Math is a necessary part of life.
We use it to determine how much money we have at the end of the week, how many ingredients we’ll need to cook a particular dish, and how to build homes and infrastructure more securely.
However, learning math isn’t always easy.
Even basic math can be difficult for some people to grasp at first.
If you’re struggling to learn math, then you may wonder why.
Why Am I So Bad At Math? (10 Potential Reasons)
1. Poor Teachers
Sometimes not being able to learn math isn’t entirely your fault.
Sometimes your teachers are to blame.
The problem with education is that there are several different ways to go about it.
There are many different teaching styles.
Not every teacher uses the same style either.
This can make learning a bit difficult since you have to adapt to each different style based on the class you’re attending.
What’s even worse is that the style that they use might not work for you.
It might not be a way that your brain learns well.
You may learn math eventually, but it will be a struggle the whole way there.
Some teachers also have no business teaching.
They may have gotten hired through virtue of connections rather than ability.
This is a disservice to the students who then pay the price for their incompetence.
Even worse, if the teacher has tenure and has been doing their job for several decades, then they might no longer care.
Work burnout is real, and it affects teachers, too.
The problem with tenured teachers is that it’s difficult to get rid of them.
They may not be giving their best effort to teach their students math, which reflects in your inability to learn it.
There are several reasons your teacher might be making it difficult to learn math.
Having the right teacher for your particular way of learning is just as important as having the right therapist.
The wrong teacher or therapist won’t be able to provide the service that you need.
As a result, it may turn you away from education or therapy entirely.
You may grow frustrated and disengage from the entire process.
Pretty soon, it won’t be only math that you’re struggling with.
School districts need to be mindful of the teachers that they hire to ensure they provide different teaching styles to best educate their students.
You may be bad at math because your teacher isn’t effective at teaching it.
2. Class Speed
Each school follows a particular curriculum.
They expect their teachers to follow the curriculum to the letter.
This creates a few problems, especially when some of their students are falling behind.
Another part of the problem is milestone tests.
Standardized tests aim to be a catch-all exam that quantifies a student’s progress.
The problem is that the results aren’t so clear and several variables can influence how well a student does.
For example, one student may take the exam after a full night’s rest.
Another student who has abusive parents and didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before will also take the test.
Both may be smart, but the lack of sleep for one student may affect their overall performance.
The biggest problem with standardized tests is that they’re scheduled throughout the year.
As such, it pushes teachers to teach certain subjects by the time the test is to be taken.
It doesn’t leave a lot of room to dig into each concept until it’s thoroughly learned.
Instead, students basically get a surface-level understanding that allows them to build off of it just enough to learn more advanced concepts.
They pass through subjects and concepts at a high speed.
This isn’t great for those who are struggling with math.
They need more time to learn the basics before taking on more advanced concepts.
Due to the way the educational system is currently structured, however, that time isn’t available to them.
They may need a third-party educational system like a tutor or an actual business to help them catch up.
Not everyone has the time or can afford this luxury, however.
As a result, the student continues to fall behind.
You may be bad at math because the class is moving too quickly to stay on track with looming standardized tests ahead.
3. Learning Disability
You may have a learning disability and not even realize it.
Learning disabilities can be moderate or mild.
All of them affect your ability to learn.
If you struggle to learn the basics due to a learning disability, then it’s going to be even more difficult to learn more advanced concepts.
Some examples of learning disabilities include:
Dyscalculia is a specific type of learning disability that involves math.
It covers the inability to understand and comprehend numbers and their calculation of them.
There are several reasons you might suffer from dyscalculia.
If it’s mild, then you may not even realize how it’s affecting the rest of your life.
You may only notice that it’s affecting your grade in math.
Dysgraphia is another learning disability that can affect your ability to learn math.
This type of disability describes a struggle to read or write.
This impacts math when you get to story problems.
You’re required to read a small paragraph that sets up the problem and provides the necessary information that you need to solve the problem.
If you have dysgraphia, however, then it may be difficult to read or comprehend what the story problem is saying.
