You might be surprised by the number of assumed maths skills that you'll need in areas of study other than the usual science and mathematics subjects. Students in Humanities/Social Sciences, English and Visual Arts, Business and Economics, Planning and Geography, and Allied Health need to demonstrate a level of maths skills appropriate to their discipline. Visit Maths in your subject areas for detailed information.
As well as specific maths skills within disciplines, you'll need to be able to demonstrate a range of generic maths skills to potential employers. Some of the generic maths skills which employers look for are:
The above skills are in addition to the professional maths skills needed in some fields such as Nursing and Education. [Adapted from Careers New Zealand]
Careers New Zealand. (2015). How literacy and numeracy skills affect job chances. Retrieved from http://www.careers.govt.nz/planyourcareer/makeacareerdecision/howliteracyandnumeracyskillsaffectjobchances/
To learn maths successfully there are a few principles and strategies that need to be considered:
1. Maths is not a Spectator Sport: be actively involved in the learning process
2. Work to understand the principles
3. Maths is cumulative
If you don’t have the basic knowledge, you will struggle to master more complex concepts. The four processes of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication are the precursors to Algebra. Algebra and Trigonometric Geometry are the building blocks for the more advanced maths later such as Calculus and Differential Equations. Identify where you may need additional skills by doing the Numeracy Success Indicator for your College.
Adapted and enhanced by Student Learning from
Dawkins, P. (2006). How to study mathematics. Retrieved from http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/pdf/How_To_Study_Math.pdf
Zeegers, P., DellerEvans, K., Egege, S., & Klinger, C. (2011). Essential Skills for Science and Technology. Sydney, OUP.
Feeling a little anxious about maths is fine; even professors will admit to it! But when anxiety about maths interferes with your ability to learn or perform, or you avoid maths altogether, the anxiety is a problem that needs to be addressed.
Maths anxiety has been described as:
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 (e.g. “I can’t do this.”). A person who dreads maths will be more likely to avoid it. Not a bad shortterm solution, but very unhelpful in the longterm. 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. Bit of a selffulfilling prophecy!
As the diagram shows  you just end up with even more negative beliefs and expectations!
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.
This survey will give you a sense of whether or not you experience maths anxiety.
Uusimaki, L. S., & Kidman, G. C. (2004). Reducing mathsanxiety: 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, 17. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lindif.2013.06.008
What can I do to reduce my maths anxiety?
Maths anxiety is a learned response and can be unlearned.
Often the first step in managing anxiety is becoming aware of the triggers for it and the factors that sustain it. In the case of maths anxiety, it means becoming aware of the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that arise in response to maths and learning how to respond to them when they arise.
If you’re finding it difficult to work with your maths anxiety on your own, you can contact the student counsellors on your campus for assistance. Access the following site and chose which campus you need:
The following two selfhelp books are a good place to start:
Prepared in 2015 by: The Psychologist/Counsellors of the Student Support Services, La Trobe University.
When you graduate, employers expect you to have some level of maths expertise, no matter what job you go into.
The following may guide you in refreshing or increasing your maths skills while you are at La Trobe.
The earlier you take advantage of these, the better!
Question 
Answer 
Then…. 

Yes 
Ask a staff member for a referral to Student Learning staff with maths and education qualifications and experience. They help you succeed.

No 
Go to Question 2 


Yes 
If you’re finding it difficult to work with your maths anxiety on your own, you can contact the student counsellors on your campus for assistance. 
No 
Go to Question 3 


Yes 
Find some of the primaryschoollevel books at the newsagent in the ’Excel Essential Skills’ series, published by Pascal Press, http://www.pascalpress.com.au/ 
No 
Go to Question 4 


Yes 
Do the Numeracy Success Indicator quiz within subject BUS1AFB. If you are eligible, you will be directed toward the mathsenabling subject BUS1BUN (Business Numeracy). 
No 
Go to Question 5 


Yes 
Check out the Maths Hub for resources to develop your general Maths skills 
No 
Go to Question 6 


Yes 
Check out the Maths Hub for resources to develop your general Maths skills 
No 
Go to Question 7 


Yes 
The Maths skills program is available to you. There is information in the Maths Skills Section on the LMS site. 
No 
Go to Question 8 


Yes 
See your subject lecturer about subjectspecific ‘Maths and Graphs’ Workshops provided by Student Learning. 
No 
You sound confident. However, if you find that later in the semester that you are not, answer ‘Yes’ to this question and follow the recommendations. 
*(Kathryn FitzGerald, Dixon Appointments, Dec 2011, speaking at La Trobe University, Maths Symposium).