Math

# Is Middle School Math Hard? [Facts You Must Know]

Written by Medha Pandey

Updated on: 28 Sep 2024

Content

Imagine you’ve just stepped into middle school, excited to conquer new subjects. But as you settle into your first math class, you realize it’s not quite like elementary school. The numbers seem a bit trickier, and the equations appear complex.

That makes you wonder – “Is middle school math hard to tackle?”

We spoke to our middle school math tutors, at Wiingy to understand the challenges of middle school math. They agree – middle school math can pose some challenges.

**Moving from elementary to middle school means diving into more advanced math concepts like Pre-algebra and Algebra I, which can be a bit tricky to grasp at first.**

However, you can tackle the challenges of middle school math once you know:

- Factors that determine the difficulty of middle school math.
- Reasons why middle school math can be hard for you.
- Hardest middle school math subjects.
- Tips to excel in middle school math.

**Looking to Learn Middle School Math? Book a Free Trial Lesson and match with top Middle School Math Tutors for Concepts, Homework help, and Assignment Help!**

**Factors that determine the difficulty of middle school math**

Math in middle school can be challenging as you start with advanced concepts like Pre-algebra and Algebra I.

The factors that determine the difficulty of middle school math are as follows:

**Previous knowledge or skills**

If you did well in math during elementary school, it shows you have good basic math skills. Middle school math builds on what you learned in elementary school. So, if your basic math skills are strong, you’ll find it easier to understand middle school math.

**Math courses you’re taking**

In middle school math, you can choose from basic as well as advanced math courses. Subjects like Pre-algebra, Algebra I, and certain topics from advanced geometry are tough to grasp.

They have complex formulas and concepts which you may not understand at once. On the other hand, math courses like Statistics, Probability, and Geometry can be easier to grasp because they are based on simple formulas and concepts.

**📖Read ****What is middle school math?**** to find the detailed middle school math curriculum and lesson planning.**

**Practicing skills**

**“Practice makes a man perfect” **goes the saying.** **Practicing math regularly helps you become more familiar with the math concepts. It reinforces the lessons you’ve learned in the classroom. It enhances your problem-solving skills.

When practicing math on your own, it’s important to start from the basics. When you have mastered the basics well, it becomes easier to learn the advanced concepts.

**Attention span **

Every student has a different attention span. Some students can focus on a task for a longer period of time, while others can only focus for shorter intervals.

You can be easily distracted by things happening in the background if you have a short attention span.

This can make it difficult for you to focus on your math lessons. You might go through an entire lesson without understanding its concepts.

In a classroom, you may struggle to follow your teacher’s lecture. Similarly, at home, you may not be able to focus on your homework.

In contrast, having a good attention span enables you to stay focused for longer intervals. This means you can grasp more concepts in a given time frame.

**Reasons why middle school math can be difficult for students**

According to EdSource reports, there was a 6.5% decrease in California’s 2022 Smarter Balanced scores, especially in math. This shows that middle school math education faces a big challenge.

**The report also says that as students go through middle school, their math scores drop even more. On average, there’s a -17% change in math performance during middle school.**

After all, why do students struggle with middle school math so much? Why is middle school math hard? The most common reasons why you can find middle school math hard are as follows:

**Increased complexity and quantity of syllabus**

As you enter the middle school, you start learning algebraic concepts. Subjects like Pre-Algebra and Algebra I involve complex formulas and concepts. You could find it tough to understand these concepts at once.

**In 2021, The Hechinger Report called out the ****difficulty students are facing in Algebra.**** **They mention that the complexity of the subject makes it difficult to score well in math.

Besides, the syllabus expands too. Math in middle school is no more about practicing basic topics. The topics are further elaborated. It takes you longer to cover each lesson.

**The complexity and the quantity of the syllabus make it hard for you to tackle middle school math.**

**Math anxiety **

**Math anxiety is the feeling of worry, fear, or stress every time you face math problems. **It generally stems from a poor foundation in math.

These experiences and feelings signal math anxiety:

- If you remember being judged and bullied for underperforming in math.
- If you fear failing in math.
- If math makes you anxious.

Around 20% to 25% of students deal with math anxiety. Math anxiety prevents you from learning and applying math skills confidently.