As such, you can struggle to perform math since you’re unable to understand what the story problem is telling you.
Finally, if you have dyslexia, then it can also affect your ability to perform math.
Dyslexia is a disability that switches around letters or even whole words in your brain.
It can happen when you’re reading or when you’re writing.
As a result, you may misunderstand something or be unable to comprehend it at all.
This also affects math when it comes to story problems.
You may not understand what it’s asking for.
It may even affect your ability to write out equations.
Putting one wrong number somewhere can give you an incorrect answer.
You may understand the concept, but your learning disability forces you to make mistakes.
You may be bad at math because of a learning disability.
ADHD has seen a lot of focus over the years.
As researchers do more work on it, they’re able to shed some more light on the condition and how it impacts learning.
ADHD has several different sub-types and is often associated with other learning disabilities or behavioral problems.
You may have mild ADHD and not even realize that you’re suffering from it.
Others who are older may have ADHD and not know it because they simply thought that’s just how they were and that it was normal.
It’s only in recent years that more people have begun to understand what ADHD is and whether it affects them or not.
ADHD describes a condition in which children or people are unable to control their behavior or pay attention.
Depending on the type of ADHD that you have, you may be unable to control your behavior but pay attention, be able to control your behavior and not pay attention, or not be able to control your behavior or pay attention.
Learning math requires a lot of focus.
Those who had ADHD cannot always sit still or focus enough to learn it.
Even learning basic math can be difficult since they’re difficult concepts when you first start to study them.
As you progress into more advanced math, it requires even more focus.
The problem with math is that you often need to spend a lot of time on it to learn it.
That’s why math homework is so common.
Teachers need their students to spend more time outside of class learning the basics.
Students with ADHD struggle because they have lots of distractions at home.
They also already spend most of their day focusing at school.
They may not have enough focus left to spend on homework.
Besides not being able to pay attention, if you’re unable to control your behavior, then you may create a distracting environment for
That’s not an environment that allows you to focus on and learn math.
You may be bad at math because you suffer from either moderate or mild ADHD.
5. Distracting Environment
Another reason you might be bad at math is that you’re trying to learn it in a distracting environment.
Classrooms have their share of distractions.
If you have friends in the classroom, then your focus might be on talking with them instead of learning.
If there are other groups of friends in the classroom, then they might be talking loudly or joking around.
This might also distract you from learning since you want to know what they’re talking about.
Schools that are close to streets or highways can also create distracting environments.
You may have more of an interest in what’s going on outside of the school than inside of it.
Issues at home can also distract you.
Maybe your parents are fighting or your sibling is sick.
Maybe your dog is in the hospital after getting into a fight.
Home-related distractions can affect you the entire day and have an impact on your overall performance.
There are plenty of social distractions that can also keep you from focusing on math.
If you’re someone who gets bullied, then you may focus on that rather than your math.
This can be even more distracting if your bully is in the same class as you.
The distraction may even be positive.
Perhaps there’s an exciting party or game at the end of the school day.
You may be thinking and focused on that rather than on your math.
Distractions keep your focus away from math.
The problem with that is that if you miss something, then it’s going to affect your ability to do formulas.
In the world of math, everything builds on each other.
If you miss one concept, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to struggle going forward.
You may be bad at math because there are too many distractions keeping you from learning.
6. No Foundation
Math has a structure.
It starts with basic calculations.
1 + 1 = 2.
Then it grows to basic algebra.
Variables start to emerge, and you have to solve for x based on what you know from basic math.
Then geometry begins.
You need to take basic algebra and basic math to calculate the size of a square or sphere.
After geometry comes trigonometry.
You need to take basic math, basic algebra, and basic geometry to solve for the angle or the length of a triangle set in a circle.
After that comes pre-calculus and calculus.
Now you’re learning about imaginary numbers, functions, and integrals.
All of these concepts use the concepts that you learned before.
This becomes a problem if there’s a particular concept that you didn’t understand.
If you don’t have a solid foundation, then you’re not going to be able to learn the more advanced concepts of math.
