceptional. Students have to meet numerous challenges and math phobia is among them. Many surveys state that in most cases the cause of phobia developing is teacher’s fault. When a pupil likes a teacher, he will never hate the subject he or she teaches. Of course, the role of a student in this situation is not less significant as there are students inclined to take everything too close to heart and suffer from that and more cold-hearted youth. In any case, it is important to do everything to eliminate the math phobia among students as this subject is very important for further development while a simple phobia can gradually become a serious psychological problem.

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Math Phobia Among Students: The Root Of All Evil

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