Math Mindset

I’m not amazing at math. I maintained a B average throughout this year, and pretty much bombed the final exam. You may be wondering why I am making all of these facts about my math public? Well it’s because this year I learned that math is more than just adding and subtracting numbers, and calculating percents. Math is about mindset and confidence, and I probably would have done so much better this year if I didn’t focus so much on the math problems, but also on how I approach those problems. Math is a step-by-step process and if you can’t pass step one without freaking out, you will never make it to the last step.

I always started reviewing for math tests and exams at least two weeks before, and until the test, every night I would do some questions in areas I wasn’t confident in. But as soon as I sat down in the exam room for my final exam and the test was placed on my desk, it felt like everything I had learned this past year had was lost. I should have taken a few deep breathes, not worry about getting a perfect score. All I could think was “Get an A, get an A”. I sped through the test, and I actually felt pretty good about it when I walked out of the exam room. But a week later, I received my exam and was nothing but disappointed. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was more than a B student in math, but I obviously wouldn’t achieve an A on my final report card if I couldn’t get a good score on my exam. I would be lucky to get a B.

That final exam wasn’t the only occasion that I had freaked myself out and panicked during a math test, it happens almost every time. I am not confident in math. It is the one thing at school that I am afraid of. Numbers are little monsters that won’t function in my head. I need to find a way to approach number problems with the confidence to solve them. My parents, friends and math teachers have taught me that I’m not bad at math. I understand all the concepts, I show that I can solve problems during class time. But as soon as it’s a test and worth part of our grade, I panic and freak out. Next year in math I am going to be confident. I don’t care if I get another B, I just want to be able to show my full potential on tests.

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4 thoughts on “Math Mindset

  1. Dear Claire

    Thank you for sharing this story about your Math prowess. I am very impressed with your personal insight in this regard, and your courage to share your experience. It seems to me you are reflecting a relationship between you and Math that you have wrestled with, and at times have been “gripped by,” despite your preparation for testing situations. I think you are now saying that the subject here is Math, but the real story is about the relationship you had constructed with yourself about you and Math performance, especially in a testing situation.

    While you start with a sense of being stuck in a pattern you don’t like, your story really is one of “freeing” yourself, firstly to change the relationship you will have with Math from now on, and secondly to be emotionally free from Math having the power it formerly had to frighten you into believing you will not do well. I am very proud of you and know you will follow through with your plan.

    Congratulations not only on the personal insight you have shared in this regard, but your courage to share your story; which I believe is a very generous gift for others who may be inspired by your reflection and encouraged by your resolve.

    Love, Frances >

  2. Sounds like a true case of performance anxiety getting the best of the test taker, right? Love your analysis of the situation and your great insight but, most importantly, I admire your determination to beat the “Math Monster”! Go for it, girl! You can do this! No pressure, right?

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