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Math Problems

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am in 10th grade and I am in all AP classes except for math. I've been bad at math ever since I can remember, but it is the fifth day of school and I'm falling behind in class on te review materials! I'm usually not this bad at math. whenever Igo into the class I start sweating, and shaking, and I try really hard, but I just really don't get it. But i got it last year when we first learned it. My teacher is nice and everything, but I don't know if I should ask for extra help or everything will pass once I get back into the school routiine. Thanks. Math Problems
Signed: Math Problems

Dear Math Problems,


If you have found over the years that math is a particularly tough subject for you, TeenHealthFX strongly advises that you create a plan for yourself at the beginning of each school year to ensure that you are feeling on top of your math assignments. A plan might include the following:


  • Making arrangements for regular tutoring sessions. You can check with your teacher to see whether he/she can tutor you or has any recommendations for other private tutors. You can also check to see what is available locally in terms of organizations that specialize in tutoring.
  • Plan on talking to your teacher right away about your history of having difficulties with math so that he/she is aware. Ask your teacher what kind of extra help is available, and speak to him/her so that you can get some guidance in setting up a homework and study schedule for yourself so that you so not fall behind.
  • Find someone – a classmate or a parent – who is available to help you review homework or to help you study for tests.
  • Make sure you schedule enough time for yourself for math homework and for studying for your math tests since this is a harder subject for you.


As far as the sweating and shaking you are experiencing, it sounds like you are experiencing a lot of anxiety about achieving in math class. Your anxiety may decrease as you get more into the school year. However, here are some tips on ways to feel less anxious about math:


  • Try doing some deep breathing before math class, before and during math tests, and any other time you start to feel (or worried you will start to feel) nervous about math work. To learn how to do this, place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Breath in and make sure you are taking in deep breathes that cause your stomach (not your chest) to rise – you should feel the hand over your stomach moving rather than the hand placed over your chest. Breathe in for the count of three and out for the count of three. And, as you practice, work your way up to counts of 5. This will help you to relax, lowering your heart rate and slowing down your breathing when you are feeling anxious.
  • Be compassionate towards yourself about how you are doing in math class. Since you mentioned being in all AP classes except for math, FX is concerned that you may get down on yourself that you are not in AP math. So FX wants to remind you that we all have things that we excel in and things that are tough for us. So don’t let it get you down about yourself that math is hard for you.
  • Try to use positive thinking about how you will do in math – often the way we think impacts the way we feel about things. Think positive thoughts about trying your best and accepting however you do end up doing.
Signed: TeenHealthFX