It saddens us at Model Math to say, because we know how AWESOME maths is, but Maths Anxiety, a negative reaction to mathematics, is commonplace in classrooms all over the world.

And it is infectious in a way as it affects the performance of the entire class, according to the largest and most culturally diverse study to date from University of Western Ontario. This study shows that in about half of countries, the average level of maths anxiety within the same school or classroom predicts individual students’ maths achievement, independently of their own anxiety levels.

So what can be done to lower Maths Anxiety? Well, it’s important for teachers, parents and policymakers to take into account the context in which a child learns maths.

The negative reactions that Maths Anxiety causes can range from mild discomfort to intense dread with racing hearts, feeling sick and excess sweating. When severe, it can stop a child from excelling in maths, closing doors to careers in science, technology and engineering.

The study was backed up by another published in the National Academy of Sciences, in which Lau and colleagues analysed data from 1,175,515 students who participated in three large international studies of achievement. The finding revealed that countries that had higher levels of Maths Anxiety tended to achieve lower maths grades.

The pressure to succeed surprisingly plays a positive role. The more rigid or less accepting of uncertainty within a culture, the less likely students are to be affected by their peers. Children with maths anxiety prefer no surprises so a rigid classroom with little interaction, and where children work alone, suits them.

We now know that it is not an individual problem but is linked to the student’s confidence in their teacher, the teachers’ own confidence in their maths, and the amount of homework and parental involvement in completing it. It follows that in countries where Maths Anxiety is especially prevalent, such as in England, a different and, importantly, standardised approach to teaching and testing maths, with less stress on the teacher, parents and students, would yield better results.

Maths Anxiety is not necessarily linked to ability. A lot of children with Maths Anxiety have picked up their negative beliefs about maths from their parents or teachers or peers, and their belief in themselves when it comes to maths is often not justified. They could excel in maths given the right teaching methods and circumstances. A 2018 study found that 77% of children with high Maths Anxiety were normal to high achievers on curriculum maths tests.

Change your belief, change your world.

The Covid pandemic has caused us all to take an introspective look at the way we live our lives and how we achieve balance. For school-going children, especially in Secondary School, it’s no different and they have been perhaps the most vulnerable to mental health issues over the last two years.

So in this article, we take a look at how we can bring balance into school life to support our kids and make learning a positive and enjoyable experience. Work-life balance has been a topic in the workplace for years but is one we need to address for our children too. After all, more balanced children are more productive students.

Here are 7 tips you can consider to achieve a healthier school-life balance.


There is no avoiding homework, but you aren’t being kind to yourself if you leave it all to the last minute. Work out what homework you have to do by when and schedule time to get it done on your calendar. Give yourself at least one day where you don’t do any homework and schedule in time for hobbies and other activities you enjoy. On the days you do have homework, make sure you take plenty of breaks. Download a Pomodoro app to help you take breaks at regular intervals.


Focus on doing one thing at a time and set your focus solely on that until your goal is achieved. Don’t be tempted to multitask. It may have been a fashionable pursuit in the past but it’s been proven to be counterproductive so don’t even try. Switch off all distractions and hunker down. Yes, that means putting your mobile phone away for the period. You’ll also find that scheduling your time in blocks, you’ll get more done as well as your thoughts won’t be scattered.


Think of something you get enjoyment from – it could be a meal or your favourite show and reward yourself with it when you have stuck to your timetable and have gotten things done for the days. No cheating! If you didn’t achieve your study goals, no rewards! But by setting yourself a reward, you have something to look forward to and an incentive to get things done and achieve better school life balance in the process.


CCAs are great to build a rounded character, but don’t go overboard. If you involve yourself in too many clubs and have commitments in them all, they could end up taking over your time completely and even your life. Pick a CCA you enjoy and that enhances your life rather than adding stress to it, and devote the rest of your time to your studies. Your CCAs should be an enjoyment, not a drain.


