Archives for Math Anxiety

Emotions and Feelings

4 Tips to Reduce Final Exam Anxiety

Relax and look forward to summer by getting on top of your exam preparation.

The school year is coming to a close, but high school students first need to make it through final exams.

Try these strategies to get a handle on your anxiety and help exam season go smoothly:

Get started now! Anxiety builds as you worry and do nothing. It may feel very difficult to get started, but you will feel immediate relief once...
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Education

Is Your Student “Pumped Up,” or “Deflated”?

Last week I wrote about the demonstrably positive effects of longer-term studying. Kids who begin studying several days before a test and who study consistently and to the point of mastery get high grades.

This seems like a no-brainer, right? So why don't more kids do it?

One reason is that fear and anxiety hamper people's ability to think straight and organize themselves. (We talk a lot about executive function issues in kids, but these are problems all people of all ages experience)

As part of his 
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Education

5 Tips to Minimize Final Exam Anxiety

Final exams can be stressful, but here are some tips that can help make exam season go smoothly:

Get started now! Anxiety builds as you worry and do nothing. It may feel very difficult to get started, but you will feel immediate relief.
Begin reviewing now. You need not wait until teachers hand out review guides. Get out your old tests and quizzes and begin reworking them. (Don't merely reread the questions and answers; you need to cover up your old answers and actually rework /rewrite each question on paper).
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Emotions and Feelings

Dealing With My Own Math Anxiety

Do math tutors ever suffer math anxiety?

I do, sometimes, when I know I'm going to have to teach a topic that lies at the outer boundary of my own expertise.

So, yes, I am feeling anxious right now, because this afternoon I'm going to have to help a student with some pretty sophisticated trigonometry (including those dreaded "ferris wheel" problems). It's stuff I don't do every day...and it's hard!

Here's how I'm coping:
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Emotions and Feelings

Why Do We Have to Learn This Stuff?

Students ask me this all the time, usually in reference to some especially tedious math lesson.

And for years and years I worked hard to come up with sound explanations for WHY we need algebra, WHY chemistry is important, etc, etc...

Kids would listen and then look dissatisfied.

One day the lightbulb went on for me: I'm answering the wrong question!
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Education

Is SAT Prep Harmful, or Helpful?

Test preparation is big business these days, and I'm part of it.

I've been prepping kids for the SAT, ACT, PSAT, SSAT, ISEE and other tests, for decades now.

Is test prep a plus? Or does it do more harm than good?

In my opinion, it depends on how the preparation is done.

Is the goal merely to achieve a higher score? One common approach is to teach tricks and shortcuts, which supposedly produces higher scores quickly. JenBee wrote about how harmful this sort of coaching was for her:
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Education

Smart Kids and the SAT

I received this thoughtful response from to my last post about standardized tests and your child's self-esteem:
I'm 36 years old and I've been harboring bitterness about the PSAT since I was 17. We took it in 10th grade and I got a really high score. This made me feel like the bar was set pretty high. Well, when I took it again in 11th grade... I bombed.
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Education

The PSAT and Your Child’s Self-Esteem

Your eleventh-grader is about to receive an early holiday "gift": PSAT scores get sent home in early to mid-December.

For most kids, these scores (and other standardized test scores, such as the SSAT, ISEE, SAT, ACT, etc) hit hard, whether they're bad or good! And it's important to give kids the perspective and support they need to turn their results into personal empowerment, and not discouragement.
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General

Last-Minute SAT Math Study


I've spent this week rehearsing the Big SAT Math Ideas with my students. Here's a list of some of the most important.
Pass these last-minute refreshers along to any high-schooler you know taking the SAT on Saturday, May 1 (tomorrow!)
(And, take a look yourself and see how much you remember)

An integer is a whole number, including zero and the negatives. Fractions are not integers. Examples of integers: ....-3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3...
Figures on the SAT are drawn to scale unless they tell you otherwise. You can assume that segments that look equal are equal, angles are drawn to scale, etc.
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