**Transition period**

The entire middle school period is a transition period from elementary school to high school. You keep learning new and advanced math concepts in these 3 years. **Each year comes up with its own challenges with the ultimate goal of preparing you for high school math.**

You deal with the increased complexity, doubled assignments, and lengthy syllabus of math. Some of you may even start preparing for standardized tests. All this can make it hard to do well in middle school math.

**Improper time management**

As you move into middle school, your commitments increase and the priorities change. Before, you could mostly just have fun and not worry too much about your grades. But now, your grades start to matter more.

Instead of spending a lot of time playing and only a little time studying, it’s the opposite now. You’ll find yourself needing to study more and play less.

Your teachers might start giving you more homework and tests to do. You also have to balance between spending time with friends and doing extracurricular activities.

**With all these new responsibilities, it can be tough to find enough time to practice math regularly.**

**💡Tip**: You can ask your teachers or family members to help you make a schedule that works for you. They can help you figure out what’s most important and how to divide your time so you can get everything done.

**Lack of professional support**

In the traditional school setup, you’re taught in a group of 20 students. **You may not get 1-on-1 attention from your teacher to clear doubts. **You may not be able to manage the assignments and test prep alone.

The Edsource report says that middle school math needs high-dosage tutoring.

**💡Tip**: Middle school tutors can help you clear doubts, complete homework on time, and prepare for important math tests.

**📖Recommended Reading**:

**What are the hardest middle school math subjects?**

The hardest middle school math classes commonly consist of subjects that will be taught at a deeper level in high school. Pre-algebra and Algebra I are considered the most challenging subjects of middle school.

**Pre-Algebra**

Students take pre-algebra in 7th or 8th grade. ** **

**Some difficult Algebra topics may include:**

- Proportional Relationships
- Representing Linear Relationships
- Finding Slopes
- Linear Equations

**Algebra I**

According to Edsource reports, in California, over 1/3rd of 8th-grade Algebra 1 students (around 80,000) scored “below basic” or “far below basic.” The failure rate varied by district, reaching 40-50 percent.

**A study conducted by the International Academy of Science**** found the following Algebra concepts to be the most difficult:**

- Averaging data with different units
- Multiplying polynomials by monomials
- Modeling using exponential functions
- Converting units for derived quantities
- Complementary and supplementary angles

**📖 Recommended Reading: ****What Happens If ****You**** Fail In Middle School Math****?**

**How to excel in difficult middle school math concepts?**

The transition in middle school can pose significant challenges, especially in math. But don’t worry, our expert middle school math tutors have these fantastic tips to help you do well in 6th-grade math:

**Plan your study wisely**

**What subjects should you cover? How long will it take? When should you practice? **Making a daily schedule or strategy will help you excel in your academic endeavors. If you’re a middle schooler, having trouble understanding complex mathematical ideas, making a schedule for your day can help. It can support your ability to remain organized, focused, and productive.

**Practice consistently**

**Staying on track with your math practice is most important in middle school math. **Revise the math lessons taught in school. Do your homework regularly. Practice exercises and past papers.

**Ask questions regularly**

**If you are having doubts or the concept is not clear, it is always better to ask.** Maybe others are also waiting for someone to ask because they feel shy. Asking questions or doubt won’t let you down. It implies you are interested in learning the material.

**Seek help **

Don’t hesitate to clarify doubts with teachers, friends, or family. Get help from Middle school math resources like worksheets, videos, and books.

Sometimes, you might need extra guidance and support from a professional tutor. You can ask your parents to contact 6th-grade math tutors for you.

📖**Read this guide to find ultimate middle school math tips: ****Middle School Math Tips**

**Final thoughts on “Is Middle School Math Hard?”**

**Middle school math can be hard as it is the transition period from elementary school to high school. The difficulty of middle school math depends on factors like – your basic math skills, practice skills, and attention span. FPre-algebra and Algebra I are considered the most challenging 6th-grade math topics. **

You can also struggle in middle school math due to the increased complexity of the curriculum, improper time management, and lack of professional support.

To succeed in middle school math, you need to start with an effective study plan. Follow it up with consistent practice. Don’t hesitate to seek help from your teachers, friends, and family whenever in need.

Written by

Medha PandeyReviewed by

Prerit Jain