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Math is not one of my strongest strengths. Will I struggle in the area of economics because of this?

Hi, I'm a 16-year-old high school student determined to get an education in the areas of economics and business. I have many strengths but one of them does not include math. The Idea of this extremely bothers me because I feel as if I will struggle. Any advice?
(thank you for all the responses, I'm sorry I don't get to say thank you to everyone who takes the time to answer my questions but thank you!)
#career #economics #business #highschool #highschoolstudent #math #strengths #student #linkedin


Hi Danieh, I am a student as well (a junior in college majoring in Economics), and I used to think that math was not a strong-suite, too. Don't give up or feel discouraged! It may just be the way you are being taught right now is not ideal for the way you learn, or maybe the drudgery in the beginning is tough but it will click more in the next class. As many others have said, economics is a broad field, and there are tons of people ready and willing to help out. Don't let a bad experience ruin your passion--see where it can take you and you'll acquire the skills along the way! Keep up the good work! Best, Lucas Lucas Geremia

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Melissa’s Answer

Hi Danieh, I am a recent college graduate with a degree in Economics and Business. In high school I struggled with math as well, but was determined to get a degree with analytical and quantitative qualities. Economics does usually require calculus and the high up courses are math based, although do not be intimidated by this. In all honest you will have to work harder and push yourself to understand the concepts. It is very doable and I graduated with a good GPA and received a job while still in college because of my hard work and Economic background. All my hard work was 100% worth it. My biggest recommendation is to hire a tutor or pair up with someone in class to work with. From the beginning of your college courses its helpful to sit in the front of the class and build a rapport with the professor. You are your own best advocate. If it's something you strive for and really want to pursue it is very doable. It just means you will have to be strategic in how you behave and push yourself to embrace all your resources your campus provides. Do not be discouraged if you are not strong in math, it may be a weakness at this point in time, but pushing yourself to overcome that could be extremely rewarding and result in an Economics degree. To conclude I would not give up and use this as a challenge to better yourself to achieve your dreams!

I love this answer. Thank you for putting so much thought into it! I really appreciate it danieh K.

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Katelyn’s Answer

You will be perfectly fine!! Let me say that again...as long as you put in the work you will be perfectly fine! I am terrible at math and took many math, accounting, and finance classes in college. I hated them they were my toughest classes but I passed them all. Here is my advice:

1. Research your professor for any class you are worried about on ratemyprofessor.com, and make sure they have decent reviews. Students will talk about if they teach well and have a willingness to help. That is the teacher you will want! I always make sure to have a highly reviewed professor for harder classes.
2. Become friends will the smartest person in the class. Work on your homework together and study together. They will teach you tricks that work for them that could work for you.
3. Take advantage of study groups, office hours, and emailing your professor. Your professor should know who you are, they are more willing to help you if you show you care about the class and your grade.
4. Study study study! Study a few days before the test and do a good solid review the night before and morning of the test. I always reworked study guides and problems we worked on in class.

You got this! Most people are not good at math 😊

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Chris’s Answer

Hello,

I would HIGHLY suggest that if math is a struggle, to get help early. As many things later in life, you will realize your ability to adapt and show grit will push you through these obstacles.

Just look at it as NOT a struggle, but an opportunity to learn and knock down that wall that is in front of you.

Economics is a field that is highly mathematic so it will likely help if you have a love and appreciation of math.

Hope this helps.


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Melissa’s Answer

Hello, I have a degree in business with a minor in economics. I am also not the best at math. My advice to you on this would be to learn all you can in your high school/college courses. Don't miss a class. Read the books. Complete the assignments. Ask questions (your teacher/professors should be there to assist!). Read other materials online to clarify something you don't understand. Find a study partner from your class. Read articles relating to economics from the news or watch news shows about the economy. This will help you get more immersed in the material. Doing all of these things will help you master the material!

