Feeling a little anxious about maths is fine. But when that anxiety interferes with your ability to learn or perform, or you avoid maths altogether, the problem needs to be addressed.

**What is Maths Anxiety? **

Maths anxiety has been described as:

**A learned emotional response** to participating in a maths class, working through maths problems, and/or discussing maths (Uusimaki & Kidman, 2004).
**Feelings of fear and tension** in anticipation of situations demanding the application of maths knowledge (Brunye et al., 2013).

People with maths anxiety may experience feelings of fear, helplessness, shame, and nervousness when confronted with maths (Uusimaki & Kidman, 2004). They will have negative beliefs and expectations of their maths ability and their thoughts will be consistent with these beliefs (for example, “I can’t do this.”). A person who dreads maths will be more likely to avoid it. Not a bad short-term solution, but very unhelpful in the long-term. The more you avoid maths, the less exposure you get to maths, the fewer opportunities you will have to understand it and practise it. Avoiding maths contributes to lower maths competence and ends up supporting the negative belief in your maths ability.

**Do I have maths anxiety?**

Sometimes, feeling anxious about a maths subject may be due to some other factor. For example, you may be finding it difficult to understand something because there is a gap in your knowledge base that needs to be addressed. Or you may generally feel fine about maths but in test conditions you get so anxious that you “blank out” and can’t access the knowledge you have. In this case test, anxiety is what needs to be addressed and it can affect subject matters other than maths.

*Uusimaki, L. S., & Kidman, G. C. (2004). Reducing maths-anxiety: Results from an online anxiety survey. Australian Association for Research in Education Annual Conference 29 November–2 December, in Melbourne, Australia. Retrieved from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/974/1/kid04997.pdf*

*Brunyé, T. T., Mahoney, C. R., Giles, G. E., Rapp, D. N., Taylor, H. A., & Kanarek, R. B. (2013). Learning to relax: Evaluating four brief interventions for overcoming the negative emotions accompanying math anxiety. Learning and Individual Differences, 27, 1-7. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2013.06.008*