Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Last semester, Dr. Janis Mazza gave a presentation on campus addressing the very real problem of math anxiety. As a math professor myself, I see this each and every day while teaching my math courses.
What exactly is math anxiety? Dr. Mazza describes it as an intense frustration or helplessness about one’s ability to understand and do math. Many students who have math anxiety feel they are incapable of doing activities that involve math. Symptoms of math anxiety can include psychological symptoms such as confusion, loss of memory, lack of confidence, panicking and negative thoughts.
Physical symptoms may include sweating, nausea, upset stomach, rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing and headaches. There are various reasons that students develop math anxiety. Often times it stems from a previous failure. Whether it was failing a math test, quiz or even an entire math course. It could also be teacher or peer related. Perhaps a student had a bad experience in math class and felt that the teacher embarrassed them, or perhaps another student made a comment to them about an incorrect solution. Things such as giving timed tests and using certain types of teaching methods have contributed to the math anxiety of students.
There is good news for students who suffer with math anxiety! Students need to start with changing their attitude (easier said than done sometimes!). Stop telling yourself that you’re “bad” at math. Preparation is key! The best way to learn math is through practice. If you are prepared for an exam, you will feel much more confident. Start a study group since it helps so much to have other students to work with. Set yourself up for success with good study habits. Studying a little every day is better than trying to cram. Ask for help when you need it! Eat well, practice relaxation techniques and sleep well.
Here at NCC we do have resources to help you with your math anxiety. Check out the Math Center or the Math Anxiety Center. Ask your professors for help. That’s why we are here.
As soon as you sit down to take the test, it starts. You feel the pressure, your heart is pounding, you go blank, you start to panic and worry and ultimately, you don’t do as well as you had hoped on the exam.
Has this ever happened to you? It’s called “Test Anxiety” and you can overcome it!
Professor Mary Peck from the SPS department recently ran a workshop for students where they discussed tips for overcoming this learned behavior. Yes, you can take steps to control this problem.
What causes test anxiety? First on the list was lack of preparation. If you haven’t been doing the work all along and haven’t been preparing of course you will feel anxious and nervous. Other causes on the list are poor test history (you’ve done poorly on the first exam, so now you are worried about the next one), worry about what “might” happen, lack of self-confidence and stress. Students often put a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect.
So, if we know the causes, what can we do about it? Both Professor Peck and the students who attended the workshop had suggestions. First, try some meditation exercises and trade peace for anxiety and worry. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and tell yourself “I’ve got this! I’ve prepared. I’m ready and I’m excited to show what I know!” Other suggestions include studying (of course!), getting ample rest before a big exam and build your confidence.
Finally, Professor Peck provided the students with a helpful website: www.howtostudy.org
Check it out! It might just help. Good luck with your exams!
Monday, March 20, 2017
DOCUMENTARY FILM BY DANIEL FRIEDMAN, A TAILOR WHO DESIGNS CLOTHING FOR THE TRANSGENDER COMMUNITY
His company, Bindle & Keep, is at the heart of an HBO documentary, Suited. This relates to Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family, which is NCC’s common text for the academic year.
Sponsored by the First Year Experience Committee