Cynthia Arem, Ph.D.

Pima Community College

So you are anxious about math.
Math anxiety is often a
complex, long-standing problem. What follows is a brief overview on how
to deal with your anxiety but it is by no means exhaustive. It is meant
only as an introduction to this topic. If you are experienceing math
anxiety please consider taking the Pima Community College course STU
105, Math Success Skills. |

**1. Many people who believe they are
math
anxious, are in reality, test anxious or poor math test-takers, and
once they
deal with these problems, they can be very successful in math. To
determine if
this is your problem, ask yourself:**

**Do you understand the math you are learning, or maybe, even like it, but you don't do well on math tests?****Do you find that there are tests in other subjects on which you blank or feel anxious as well?**

**If your answer to A or B is Yes, you
need help with
test anxiety. For assistance with math test anxiety or go to my Web
Pages:
Math Test-Taking Skills and Overcoming
Test Anxiety.**

**2. It is important to learn how to
manage, but not necessarily
eliminate, the anxiety you feel with math. Some anxiety keeps you on
our
toes, makes you be more alert and helps you to function at your best. I
encourage you to learn breathing techniques that physiologically calm
you
by changing rapid, shallow upper lung breathing to a deep, gentle and
slow
lower lung breathing.**

**3. One of the sure-fire secrets to
success in math
is maintaining a positive attitude toward math and your ability to do
math.
By using positive math affirmations and eliminating all negative math
self-talk
and disempowering math beliefs, you can develop a positive attitude and
increased enthusiasm for math. Tell yourself at every possible moment
that
you can and will succeed in reaching your math goal. Other positive
math
affirmations include: I am learning more math each day. Math helps me
to
get to where I want to go. I allow myself to relax while doing math. I
am relaxed, calm, alert and confident in math.**

**4. Learn to do Programmed Positive
Visualization. It
is the deliberate use of the power of your imagination to consciously
change
or reprogram negative math thinking. This technique is practiced while
in a deep state of relaxation. Once in this deep state, you visualize a
gradual progression through a sequence of positive steps leading to
your
math success goal. You may rehearse an upcoming math test, imagine
yourself
relaxed in math class or see yourself able to solve math problems. You
must practice this each day until your math goal is achieved.
**

**5. Learn the
conditions under which you learn math best and you will enhance your
math
achievement. Determine for yourself how time of day,
sound, lighting, temperature, food intake, social environment and
clothing
affect your learning.**

**6. Learn effective math study skills.
Here are a few
suggestions. Get involved in the learning process and don't be passive.
Carefully select your math class and your teacher. Go to class
regularly
and sit near the front of class, taking full class notes. Stay current
and don't fall behind. Be sure and take the initiative in asking
questions.
Always review your material immediately after class and eight hours
later.
Study at least 2 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week. Work out lots and
lots
of new problems and some review problems during each study session. For
an in-depth look at effective math study skills read and my
Web Pages: Math
Study Skills and Reading
a Math Textbook.**

**7. Do not allow math test anxiety to
handicap your achievement.
To overcome this anxiety you must maintain good nutritional habits,
adequate
sleep, relaxation, a physical exercise routine and effective test
preparation
and test-taking strategies. In addition, you must reverse any negative
self-talk, learn calming breath techniques and utilize Programmed
Positive
Visualization to see your success and help it become a reality. My Web
Pages: Math
Test-Taking Skills and Overcoming
Test Anxiety will help you conquer math test anxiety.**

**8. Even if math has given you
problems for years, act
as if you have control over your present level of success; act as if
you
really enjoy learning math; act as if it is coming to your more easily
each day. Soon your habit of pretending and the resulting success
you'll
achieve will make your feelings match your behavior.**

**9. Each day visualize yourself calm,
relaxed and confident
with math. Say to yourself, "I am becoming more calm, relaxed and
confident while doing math."**

**Each day see yourself understanding
more math and having
the concepts come easily and readily to you. Say to yourself, " I
can understand math if I give myself a chance."**

**Each day visualize yourself working
out difficult,
new math problems and say to yourself, "Working out math problems
is fun."**

**EVERY MINUTE OF
EVERY DAY SEE AND FEEL YOURSELF SUCCEEDING
IN MATH - YOUR MATH SUCCESS GOAL IS WITHIN YOUR GRASP. DON'T STOP NOW,
IT'S JUST UP AHEAD.
**The math
anxiety reduction suggestions on this page were taken from "Conquering
Math Anxiety, a Self Help Workbook" (Brooks/Cole 2010) by Cynthia Arem

__________________________________________________________

**To return to Frequently
Asked Questions go to my Web
site: Effective Math and Sciences
Study Skills**

**
****For information on
dealing with
stress click here: Stress Reduction
Websites**

Pima Community College