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Like so many of us Brits, I can safely say that I have a slight issue with maths anxiety.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where it started; in primary school I had somewhat of an amicable relationship with maths, I wasn’t exactly top of the class but I grasped the concept and did quite well on the whole.
I would have chosen writing a short story over times tables any day but I wouldn't exactly say that I hated the subject.
The same can be said when I first started at secondary school, but as time progressed, my eventual dislike for the subject gradually started to creep in over the years.
It wasn’t until the dreaded GCSE years of school that I developed a real anxiety towards the subject.
Flashbacks of a strict teacher firing questions around the classroom springs to mind. So does the insistence for you to repeatedly answer despite succumbing to the pressure and failing in front of everyone. It’s enough to give you clammy hands at the mere thought of it.
Hence why in the nine years since I walked out of that maths classroom for the final time, I’ve steered clear of using subject.
We of course use maths in every day life on a basic level but I haven’t since spared a thought to more detailed fractions, nor algebra and certainly not Pythagoras' Theorem.
In fact, I dread the day that if I do have children and find myself in a position where I need to help them with their maths homework.
It's fair to say that I don't have a great relationship with maths now, so in the lead up to finding out my maths age, I was pretty nervous, as silly as that sounds.
I got stuck in with my working out on paper
A maths age is something that is calculated by Maths-Whizz, a tool that simply measures your child's mathematical knowledge via fun activities and non-pressurised assessments. And here I was, at age 25, giving it a go.
You can take the test for yourself here.
The test is broken down in to five neat sections and topic areas:
- Written Numbers
- Addition and Subtraction
- Multiplication and Division
'Easy peasy' I thought…spoiler alert, I was wrong!
I thought I was doing okay in the Written Numbers and Addition and Subtraction sections; for a fleeting moment I even thought that I might even enjoy the test.
I found the Multiplication and Division sections harder before the Fractions section almost knocked me for six – and not much more can be said about my experience with Geometry.
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The entire time I had a notebook in front of me to write down my working out, which posed as a slight embarrassment when a certain question hinted that 'you may want to write down your working out', when my pen had barely left the paper for the duration.
At the end of the test, even the paper in front of me was witnessing my frustration with not being able to answer certain questions, scrawling things like "What IS an improper fraction?????” on top of my calculations.
What I will say though, is that I really appreciated the format of the exercise, with colourful and engaging graphics filling the screen. I can see how these would delight children and certainly are a far cry for the exceedingly 'grey' basic platforms we used to use for schoolwork.
At one point I even found myself bobbing along in unison with the colourful little alien character…was I 'enjoying' an actual maths test?! It seemed so.
Drumroll please, my maths age is…
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My maths age
In some ways, despite my deep-rooted anxiety with maths, I was half expecting a fairly decent score because of my enjoyment of the exercise.
Although I found a few questions challenging and had to skip a few, it seems unfair to refer to it as being a test, it was more of an engaging exercise, thanks to the relaxed nature of it all.
There was no going back however now, the scores were in and my maths age was revealed as being….11 and 11 months…(not forgetting the 11 months in a hurry).
Now, I like to think of myself as a somewhat functioning member of society despite my maths anxiety but it does shock me that I’ve been wandering around as a 25-year-old equipped with the maths knowledge of an almost 12-year-old.
Sure, not everyone has top notch maths skills and there is nothing wrong with that but this experience has truly inspired me to brush up on my mathematical ability because I worked too hard in school for all of that knowledge to just elude me.
My biggest takeaway from the experience is that, shock horror, I did quite enjoy myself and I can honestly say, even from a brief introduction to Maths-Whizz, using a platform like that when I was back at school would've been highly beneficial and maybe even stemmed some of the negative attitude I have towards the subject.
Think you can do better than me? Try the quiz for yourself below:
If you would like to calculate your maths age using the free tool from Maths-Whizz, click here. We'd love to know how you get on and what your maths age is.