Why Is Math so Hard?


Quick Answer

Math is not difficult for every student, but for some, the requirements for stamina, logical thinking and the ability to learn cumulatively can be a challenge. Students who have a difficult time in any or all of these areas may find themselves struggling with mathematics.

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Full Answer

Many students have a harder time with word problems, which require reading and understanding a scenario in addition to performing calculations, than they do with problems that begin with calculations in the same skill set. This is largely due to a lack of stamina in the brain, as the student has to interpret what he reads before even beginning the calculation process, which leads to fewer correct answers.

Some brain researches believe that students stronger with "left-brain" thinking, who understand learning in small, sequential pieces, understand mathematical concepts more quickly than students who are stronger in "right-brain" thinking, which involves larger, more global concepts. The right-brain students often need more time to catch up, and many classroom environments simply lack that time.

Math is a discipline that builds over time, and it is necessary to understand one level or area before having success at the next level. The rules for simple calculation, like subtraction or division, are the foundation for more complex concepts, and the chain of necessary knowledge only lengthens as students go through school. Students who fall behind during the elementary years often never catch up with their peers, making math especially difficult for them.

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