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John’s Answer

No, math is not a necessary pre-requisite for Economics. Economics is much broader based, and has more of a focus on what aspects of business drive the economic factors in our country. Being an economist requires a great deal of study, reading, and forecasting of what economic upturns and downturns will affect our country in the future. It is a very interesting profession, and has practical uses as well, not just those from a business standpoint. Read, read, read!!

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Curt’s Answer

With any potential career path you will likely find some requirements more challenging than others for the path you are considering. The great thing about math is it is concrete, objective. There is a problem to solve and one answer that is right. Math is about practice, practice, practice. Once you get a mathematical concept down you got it. The key is to ask for help or clarification. You are in the exact right time in life - high school - to put the habit into place. If you don't get it - ask the question. If the answer is still confusing - ask again maybe in a different way or to someone else. Ask for practical, real life examples when studying a difficult mathematical concept. Economics is the perfect example. It's a part of everyone's life who buys or sells anything. Supply and demand. Sure there are some really complicated economic concepts and calculations but they consist of building blocks. Get the basic math concepts down and then just keep building on them. You'll be fine with right perspective and drive.

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Megan’s Answer

Hi Danieh! You have a lot of great advice here, but I have one thing to add: there are schools who offer BAs in Economics. I got my Econ degree from Penn State and the difference between a BA and a BS in Economics was two math-heavy classes (calculus and econometrics). The beauty (and sometimes the curse) of Economics is that it's a very broad field. Coming out of college there are many potential career paths, so if you don't want to be a hard-core economist consider looking into a BA. In fact, by doing a BA you'll 1) get to take language classes and 2) you might create greater flexibility to do things like a double major, which may better tailor your resume for fields of interest.

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Kimberly’s Answer

You will need some math skills (stats and calculus) for Econ, but there are many programs that are not math intensive. You may want to choose an Econ program in a business school instead of Liberal Arts as it is likely to be less research intensive.

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Will’s Answer

While math is important in just about every facet of adult life, it's more of a practical math than theoretical math like geometry and trig that you learn in high school. Econ is numbers based and includes formulas you will need to learn but I found that in college when you start applying real world scenarios to math problems especially those based in econ and finance it gets much easier.

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Bill’s Answer

Hi Danieh, hopefully I can help with your question. The field of economics is very broad and hence can be applicable for many different companies. Also, the fundamentals you learn in it are what drive our economy and the decisions businesses make. Because the field is broad, economics can be qualitative or quantitative. If this is what interests you, I wouldn't let the fear of struggling with math hold you back. You could try to avoid those classes for the most part, but if I were you, I would take them because they will be beneficial to you in the long run. If you get help early and often, it pays off. There's no such thing as a stupid question and if you can keep your head up, not get discouraged, and learn from your mistakes, you can get through. That would be my advice.

Sincerely,

Someone who has taken his fair share of math and economics classes

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Chris’s Answer

I received my Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Business and yes math is part of the curriculum. In my case I took Calculus I twice and Calculus II three times. So, it is not impossible or even unlikely to pursue a degree in this field and be weak in math.

What do you bring to the table to be successful? You are self-aware. You know that math is going to be a struggle for you. You also have a clear desire get an education in this area. The most practical advice I have for you is to get help early and often. Math Lab will be your best friend.

The other part of your question is that you are worried if you should pursue something you desire even if you know you will struggle. One of my kids teachers has a saying that "the learning is in the struggle." Everyone has to make that choice for themselves. Here are some tips that you may find useful:

1) Keep your "Big Picture" goal in mind. What do you want to get out of all this work?
2) Identify your motivation. To quote a line from the movie "Waterboy" find your "Tackling Fuel" and use it to pursue your goals.
3) Be flexible. As you start your education you may find that your passion has changed. Most Liberal Arts programs have 2 years (4 semesters) of course work that is largely the same. Be open to the idea that you may change your major, or find another area of interest.



Hahah it makes me feel better knowing you failed calculus II three times. Thanks for the nice response Chris! danieh K.