For example, if you still don’t grasp basic algebra, then doing calculus is not going to be easy.
It’s algebra at its most advanced.
You can’t expect to learn advanced concepts before you learn the foundationary basics first.
You may be bad at math because there’s a gap in your knowledge of the basics.
Without that foundation, it’s impossible to learn high-tier math concepts.
7. Story Problems
There are two main ways that a math problem may present itself to you.
The easiest is a basic equation.
Your teacher may set out a number of equations that you then need to solve.
The other way is through a story problem.
A story problem usually describes a certain situation.
It tells a story in an attempt to relate math to real life.
It gives you an idea of how this type of math is sometimes found in the real world.
The problem with story problems is that they’re much more involved than basic equation problems.
You need to read the problem first.
If your reading comprehension isn’t up to par, then this can impede your ability to do the math from the start.
You also need to be able to pull the information that you need from the information that’s just fluff.
Some teachers will test to see if you can determine the information that you need to solve the problem from the information that isn’t useful.
This can be complex if you’re unable to read well or if you don’t understand the basic concept of the type of math that you’re doing initially.
Finally, you then have to set up the equations and formulas yourself.
If you don’t know them or have them memorized, then it’s impossible to solve the problem.
Story problems are complex and offer plenty of areas where someone might fail.
You might be bad at math because you don’t perform particularly well with story problems.
Math isn’t as simple as just learning concepts.
In many cases, you have to memorize formulas.
For some types of math functions, there is only one specific way to solve them.
For example, in trigonometry, you need to remember that to find the sine of a triangle, you need to solve for the opposite and hypotenuse lengths of the triangle.
You also need to remember what certain degrees equate to in terms of sine.
Then you need to memorize it in radians.
There’s a lot of memorization involved in math.
Since you’re expected to learn several different types of math throughout your educational experience, it’s difficult to have every single formula memorized.
It’s even impossible for many students.
Because of that, you often have to dump certain memorized formulas for new ones to progress forward.
The problem comes when you need to recall the formula you dumped for the next concept of math.
You may be bad at math because it involves a lot of memorization.
9. Lack Of Motivation
Sometimes the reason you’re bad at math is that you’re not motivated to learn it.
Learning math beyond basic arithmetic and algebra may seem pointless.
If you know that you’re not going to into a career that uses high-tier math, then you may wonder why you’re wasting your time learning it.
There are so many other important things you could be learning.
As such, you may not feel like it’s worth paying attention to.
The problem is with the way that the educational system is currently set up, everyone has to learn the same concepts of math.
It doesn’t matter if you plan on going to college or not, or if you’re going to pursue a math-heavy career or not.
You have to learn everything.
If you don’t, then your report card will reflect poorly and you’ll be unable to graduate.
Motivation plays an important role in education.
If you’re not motivated to learn something, then it isn’t going to receive your full focus.
Without focus, you won’t learn.
With motivation, you can focus and remain engaged.
This helps you learn faster and better.
You may be bad at math because you’re not motivated to learn it.
10. Math Anxiety
A final reason you might be bad at math is that you suffer from math anxiety.
Math anxiety describes a condition in which you feel helpless, frightened, or lost when thinking about or performing math.
That sort of negative mindset ends up influencing how well you do.
In a way, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You worry so much about not doing the math correctly that you get so lost in your own head and you end up not doing the math correctly.
This further feeds your anxiety because you think it proves that you’re bad at math.
Math anxiety creates a distracting and stressful mental environment for yourself.
This impacts your ability to think critically and logically.
You can alleviate math anxiety by taking the time to learn math on your own, slowly, or with a tutor in a one-on-one environment.
By taking your time and being gentle with yourself, you can learn math and overcome your anxiety.
Math is a difficult branch of learning because it requires logical thinking, critical thinking, and reading comprehension.
If anything affects any of those traits in you, then you’re going to struggle to learn math.
The factors can range from environmental to mental to even institutional.
With enough practice and time, you can become a math pro.NEXT: How Long Can An NFL Game Be Delayed? (Explained)