Attitude is everything. If you have a negative attitude towards homework, it will naturally become a negative experience. How can you make it something you look forward to? Think of it as “me” time – a way to invest in yourself and enrich yourself. Can you have your favourite music on as you work (don’t make it a distraction), or make yourself your favourite drink to sit down with? Do you need to always do it at your desk? Can you take it outside sometimes? Make it a time you get to look forward to daily.


Achieving school life balance is important. Turn to friends, family or your teachers when you have questions or you need help. Make sure you have someone you can vent to if you have to. Having someone to share your wind-down time with after your homework session is also helpful.


Be kind to yourself! We are often our own worst drivers and seek perfection in everything we do. But you need to make sure, no matter how much work you have to do that you don’t neglect your own self-care. Ask yourself if what you have done is good enough and then leave it there. There is no such thing as perfection. It’s a frustratingly unattainable goal. Don’t fall victim to it.

As a parent, you want to start your child off on the right footing before they learn kindergarten maths without added the pressure of formal learning. When maths concepts are introduced at an early age just as part of everyday life, children tend to approach maths with more positivity and tend to do well in the subject.

When they see you applying maths skills in daily actions, they are likely to copy and learn. This is a great way to prepare your child for kindergarten maths.

Here are 5 essential skills you can introduce your child to in a fun way before they get to kindergarten:


Teach your child to count up to 20 by integrating numbers into their daily play. Have them count their toys back into the box, how many steps it takes to walk from one room to another, how many numbers there are on a clock, etc. While out and about, get your child to recognise numbers they see around their environment such as in the supermarket, perhaps the checkout till number. Playing games also helps, not just on the computer, but board games that involve dice are great. Killing two birds with one stone, playing active physical games helps to improve your child’s counting ability and also keeps them moving. Play old-school games like jumping rope and hop scotch. Your child also need to learn cardinality too, ordering items as first., second. third, etc.


Involving your child in helping you around the house can involve getting them to solve simple puzzles like “How many spoons do we need on the table for dinner?” Then: “I have 3 spoons here. How many more do I need?”
Simple addition and subtraction is at work here and can be amplified using songs like Five in the Bed, where numbers count downwards.


Introducing the concept of groups of 10s is a great starter to build for your child’s maths foundation too. They need to understand that the number 10 is made up of 10 units of one. Get them to count their fingers and then their toes. Counting coins is another way to reinforce the concept. Get them to “buy” their toys from you and have them work out how many more toys they can buy with 10 cents if each toy is 1c.


Sorting objects is another maths skill your child should be introduced to. Have them sort their toys by size, then colour. Have them also compare objects using words like “more than” and “less than”. In daily activities in the home, ask your child to hand you the biggest spoon, the smallest towel, the red one, etc.


Shapes are fun for children and they should be able to name common 2D shapes like a circle, triangle and square. They should also recognise 3D objects like a ball, pyramid or box are types of circles, triangles and squares. When out with your child, get them to call out the different shapes they see around them. Puzzles, blocks and Lego are also great ways for them to learn shapes and how they fit together.

Are errors costing you marks in your maths exams? It’s one thing to lose marks because you don’t understand the question or don’t have the knowledge needed to work out the problem. But when you lose marks for doing something in the exam when it could be avoided, this is wasted opportunity and it could even make the difference between one grade and the next.

How do you know which errors you are making and how do you improve upon them? We take a look at three types of errors in this article: Conceptual errors, computational errors and careless errors.


This is a hard type of error to identify and therefore correct. Making this type of error could mean that you get all the calculations right in the equation but still get the overall answer wrong because you are using the wrong logic to solve it. For example, the question may call for you to make a division calculation but you mistakenly think you need to multiply. Say, for example, the two figure involved are 21 and 3. Dividing 21 by 3 will give you a different answer than multiplying 21 by 3. You get the calculation right but it’s not the answer the question requires of you. That can be frustrating.

