why is math so hard

Why Math Is So Hard to Learn

Mathematics is a subject that has been known to cause many students to break out in a cold sweat. Despite being a fundamental subject, many students struggle with grasping mathematical concepts and solving equations. The difficulty of mathematics often leaves students feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

However, it’s essential to understand why math is considered so difficult to appreciate the challenges it presents and how to overcome them. In this article, we will delve into the reasons why math is so hard and provide tips to help you improve your understanding of the subject.

Abstract Concepts and Symbolism:

One of the challenges students often face in learning math is the presence of abstract concepts and symbolism. Math involves working with symbols, equations, and mathematical notation that may initially seem unfamiliar and difficult to comprehend.

Concepts such as algebraic expressions, geometric proofs, or calculus derivatives can feel abstract and disconnected from real-world applications. The ability to understand and manipulate abstract ideas is a fundamental skill in math, requiring patience, practice, and a strong foundation in basic concepts.

Difficulty with Problem Solving and Critical Thinking:

Mathematics is not just about solving equations or performing calculations; it is a discipline that emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Many math problems require analytical thinking, logical reasoning, and the ability to apply mathematical concepts to real-life situations.

The process of approaching a problem, identifying relevant information, and devising a solution strategy can be challenging and may require practice and guidance.

Inadequate Preparation and Lack of Practice:

Mathematics builds upon previously learned concepts, and a lack of adequate preparation or gaps in understanding can make it difficult to progress. It is crucial to have a solid grasp of foundational math skills and concepts before tackling more advanced topics.

Additionally, regular practice is essential for reinforcing learning and developing fluency in mathematical techniques. Without sufficient practice, students may struggle to apply mathematical principles effectively.

Lack of Interest and Motivation:

Mathematics can be perceived as a challenging and dry subject, leading to a lack of interest and motivation among students. This lack of engagement can hinder learning and make math seem even more difficult.

Finding ways to cultivate interest, such as exploring real-world applications of math, connecting concepts to personal experiences, or engaging in interactive learning activities, can help foster motivation and make math more accessible and enjoyable.

Tips for Success in Math Classes:

  1. Build a strong foundation: Ensure a solid understanding of fundamental concepts before moving on to more complex topics. Take the time to review and reinforce basic math skills regularly.
  2. Practice regularly: Regular practice is essential for developing mathematical proficiency. Work on a variety of problems, including both textbook exercises and real-world applications, to enhance problem-solving skills and build confidence.
  3. Seek clarification and ask questions: If you encounter difficulties or have doubts, don’t hesitate to seek clarification from your instructor or peers. Ask questions during class or utilize office hours to address any areas of confusion.
  4. Form study groups or find a study partner: Collaborate with classmates to work on problem sets, discuss challenging concepts, and support each other’s learning. Explaining concepts to others can also deepen your own understanding.
  5. Utilize resources and technology: Take advantage of online resources, video tutorials, interactive simulations, and math software to enhance your understanding and practice. These tools can provide alternative explanations and visual representations of mathematical concepts.
  6. Relate math to real-life applications: Look for opportunities to apply math in practical contexts. Explore how mathematical concepts are used in fields like engineering, physics, finance, or computer science to understand their relevance and potential applications.
  7. Stay organized and manage your time: Create a study schedule, break down tasks into manageable chunks, and allocate dedicated time for math practice. Staying organized and managing your time effectively can help you stay on top of assignments and ensure consistent progress.

By acknowledging the abstract nature of math, developing problem-solving skills, addressing knowledge gaps, nurturing interest and motivation, and implementing effective study strategies, students can overcome the challenges and succeed in math classes. With perseverance, practice, and a positive mindset, math can become an accessible and rewarding subject to learn and apply.


In conclusion, math is a subject that has been challenging for students for generations. The complexity of math, combined with the abstract concepts and symbolism, problem-solving skills required, and the lack of interest and motivation, can make math a daunting subject.

However, with the right mindset and approach, it is possible to improve your understanding of math. By using the tips outlined in this article, you can overcome your math difficulties and unlock your potential in this essential subject. Remember, math is a subject that requires practice and perseverance, so keep working hard, and success will come.