Is it normal that i’ve suddenly become weak at math?

I used to be pretty good at math with all A’s and B’s but now I’ve just become very bad. Maybe it’s because ever since I took algebra in 7th grade I was a little weak in that class, but not to the point where it’s noticeable - more B’s and less A’s. It was never much of a problem because I was okay with B’s, and they were in the 85-89 range. Then, a few years later, I start seeing a drop in my math grades - low B’s and high C’s. At first I thought “oh i just messed up that time, I’ll do better”. Then it happens again, and again, until my teacher asked me if I was sure I wanted to stay in that class (it was a little advanced) I said no because I thought people would think that i was stupid. I kind of wish I did, but I worked harder and got to mid B’s and occasional C’s. But then sometime in February my grades become bad again, and even if I worked hard I just could never pull up my grades! I cried to sleep and my dad always told me that poor math skills led to McDonalds’ University as a joke. Now I feel like it’s actually going to happen and I don’t want that. I also want to go to a good college, but honestly with my really poor math skills it isn’t happening. My mom has told me it’s because I give up too easily. I always say I do work hard, and I did. I worked hard the last couple months but nothing happened. If it doesn’t help why should I try? Everyone in my class is great except me. I’m probably lowering my school’s average ACT score too.

Is It Normal?
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Comments ( 7 ) Sort: best | oldest
  • I think it's like with most things that practice will make you good at it

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  • Just study more. I go to a high ranking university and I’m not a natural genius, I just worked to get where I am

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  • Just as some people are born with a natural affinity for art, music or language, some people have the neural wiring that allows them to intuitively grasp mathematical principles.

    A person who isn't gifted musically will probably never become a truly great musical artist, but they can become a competent musician if they're motivated to be one, maintain a positive attitude and put in the hours of practice necessary.

    The same applies to mathematics.

    It sounds like you don't have a naturally mathematical brain, but most people can deal with math at high school level and people who are bright enough to move on to college can deal with college-level math. But in order to do so, they must have a good grasp of the principles at every level before they move onward in the hierarchy of mathematical complexity.

    From what you say, it sounds like your foundations are a bit wobbly in places, so it would probably be worthwhile if you spent some time figuring out where exactly you're weak and then fixed those problems.

    There are lots free online math lessons. Check out Khan Academy, and have a look on YouTube for lessons on topics you find challenging. Sometimes, all that's necessary to finally truly understand a mathematical principle or rule is to have it explained in a slightly different way by someone who's a talented teacher.

    Mindset is a major factor in learning anything. If you've convinced yourself that you're crap at math, then you'll definitely be crap at math. Maintaining a positive attitude isn't everything; not everyone can be brilliant at math or in any other field if they only believe in themselves strongly enough. But allowing a negative attitude to develop will definitely block you from achieving all that you might be capable of.

    Finally, I suggest you have a think about how you're working on math. You say you're working hard, but if what you mean by that is that you're spending hour after hour staring at work-sheets, flailing around as you struggle through the problems trying to apply rules you've memorised without any true understanding of _why_ the rules apply to the problems in front of you, then your efforts are probably wasted and quite possibly counter-productive.

    Very few people are able to truly concentrate on any task that involves learning for much more than about thirty minutes. If you try to push on for longer than you're capable of because you want to be able to tell people that you've "studied hard", then a fog will fill your head, the problems will become more and more challenging until you've lost all focus and you'll descend into despair. Once that happens, the main thing you're accomplishing is reinforcing negative attitudes about your abilities.

    A much better approach is to begin your work session committed to concentrating on the learning task for half an hour or forty-five minutes (ideally by using a timer, so you don't cheat in either direction), take a fifteen minute break at the end of the period to do something enjoyable, return to the task for another half-hour, and so on.

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  • Do you even know what you want to do with your life? Dont worry about college till you have a career your building towards

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  • Get a tutor? If you’re still failing ask to move to the lower class.

    Also why are you on a site that has nothing to do with school and clearly says you should be 18+? You’re probably gonna get ripped into in these comments. May I suggest the StudentRoom in future?

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  • Did you get any head trauma? Like a car wreck or some accident. That really can mess you up with stuff like that.

    Also education is awesome but not necessary to make good money. Theres people in the oil business making 300+ a year driving trucks. If you get good enough at computers and learn coding you could get a high paying job with that too based on your skills alone. It all depends on what you wanna do I guess but its not necessary. My uncle can not even read and hes a multi millionaire. Im not suggesting taking it to that extreme but you get the point.

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  • Math is for nerds. Have you recently started doing interesting things that serve a purpose?

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