The major reason why some students find math so challenging is because they lack prerequisite skills or a strong foundation in the subject. Math requires strong prior knowledge in order to grasp more complex concepts. It is like a house built of cards, if you remove a card that is near the foundation, the house collapses.
Math is generally one of the least liked subjects in school. It appears to be okay or even encouraged to dislike it. Some students believe that it is just not for them. They believe that you need a certain type of brain to be good at. Mathematics in the upper years of university may require a certain type of brain, but not the math that is covered in high school. High school math requires a commitment and, most importantly, a belief that one is capable of grasping it. It is more about a strong foundation than innate ability.
Math can be highly satisfying and enjoyable, but only after a period of struggle and frustration. There are no shortcuts when it comes to becoming proficient in math and attaining a good grade—it requires regular practice and discipline. All the hard work that one puts into learning math pays off because it develops ones reasoning and problem solving skills, which are vital no matter which career is pursued later on. The value in learning mathematics is hidden away. Frequently students ask: “Why are we learning this, or when will I ever need to use this?” It’s rarely about the specifics of what they are learning but the development of their critical thinking and problem solving skills.