How to Learn (or Relearn) Maths As An Adult

by Anita Naik

There are many reasons you may want to learn maths again as an adult. Perhaps, you want to help your children with their schoolwork, refresh your knowledge in general or even sit your GCSE or A-Level as an adult. Whatever your reasons, here's what you need to do.

Think about your maths mindset

Many adult learners have a fear about maths, feeling that they can't do it, and they will struggle if they try again. This fear comes from past experiences at home and in school, and if you don't tackle it - it can be detrimental to your decision to study maths again.

Alongside this are lots of negative attitudes towards maths in general. Maybe you don't believe you have a mathematical brain. Or perhaps you feel that because you find maths hard, you can never be good at it.

None of this is true. So, the first thing to do before you start again is to change your maths mindset. Step one is to forget what happened when you were at school and what was said about your mathematical ability. Step two is then to find yourself the right teacher/tutor. The right person for you will motivate you, explain mathematical theories in a way you can understand and capture your interest with maths.

How will you go about learning maths?

There are several ways to target maths.

1. You can do it yourself you with books, past papers and with excellent websites like BBC Bitesize Maths and tutorials on YouTube.

2. You can apply for a maths course at a beginner or GCSE level as an adult learner at a local college.

3. You can find a maths tutor. The right tutor will be able to talk you through what you need to learn, how to learn it and also tailor it to where you are right now. We have maths tutors for the casual learner and maths tutors for advanced level learners.

Consider where you need to start

What you need to address, depends on how much maths knowledge and confidence you have right now.

If you are a complete beginner, then courses and tutors can help you start from the beginning. If you haven't studied maths since you were at school, colleges and tutors can also refresh and extend your maths skills to help you gain a formal qualification.

If you are keen to take or retake maths GCSE, then check out our blog on How to Pass Maths GCSE As this highlights the mathematical basics you need to know at this level:

(1) Number - fractions decimals, percentages(2) Algebra - quadratic equations, factorising, indices(3) Ratio, proportion and rates of change - compound measures, measurements(4) Geometry and measures - angle theorems, 3 D shapes, vectors(5) Trigonometry - Pythagoras theorem, congruency(6) Statistics and probability - averages, data, sampling

For A-Level and a maths degree, you will need to know more advanced maths theory and are better off working via a college, or with a maths tutor.