What you can do:

  • The more practice you get at doing questions that require different concepts, the better.
  • Read the question carefully and draw it out in picture form to make sure you are understanding it correctly. If you can see that the outcome is a reduced number and you end up with an increased number, you know you’ve gone wrong somewhere.
  • Learn more than one method to do one type of concept. Often one method may not seem that obvious to you while you may find it much easier if the teacher explains it to you in a different way.
  • Always show your workings out so your teacher can follow your thinking through and help you understand where you went wrong.
  • Try keeping a maths journal where you write out and describe questions until you begin to see patterns that can help you.


A common type of error and one that is easier to correct is the computational error, where you simply made a miscalculation. In a single step question, this can lose you a mark, but in a multi-step question, making this error in the first step will make all steps wrong because you rely on the correct answer from step 1 to carry through into step 2. However, if you show your workings out, you may get some marks for subsequent steps of the calculation if the calculations made and the conceptual approach taken is correct in the rest of the problem solving.

What you can do:

  • Slow down and work through the answers carefully.
  • Double-check your work. This error is avoidable because you have the knowledge.
  • Use a calculator to check if you are allowed


These are by far the most frustrating as they are easily avoided if you take the right approach. What kind of mistakes do you commonly make? Knowing what you tend to repeat that is losing you marks is essential. Then you can create a checklist to check for. Common mistakes made that are a result of carelessness include, copying the wrong number down, transferring the wrong number to the next step, not reading the question correctly, not following instructions on the paper, entering the wrong digit into the calculator or missing a digit out and not checking what was entered. Calculators can only work with what you input. If you input the wrong information and do the right calculation, your answer will still be wrong even though the calculator is right.

What you can do:

  • Again, slow down. Most mistakes are made by rushing.
  • Underline the main points in the questions. This helps identify what information you have to work with and also helps you understand the instructions.
  • Write neatly. You may have the right answer, but if the examiner can’t read it, you will lose needless marks.
  • Time yourself well in an exam so you answer the questions you are supposed to.

Now take a look at your past papers. What types of mistakes have you been making? Identifying the problem brings you halfway to the solution. Now you know which errors you tend to make and why, you can put a plan in place to start avoiding them.

At Matrix Math, besides teaching students Maths concepts and the required problem-solving skills, we also cultivate in students the right learning habits. We believe that, over time, with the right habits and exposure, students’ errors in Maths can be reduced.

Are errors costing you marks in your maths exam? Book a trial lesson with us to experience Matrix Math learning culture.

Could you be worrying unnecessarily about your child’s academic future? Educators have long thought that a pre-school child’s ability to follow orders, their ability to work independently and in a group, a display of academic skills, language and social and emotional aptitude are all indicators that a child will do well academically later in school life.

However, one piece of research has come up with findings that show certain factors are more reliable in making that prediction than others. The result showed that children with behaviourial problems or who don’t read well won’t necessarily be held back in their academic abilities as they progress through school.

Continuing research by UC Irvine Professor of Education Greg Duncan involved Duncan and colleagues identifying six population-based data sets involving 16,387 children that included measures of reading and math competency, attention skills and pro-social behaviour, as well as antisocial and internalising behaviour taken around the time of school entry, and measures of reading and math competency taken later in the primary or early secondary school years.

The researchers found that only three of the school-entry measures predicted subsequent academic success: early reading, early math and attention skills.

“Early math skills were most consistently predictive,” Duncan says.

Conversely, the study showed that early behaviour problems and social skills were not associated with later achievement and this was the case across all studies and within each of the six data sets examined.

Duncan and Katherine Magnuson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison completed a second study using two large data sets of 2,843 children and performed the same measurements. Corroborating the first set of research, the results revealed that K-5 students who persistently displayed low math skills were 13% less likely to graduate from high school and 29% less likely to attend college. In contrast to the first study, displaying persistent anti-social behaviours was also a predictor but inability to pay attention was not.

Clearly more needs to be done to understand predictors of academic success.

Could you be worrying unnecessarily about your child’s academic future? Book a free diagnostic test with us to assess where your child’s learning gaps are.

