Mathematics, to many, is a subject that is associated with hard work, memorization, and the esteemed title of “genius.” It is a common misconception that math is only for the gifted and that if you are not a natural at it, then it is not worth your time or effort. This statement could not be further from the truth.

While it is true that some individuals have a natural aptitude for math, this does not mean that others cannot also succeed in the subject. The reality is that anyone who is willing to put in the effort and time can master math, and there is a vast range of resources available to aid in this endeavor.


Challenging the Belief in the “Math Gene”

The belief in the “math gene,” or the idea that some people are born with an innate ability to excel in math, is a common belief that can be very limiting to self-improvement. While it is true that some individuals have a natural inclination for the subject, success in math is mainly a result of hard work and determination.

Many studies in the field of educational psychology have demonstrated that practice, not inherent ability, is the most significant determiner of math success. The brain possesses plasticity, meaning it can learn and change through experience. This means that with hard work and regular practice of math, the brain can develop neural pathways that strengthen mathematical ability.

Proving this point, a study by the “Journal of Neuroscience” revealed that through practicing math problems for a sustained period, there was increased gray matter in the area of the brain responsible for procedural learning and problem-solving. This finding supports the belief that math ability can be trained, and success in the subject is not only reserved for geniuses.

The Importance of a Strong Foundation

Forming a strong foundation in mathematics can feel daunting and challenging, especially for those who have struggled in the subject in the past. However, learning math is like learning any other discipline – it requires structure, practice, and dedication.

One crucial aspect of building a strong foundation in math is focusing on understanding the fundamentals. This includes concepts such as arithmetic, algebraic rules, geometry, and trigonometry. With a strong foundation, it is easier to comprehend more advanced concepts that one may encounter.

The importance of a comprehensive understanding of fundamentals is highlighted in a study by “The Journal of Educational Research”. The study found that a weak foundation in fundamentals was one of the primary reasons students struggled in mathematics later on. However, with an understanding of the fundamental concepts, students were found to exceed expectations in more challenging areas.

The Role of Resources in Developing Math Skills

Thankfully, there are numerous resources available for individuals looking to enhance their math skills. This includes textbooks, online courses, math apps, tutoring, and math-focused study groups. Additionally, many institutions offer free courses through platforms like Coursera and edX.

In recent years, with technology advancements, several apps have been developed to assist in math studies. Apps such as Photomath and Khan Academy offer tutorials, interactive exercises, and visual aids to help individuals understand mathematical concepts more easily.

SIMON, a math teacher and author of “Bringing Mathematics to Life: A Guide for Secondary School Teachers,” recommends individuals to consume a variety of resources rather than depending on just one. Accessing different resources such as textbooks for fundamentals and apps for exercise can drastically improve math knowledge.

The Benefits of Learning Math

The importance of math knowledge can’t be overstated. Mathematics is essential in many fields, including science, engineering, finance, medicine, and technology. Additionally, mathematical concepts apply to various aspects of everyday life, including budgeting, shopping, cooking, and even travel.

Moreover, math skills support overall cognitive abilities, including logical reasoning, problem-solving, and critical thinking. This benefit is obtained since math has so many different applications that require problem-solving in different areas.


In conclusion, the belief in a “math gene” and the idea that math is only for the geniuses is a detrimental viewpoint. Anyone willing to put in the time and effort to learn math can improve their knowledge with the vast resources available. Strong fundamentals and multiple resources are needed to improve math knowledge.

Lastly, math knowledge plays an essential role in various fields and everyday life, and math skills serve as excellent cognitive practice.

Further reading

By Peter

2 thoughts on “Breaking the Misconception that Math is only for “Geniuses””
  1. “So, math is just about memorizing formulas and concepts? I thought it was more about natural talent and intelligence. Can someone with no math background still learn it?”

    1. Math is not just about memorizing formulas and concepts, it also involves problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity. While natural talent and intelligence can certainly give someone a head start, anyone with the right mindset and motivation can learn math regardless of their background. One way to start learning math is to start from the basics and move onto more advanced concepts gradually. A helpful website that offers free math lessons and resources for all levels is Khan Academy:

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