Top 10 Reasons Students Hate Mathematics

Mathematics is used to formulate conjectures (a conjecture in mathematics is a proposition or conclusion based on incomplete information for which no proof has been found).  Mathematics is also used to seek out new patterns. Mathematicians use mathematical proof to resolve the truth or falsify conjectures.

Mathematical reasoning can provide good predictions and insight about various phenomena. Mathematics has been a human activity as far back as when written records started existing. Question is why do most students hate mathematics?

Here are the top ten reasons many students hate maths:

10. It is difficult to understand

Confused Child

While learning the basics are important in math, some students find it difficult the various methods and concepts of solving math. The higher the classes the more difficult math is. It often takes determination and focus for a student to learn math.

9. Fear of humiliation or criticism

Most students fear shame of not getting the correct answer. While some students see this as a challenge, others prefer to hide in a cover and begin to dislike everything about the subject. The teacher and parents have a responsibility to identify the student’s difficulty and help him feel more comfortable to learn the subject.

8. The math haters’ epidemic

Most students tend to look up to the people that a great influence in their life and also mirror their steps and attitudes. If a parent, sibling or even friend they look up to, show a dislike for math and react negatively towards it, the student might also copy that attitude. If the person he or she spends more time with doesn’t show interest in math, the student might most likely find less interest in the subject.

7. The fear of not winning a challenge

Sad boy

Most students like to win, but if they try their hands on something and they cannot win, they will give up overtime.  Teaching and encouraging students that there’s nothing too difficult to learn and master is very important. When a student tries solving a math and cannot get the answer, it is most likely he will give up and lose interest in the subject.

6. Inability to memorize Maths

Lots of students are used to mugging their answers on subjects or topics they find difficult to remember. It is important to memorize facts like events and dates since they cannot change, but not in mathematics. You cannot memorize some of the formulas because its application differs and the numbers also differ.

5. The wrong portion for the wrong age

Even though we have been encouraged to stretch and broaden our minds, however, there are boundaries especially for children as to the level of things they learn per time. Though some colleges and schools set certain things as portions to be covered by the teacher, there is a possibility that a child may find it difficult to learn much at that set amount of time given at his age. As a result, maths becomes a burden to him and he begins to hate the subject.

3. So many different methods for a simple calculation?!

Maths confusion

For instance, 5×3=15, 20-5=15, and 10+5=15. These different methods bring confusion and questions to the minds of students. There are so many methods of solving a simple math sums at every stage of schooling. So many graphs, equations, calculus, sequences, series, geometrical ideas, exponential,  ecology and catastrophe theory, and what not. The list never ends. Life is nothing but calculations at every step. Some students with without guidance can find it difficult to learn these formulas and subject as a whole.

3. Boring!

With so many numbers and no stories,maths can be crazy boring. The only thing close to a story ever told in my maths class is “Tosin has a basket of X oranges. He gave 10 to Joy, 5 to Ada, 4 got rotten and the rest got missing. How many oranges was in the basket?.  Stories have a way of  making us memorize and recall things faster because, stories are interesting and they get our attention. Building stories while we learn is a good method of  teaching and it is a very common practice. Even science tells stories of ‘how, why and what’. Not so with maths!  Maths is just straight forward with little or no introduction. This makes it boring , hence, students tend to feel less interested in the subject.

2. Maths is either right or wrong

It is either you know how to solve the problems or you don’t, there is no in-between and no make do with maths. No guess work or trying to fool the teacher with ambiguous words and long essays. Other subjects are flexible in the sense that you can write half the answer correctly and get your half but no, maths had to be different. Hence, many students dislike it.

1. The teacher

Boring Teacher

Yup, we are going to rightly put all our maths frustration on all boring math teachers. Not all teachers are good at what they do. Some maths teachers do not teach the subject with enthusiasm. For them, it is just a job, while for the students, they find maths even more puzzling than before the teacher taught the subject. So it is important for teachers to introduce numbers and calculations in an interesting way so as to capture the interest of the students. Basic maths foundation is important and teachers should ensure their students learn and master them.

Although mathematics seems to appear uninteresting, it has its benefits when correctly learned and applied. There are so many advantages to learning maths. You get better at learning complicated things and you are not afraid of complex classes and ideas. Maths can help develop your pride and confidence in your ability to understand various phenomena and earns you high self-esteem.

Grow your love for maths and in the long run, you will find out that maths isn’t as hard as people make it seem and you can make subject interesting for you if you wish. As most of the maths hot heads would say “you will learn it if you put your mind into it”.

Plus if you are one the 2% able to spot the mix up in our numbering, you are one step closer to mastering mathematics.

Got any thoughts on why students hate mathematics? Why not share in the comments section!

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Reasons Students Hate Mathematics

  • September 10, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    I would like to add a few to the list.

    1) Math takes a lot of time and work.
    2) No or not enough motivating examples/useful applications.

    Your number one reason can be a deal breaker for many students. Teachers and educators have more influence than they think.

  • April 8, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Most students hate mathematics because Mathematics is really difficult to understand. While learning the basics are important in math, some students find it difficult with the various methods and concepts of solving mathematics. The higher their classes are, the more difficult math is for them. It often takes determination and focus for a student to learn mathematics. There are math hater’s epidemic and the fear of not winning a challenge about math. But, there are some solutions for students who hate mathematics. Students must enjoy studying math in class. So students are not getting bored studying in class. Games, toys, and puzzles give students opportunities to explore these ideas in highly engaging and not in tired ways. In conclusion, Although mathematics seems to appear uninteresting, it has its benefit when correctly learned and applied.


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