6 easy ways to choose a maths tutor for your child? When it comes to selecting a maths tutor for your child, there’s no shortage to be had. With so many to choose from, how do you make a good decision that will do right by your child and your pocket?

We’ve thought about what makes a good maths tutor. In fact, we built our business around it! Now we are sharing with you what we think are the key facts you should consider to choose a maths tutor for your child.


You’d think this would go without saying, but many parents rely on a relative to provide much-needed maths tuition informally. It may seem like a convenient option, but it could be doing more harm than good. If the relative doesn’t have the correct maths qualifications and is just relying on their memory of what maths was like in their time at school, you could be short-changing your child.

It makes sense to choose a maths tutor who is qualified and who has complete mastery in the topic and a strong formal background in maths. At the very least, you should expect them to have A Level maths when teaching younger children and a maths degree when teaching secondary school and college maths.

All the tutors at Matrix Math have degrees in Maths, Science or Engineering.


However, being an expert in a subject doesn’t necessarily mean you are a good teacher. You’ve probably found that out if you’ve tried to teach your own kids! Knowing a subject doesn’t mean you can teach it. Teaching any subject requires a distinct set of skills that have to be taught and learned. This includes having excellent communication skills and the ability to translate the topic taught into information the student can understand. Taking a student through a textbook isn’t teaching, and assuming they should have “got it” just because they’ve been introduced to “it” is false thinking.

The tutor you pick should have plenty of experience at teaching exactly the topics you’re your child needs to learn and have a proven track record at getting results. Ask the centre you choose if they regularly train their staff to keep them updated on the latest educational methods so that your child can be helped to master the material taught. When you choose a maths tutor, they need to be good teachers not just good at maths.

At Matrix Math, we have our own proprietary teaching method developed by our founder Jason Hiak, and staff undergo regular training to ensure everyone keeps up to date with the syllabus and the way we teach maths to our students.


Having a tutor stationed a far distance from your home will only add stress to your child and their already busy day. If they have to spend a good portion of it travelling to and from their tuition centre, that’s valuable time wasted that they could be spending on extra study and their leisure activities, Something’s got to give.

So, make sure any tutor you choose means your child isn’t going too far out of their way just to get to class. When selecting a centre, it’s wise to go for a tuition company with centres in multiple locations so that you know there will be one not too far from home.

Some tutors may only be available at set times, so you need to make sure that works with you schedule and avoid moving your child’s day around to fit it in. Choosing a centre that offers online resources that your child can refer to out of hours is an added benefit as well.

Matrix Math centres are dotted around the island, so you will have access to one in your part of Singapore. In addition, we have an online training portal that your child has access to for free as one of our student perks, They’ll be able to practise exercises and get additional tuition through pre-recorded lessons any time at their convenience.


It’s an accepted fact in academic circles that students do well when they are able to get more personalised attention from their teacher in small classroom settings. So, when choosing a centre, ask about the student-teacher ratio. The smaller the classroom size the better, no matter your child’s age.

At Matrix Math, we keep our classes to a maximum of 6 students per teacher because we understand how important it is that our students get the individualised attention they need, especially as each child we enrol follows their own individual syllabus based on their personal knowledge strengths and gaps.


While we obviously believe that maths should be taught for understanding, as parents, your key concern is your child’s grades. Naturally you want your child to do as well as in their exams as their abilities will allow them. That’s why you should seek a maths tutor who is familiar with the present exam syllabus and examination papers.

The best way for your child to learn is through repeated practice, through homework assignments and in-class practice sessions so factor this into your decision when you come to choose a maths tutor.

Matrix Math tutors are all trained in teaching maths preparation based on the Singapore maths examinations and they regularly impart useful examination tips to our students. These tips can mean the difference between grades in some instances.


While it’s natural to want to save costs where you can, your child’s education should not be compromised by price if you can help it. Compare centres and enquire about costs, but weigh up also the results that each centre has proven to deliver. You can expect to pay a little more for those with a proven track record. Centres need to be able to cover their costs, especially those with smaller student-teacher ratios. You can also expect to pay less for centre-based training as opposed to private tutoring. So, there are many factors to weigh up.