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Syed’s Answer

Hi Danieh,

Colleges will typically have both math intensive and math light tracks available for economics majors. Outside of some core courses that require basic calculus and statistics, electives can vary greatly in terms of the depth of math knowledge required. You can choose the electives that have the least math prerequisites. For the math you do need for these courses, your university or college will typically have tutoring and office hours available. You can also leverage Youtube and Khan Academy as resources for things you don't immediately understand.

Best of luck!

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Cathy’s Answer

Just remember that you can achieve anything. My daughter struggled with Math and she hired a tutor to help her along. Just always remember there is always a way and always someone to help you achieve and climb over any mountains. It just takes courage and confidence in yourself. I hope this helps.

Cathy H.

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Ji’s Answer

Your question really resonates with me. Math did not come easy to me but I was really fortunate because in middle school one really awesome teacher pulled me aside and worked with me til I was ready for a big exam. I learned that if you put in the time you can become good. That has been the story of my math education -- I put the time in to get through calculus in high school, Economics in college, then Finance and statistics in business school. As other people who have responded have said, use your resources. Before starting b-school, I went to math camp that the b-school offered. The existence of b-school math camps goes to show you that you and I are not the only ones who need to work a little harder at math but can pursue business/business education.

I do think that understanding numbers is an important part of working in business. So get a good solid math education because it will be useful. Also know that there are a lot of functions in business -- it's not just finance, accounting, or bust. You can be interested in business and do well in so many different areas. So don't close your mind to pursuing business -- your job/career in business does not have to be math based. Good luck to you!

Thank you so much for the positive response, it really gives me motivation. I appreciate it danieh K.

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Eleanya J.’s Answer

Of all social sciences, Economics is the most math involved, more so at the graduate level. However, economics is not mathematics and the math involved is not as intimidating as most people might think. At an undergraduate level, I wouldn't worry too much about being bad at math. Some colleges have a BA designation in economics, which is more conceptual and less applied while others have a BS designation, which requires more math than the other. If you are interested in economics, getting a good foundation in calculus, differential equation, and statistics will be useful, especially for graduate level work. Remember that the joy in studying economics is in being able to reason like an economist To this, the importance of understanding concepts and theories in economics many times outweighs expertise in mathematics.

Here is an answer to a similar question from Greg Mankiw - http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2006/06/love-econ-bad-at-math.html

Also check out this blog post on Freedom for Economic Education https://fee.org/articles/the-overuse-of-mathematics-in-economics/

Than you so much for the links! danieh K.

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Tracy’s Answer

Math is always helpful, however if you aren't a math expert, it will not prevent you from doing your job. Know your resources! Find others that you can ask questions when you need to think through logic. You will have knowledge they may need and you can share.

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Chris’s Answer

In high school I too struggled with math, however once I got into college math became my favorite subject. I started out in Accounting and then moved to Finance where I found the material and mathematical concepts easier for me; therefore did not mind putting in the extra time. Also, there are many resources that you can also seek out. Most often your professor will hold office hours so you can get clarity on the subject matter, or you could get a tutor, or start a study group, or even collaborate with a group of your fellow students. It sounds like you are passionate and would not be intimidated by a little extra effort. There is support all around you, so I would not give up before you even tried!

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Narina’s Answer

This is a great question! I've heard this exact concern from so many young people while at school, college or even at work. There is a difference between math science and your understanding of it and actual job requirements for economist/accountant/finance position. A lot of what you are studying at school is a math science that will not ever be a part of your day-to-day job. Nowadays professionals have tools and all kinds of support while working on a complex calculations. Math got replaced by a lot of smart computer programs and if you become professional in those you have a much greater chances to succeed than just math talent. So my advice would be to keep going despite any math difficulties and focus on getting very friendly with excel (maybe even get a certificate or 2). And include that in your future resume, will definitely be a plus! Good luck to you!

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Deanna’s Answer

Hi Danieh,

I majored in Business in College, now with a career in banking, and math was always an area where I struggled.

