Is Mathematics Hard? Here’s What You Need to Know


Mathematics is generally considered to be a challenging subject by many students pursuing a college or university degree. Some students find the abstract concepts and complex equations difficult to comprehend, leading to a negative perception of the subject. However, this does not necessarily mean that it is impossible to succeed in math. In this post, we will explore the question of whether mathematics is hard and what can be done to overcome any difficulties that students may encounter. Whether you’re pursuing a degree in the sciences, engineering, or simply satisfying a requirement for your program, it is essential to have a good grasp of mathematics. Therefore, we will also cover some alternatives to traditional math courses that students might consider taking to enhance their skills further.

What makes mathematics hard?

There are many reasons why students commonly perceive mathematics to be a difficult subject. Some of these reasons include:

  • The abstract concepts – mathematical ideas often exist in a world of their own, far removed from everyday experiences. This can make it challenging to understand and apply them in real-life situations.
  • Unfamiliar notation – mathematics uses its own unique set of symbols and notation, which can be confusing and difficult to decipher.
  • The complexity of concepts – many mathematical concepts build upon one another, and it can be challenging to move on to more advanced topics without a solid understanding of the fundamentals.
  • The lack of understanding of foundational concepts – struggling with basic concepts can make it more challenging to understand more complex ones, leading to frustration and a feeling of being lost when trying to learn new topics.

While these factors can make mathematics feel overwhelming, with dedicated practice and the right mindset, anyone can improve their understanding of the subject.

Tips for succeeding in mathematics

If you’re struggling with mathematics, there are several practical tips that you can follow to improve your understanding and performance in the subject:

  1. Practice regularly: The more math problems you work on, the more comfortable you will become with the concepts and equations.
  2. Seek help from tutors or professors: Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Your professors and tutors are there to assist you in understanding difficult concepts.
  3. Work with study groups: Collaborating with other students can help you to see different approaches to solving problems and may help to clarify concepts that you’re struggling with.
  4. Start with the basics: If you’re struggling with a more advanced concept, go back to the basics. Ensure that you have a good understanding of the foundational concepts before moving on to more complex topics.
  5. Stay organized: Keep track of your notes, assignments, and exams. This will help you to stay on top of the material and avoid confusion or misunderstandings.

By following these tips, you can take steps towards improving your mathematical abilities and understanding.

Alternatives to traditional mathematics courses

If you find that traditional mathematics courses are not the best fit for you, there are several alternative courses or programs that may suit your interests and abilities better:

  • Statistics: If you prefer working with real-world data, statistics is an excellent alternative to traditional math courses. Statistics focuses on collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data, making it an essential subject in many fields.
  • Coding: Coding requires logic and analytical skills, making it an excellent alternative to math courses. Coding is also growing in demand in many industries, making it a valuable skill to have.
  • Computer Science: Computer science is another excellent alternative to traditional math courses that requires problem-solving, logic, and analytical skills. It is a rapidly growing field and offers many lucrative career options.

Remember that every student has their set of strengths and weaknesses, and what works for one student may not work for another. If you’re unsure about which program or major to choose, it’s always a good idea to talk to a study advisor or career counselor to discuss your options further. For instance, if you are wondering “Is landscape architecture a hard major?”, Robert Virona provides an informative post on the topic.

Interesting facts

  • The perception that mathematics is hard is not a new phenomenon and has been a topic of debate for many years.
  • Studies have shown that a lack of understanding of foundational concepts can contribute to the perception that mathematics is hard.
  • Many people who initially struggle with mathematics find that with practice, dedication, and the right resources, it becomes easier to understand.
  • On a related note, many people also wonder if mechanical engineering is a difficult major. You may want to check out this article for more information.


Why do so many people find mathematics hard?

There are a variety of factors that contribute to this perception, including the complexity of concepts and unfamiliar notation.

What can I do to improve my understanding of mathematics?

Some practical tips include practicing regularly, seeking help from tutors or professors, and working with study groups.

Are there any alternative courses or programs for those who struggle with mathematics?

Yes, courses in statistics, coding, and computer science may be more suitable for some students.

Is mechanical engineering a difficult major?

For insights into the difficulty of mechanical engineering, check out the article at this link:

Can anyone be good at mathematics?

With practice, dedication, and the right resources, anyone can improve their understanding of mathematics.

What are some common misconceptions about mathematics?

Some people believe that mathematics is only for “smart” people and that it requires innate talent. However, research suggests that practice and perseverance are more important than innate ability.

Are there any benefits to studying mathematics?

Yes, studying mathematics can help develop problem-solving skills and logical thinking, which can be useful in many careers.

How can I overcome math anxiety?

Some tips include taking deep breaths, envisioning success, and breaking down problems into smaller steps.

What careers can you pursue with a mathematics degree?

Some careers include data analysis, actuarial science, finance, and teaching.

How can I tell if I need extra help with mathematics?

If you consistently struggle with certain concepts or find yourself falling behind in your coursework, it may be a good idea to seek extra help from a tutor or professor.

Real experience

Laura had always struggled with mathematics, ever since she was a child. In fact, she avoided it as much as possible throughout her academic career. When she started pursuing a degree in business, she knew that she couldn’t avoid mathematics a moment longer.

At first, Laura was terrified. The numbers and equations seemed to dance around in front of her, never quite falling into place. She was frustrated and felt like she would never be able to understand this subject that had always seemed so impossible.

But then, she started seeking help. She went to her professor’s office hours, asked friends for help, and even hired a tutor. Slowly but surely, the concepts started to make sense. She found herself enjoying the process of problem-solving and logical thinking.

As she continued to work on her mathematics skills, Laura realized that she had been holding herself back. With the right mindset and the right resources, she was capable of mastering mathematics. Her confidence in her abilities grew, and suddenly, she felt like she could tackle anything life threw at her.

Thanks to her hard work and perseverance, Laura graduated from college with a business degree and a newfound appreciation for mathematics. She knew that this subject wasn’t easy, but it was worth the effort. Now, she faced every challenge with the same determination and sense of possibility that had helped her conquer her fear of mathematics.


In conclusion, mathematics is not inherently hard, but it can be challenging for many students. However, with dedication, practice, and the right set of tools, anyone can succeed in the subject. Don’t be afraid to seek help and try out different study methods until you find what works best for you. Remember that you’re not in this alone, and there is always support available, both academically and emotionally.

Finally, if you’re struggling with math, don’t forget that there are many alternatives to traditional math courses that you may find just as fulfilling and rewarding. Coding, for example, is an excellent alternative to math courses that can open up countless opportunities and career paths. To learn more about the benefits of learning coding, check out our related post: The Benefits of Learning Coding.

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