Ask also for payment options. You may be able to get a discount for paying for a certain duration up front rather than in instalments.

We hope this has given you food for thought in how to choose a maths tutor for your child and that this article has made the decision a little easier for you.

Give us a call if you are in doubt and need some advice on whether Matrix Math is the centre for your child.

The number one barrier to getting maths homework done is ineffective planning, which can be overcome in 6 ways to help your child do maths homework effectively. But before you start making any changes in homework strategies, talk to your child first about why you are making the changes.

Let them know that they have done well so far and that you are going to work together with them to make getting homework done easier for them so that they can become a stronger and more successful learner with a few good strategies under their belt.

So let’s get to the 6 ways to help your child do maths homework effectively.


Most adults make a to-do list daily. Encourage your child to do the same. Ask them to list out at the beginning of each day all the homework tasks they have to do. Get them to cross each task out as it is done. This can give them a sense of accomplishment. This list can be created in a paper notebook or as a checklist in the notepad function on their phone or computer.


Most kids plough into a problem sum without fully reading the question or analysing what type of question it is and which maths method should be used to tackle it. Get your child into the habit of reading the task question through carefully before they start to do any work. This way they can also work out if they will need any help from you for their assignment. If their first response is that they don’t understand the task, ask them to read it through carefully again out loud and underline the key words before they ask for help.


You don’t want your child to end up relying on you to help them with their homework. Train in some independence. Arrange to be there at the beginning of their session and towards the end but let them gain independence in the middle to manage their time and get the work done. Make it clear to them that, if they can’t do a particular question, to circle it and come back to it at the end but not to waste time in the middle. Ask them to do the questions they can do first. They can then circle back to the more challenging tasks once you are there to lend support.


Set a rule that your child must attempt a problem sum on their own for a certain length of time before they can ask for help. They will find it rewarding when they manage to solve a sum on their own that they thought they could not, and this builds confidence in maths. Lengthen the time gradually but make sure you are not overwhelming them. When you do come to help, get them to explain to you what they did to try to solve the problem first.


Get your child to create a network of school buddies they can call on when they get stuck on a task so they can approach them before they approach you or their teacher. Peer learning is a powerful strategy.


New study habits are difficult to learn without incentives. Set up daily, weekly and monthly rewards for work well done. Celebrate small wins not just the big ones. These can be in the form of extra time on the computer, a favourite snack, an outing perhaps to the zoo. As the good study habits are ingrained, you can phase out the more frequent rewards as your child’s sense of achievement and pride in their work replace the need for incentives.

The goal with this exercise is to build a confident learner able to take on maths challenges and use their wits and skills to overcome them independently.

How to build maths fluency in your child, or more importantly, why? Maths fluency will help your child think faster and more clearly. It will give them attention skills and the focus to tackle complex maths problems well with good reasoning. This is a critical skill for their future in life and in the workplace.

While it is true that the focus of maths education is moving to creative problem solving, it is important that your child does not lose the ability that makes critical thinking possible. That ability is maths fluency.


Maths fluency is the ability to come up with maths concepts quickly and accurately. To be fluent in maths, your child needs to master accuracy, flexibility, efficiency, automaticity, and number sense.


Being fluent in maths will save your child vital brain energy, especially when it comes to solving multiple step problem sums. The more energy they put into solving smaller questions, the less they have for solving the whole question. And when they don’t succeed in one part, they can view the entire activity as overwhelming. If your child is practiced at maths and builds fluency, they have built more neural pathways in their brain so spend less energy and time on a task and get to the answer faster. These neural pathways can be strengthened with repeated exercise, just as with any learned behaviour. Think of it like flexing a muscle.


Once your child has built their “brain muscle”, they are able to do maths tasks faster, almost on autopilot, which makes taking exams a lot easier. It also helps to build confidence and reduce exam anxiety.


