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Problems that Arise When Studying Mathematics in College

Problems that Arise When Studying Mathematics in College

Math is one of the most complex scientific disciplines. It lies in the foundation of many fields of science such as physics, mechanics, chemistry and that makes math an inevitable subject at college. There are few college degrees that we can pursue without facing at least one math course during our time at the university.

What kinds of problems do students face when it comes to math in college? In this article, we're going to mention only some of the many impediments that come with math, based on students' testimonials. 

Inability to apply knowledge

According to recent research published by the University of Cambridge, one of the most common issues that occur with college-level math is that students are not able to apply their knowledge. Even those students with high grades and a deep understanding of content are often unable to apply what they know. The research proposes several reasons why this is a common issue, we’ll mention the most notable ones. 

Students can pass some math exams simply if they follow a certain procedure that’s not so hard to learn by the heart. The problems occur when these “mathematical recipes” deviate a little from their standard form. Students often freeze and don’t know how to deal with these minute changes since their knowledge is procedural, and the procedure is changed. 

Other reasons why students can't apply their math knowledge include the inability to apply math problems to real-world situations, lack of confidence, and inability to solve multi-level problems.

No time to practice math

Nowadays, college life is full of obligations. Students need to study more than before, go to work to support the high costs of studying, and lead a normal social life to keep their mental and physical health in check. Since math requires constant practice, students have to spend a lot of time practicing different types of college math problems to keep up with the lessons. However, a tight weekly schedule can leave students without enough time to properly devote to math studies. 

Not everyone can afford a math tutor that would help, so students who are dealing with math on their own have to spend more time practicing. When presented with a choice of staying inside practicing math and doing anything else, most college students would choose the latter. Without enough time to practice, young academics suffer with math courses that they can barely pass.

Poor math foundation

There are many reasons why students avoid math during college and place immense effort in leaving out math courses during their studies. Mainly, the reason why students don't look favorably towards math is that they've had a bad experience with this subject. In many ways, our math proficiency depends on our high school math teachers. Some math teachers are bad at shaping our knowledge for the next educative step and we leave high school without any or with poor math skills. 

When we get to college without a proper math foundation, we have trouble keeping up with college-level math problems. While some students can overcome this type of issue, for most, trying to figure out university-level math without high school basics is all but impossible and leads to all sorts of other problems.

Different teaching methods

We call mathematics a universal language, but the way we speak it depends on how we’ve been thought. There are differences in teaching methods that can vary from country to country. Since universities are now open to international students more than ever before, students from all over the world flock to international study groups. 

Diversity at college is always welcomed and allows cultural exchange between students and teachers but it can also lead to problems. When it comes to studying math, basic things such as units of measure can raise issues. Students from Europe work with SI units, while American college students mainly operate with non-metric units. Trying to figure out what a Yard is when you’ve worked with Meter your entire life can be a problem. It is, therefore, important to find a way to provide an adequate learning experience to all of the students. 


It appears that the solution to most college math issues lies in the teaching system. Students often lack essential mathematical abilities, and that leads to problems during their studies. Focusing systematically on the improvement of mathematical process skills, building confidence, and showing students how math problems are applied in the real world can help young academics gain more than content knowledge. 


Author Bio:

Samuel Walsh is a freelance content writer engaged with several online publishers. His work is based on deep research and authentic sources of information. As a writer, Samuel seeks to deliver actionable pieces of information that help the audience in everyday life.


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