When you prepare your child for maths fluency early, you give them the tools they need to succeed in maths. If you don’t, the likelihood that your child will struggle with maths for life is a risk you don’t want to take, especially when it’s simply not necessary. Given the world of work your child will inevitably be a part of, they will need the ability to manipulate data, develop critical thinking skills that will allow them plan strategically and demonstrate creative thinking skills that let them solve problems in different ways.


Games: Children, in fact anyone, learn best through play. Maths games are a great way to have your child practise maths and build their fluency. It will help to get them thinking strategically as well and to build computational accuracy through practice.

Daily practice: Maths skills become stronger with regular practice. Once your child has understood a concept, get them to practise to instil the knowledge into them until they can work independently.

Time for discovery: Let your child discover patterns in maths and to test out different situations to see what works. This also strengthens their ability to self learn.

The key is time and practice. As with any muscle, maths fluency only develops with time and repeated practice.

When it comes to doing maths tests, or any tests for that matter, having a good memory certainly helps. Here are 10 strategies to improve memory that are research-proven. You can use them to help improve your memory and store information in your long-term memory.


Attention is one of the major parts of memory so focussing can help improve memory and move information from your short-term memory into your long-term memory. This is why it is important to study for short times alone in a place without distractions such as music and TV.


Information is organised in related clusters in our memory. So it makes sense to organise what you are studying by concepts that relate to one another.


Regular study helps to improve memory. Students who study regularly and add to their knowledge in increments remember what they studied far better than those who crammed at the last minute in a marathon study session.


Turn the information you want to remember into something more visual like images, flashcards or mind maps, or highlight what you want to remember in a different colour.


Associating a new fact you want to remember with something familiar you already know is known as mnemonics. This helps to improve memory too. Use mnemonic devices such as imagery, rhymes, songs, or jokes to help remember a specific segment of information.


You need to encode information to bring it into your long-term memory. You do this with a technique called elaborative rehearsal, where you read a term, study its definition, read a more detailed description of it then repeat the process a few times.


Reading out loud helps you remember the information read, as does teaching it to someone else. So when you help a friend with their homework, you are helping to retain the information and improve memory for yourself too.


It’s easier to recall the last thing we read but harder to do so for what came earlier. By being conscious of this, you can train yourself to spend extra time on information sequentially earlier in the lesson. The best way to do this is to try to restructure what you have just learned.


It has long been known that getting enough sleep is important to help us learn and retain information in our memory. In fact, taking a nap after you learn something new can actually help you learn faster and remember better. The opposite is true if you are sleep deprived.

Why learn algebra? That’s probably the lament of most high-school maths students, and quite a few of their parents too!

Algebra is that part of the maths syllabus that often stops students in their tracks. This is often because it introduces new concepts they haven’t come across before. And suddenly there are letters on the page (as opposed to just numbers).

The good news is that algebra can be mastered when you take the right approach, which we teach at Matrix Math.

But let’s take a look at why it is important that your child masters algebra so that you can answer their laments when they complain: Why learn Algebra?


We might not notice it, but we apply the basics of algebra even in simple things that are happening around us. For example, you can use algebra to choose between mobile phone plans or even when custom-ordering bookshelves for your home.


Once algebra is mastered, students can move on to the much more advanced forms of maths – such as statistics and calculus.

Understanding statistics makes us wiser consumers of information and better employees. While Calculus helps us describe many complex processes, such as how the speed of an object changes over time, the research and design of new technology, medical treatments, and consumer products.


By mastering algebra and being able to move on to calculus, many more career choices open up. Learning calculus is a must for anyone interested in pursuing a career in science, medicine, computer modelling, or engineering.


Just as multiplying five by ten is faster than counting to 50 or adding five ten times, algebra helps us solve problems more quickly and easily than we could otherwise. Algebra also opens up whole new areas of life problems, such as graphing curves that cannot be solved with only foundational math skills.

So now you know the benefits of algebra, there’s more reason for your child to get to grips with this fascinating area of maths.

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