While I did have to take some math related courses in college, I was lucky enough to have a family member who was very skilled in math to help tutor me along the way.

My advice to you would be to look further into your desired field of study and get an understanding of what level of math is required. In my experience, the math related courses I took in college for business were challenging, but with a helpful tutor I was able to get through them just fine. I have also found that there are often study groups offered in college where you can obtain additional assistance.

If you are passionate about economics, I believe you should continue exploring the requirements of the field and perhaps look for a mentor or someone in your community who has experience in the field and can speak to what level of math may be required.

Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!

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Richard’s Answer

My son studied economics and has received job offers in consulting/investment banking so I will answer from the perspective of his advice.

Very few business programs will require more than a nominal amount of calculus (general education requirements may require more calc than the program). For serious economics programs, however, calculus is paramount and central to the theory. A PhD in economics generally requires Real Analysis, which is a very serious and mathematically rigorous look at calculus.

So, if you want to do a business degree with some qualitative economics like intro macro/micro, this isn't a problem!

If you want to do serious economic work, math may be more critical, but you can always learn those skills!

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Maharlika’s Answer

I majored in Economics despite not enjoying math in high school. But, once I was in college I made sure to get as much assistance from the graduate Teaching Assistants for any math support I needed in each Economics course. Calculus is needed for the upper level courses such as Econometrics, and the time and effort I spent getting extra tutoring helped me earn an "A" in that class. I would highly recommend getting to know the graduate Teaching Assistants, and reaching out to them when you encounter tough math problems. While in high school, I would recommend completing Calculus to help prepare for future college Economics courses too.

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Brett’s Answer

Hello,
I understand your concern. Math was not one of my strengths in school. In fact I hated it. But now I work at a financial institution. I would not fear. If you can add and subtract multiply and divide you can get a job. The most important thing is to be accurate. If you are struggling, there are always outside resources or perhaps resources that your school can help provide that will strengthen your math skills. I know this does not sound like fun but it should not deter you from what you would like to achieve in life.

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Michael’s Answer

You will definitely need to be proficient in math for an Econ degree and for most Business related degrees really. I was a Finance Major and have an MBA as well. My advice would be to stick with it and put in the time to improve now. I struggled with higher level mathematics like Calculus when my original major was Computer Science but I thrived in the Math that is more geared to business like Stats and Accounting, etc. I found those disciplines to be more practical and less theoretical and you will be able to apply them not only in your professional career but also in your personal life

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Keith’s Answer

Hi Danieh. Was exactly the same situation for me! In high school I took advantage of tutoring to help... then in college made friends that I studied with. I learned that with good friends you can be honest and ask for help without feeling ashamed! Let the desire to succeed in Economics overtake the fear you may have about math!


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Cathy’s Answer

Just remember that you can achieve anything. My daughter struggled with Math and she hired a tutor to help her along. Just always remember there is always a way and always someone to help you achieve and climb over any mountains. It just takes courage and confidence in yourself. I hope this helps.

Cathy H.

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Libbie’s Answer

I am not sure I would throw in the towel just yet. Your perception of strengths and weakness are those of today, and may not reflect your true potential and capacity. A significant part of heading to college and pursuing a degree is continuing to learn and develop in areas. If I looked at my list of strengths from high school, and list today, they are definitely very different. You said the idea of it not being a strength bothers you. I would challenge you to look at it as an opportunity, versus a weakness. If you have a chance, you may want to google "growth mindset" and see how powerful the human mind can be at both limiting our capabilities, and expanding them. Hope this helps.

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John’s Answer

Economics is more Statistics than pure Mathematics... although they both deal with numbers, they are very different concepts. I know a number of folks (with PhDs) that are really not great at Math, but love Statistics.

Also, I have found that if you're truly passionate about a subject (Economics), the other parts of that subject will be easy to pick up. You might have to work hard at the math parts, but you'll be enjoying it so much that it won't bother you!

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Yasmeen’s Answer

Based on my experience, I think it is better to focus on a career where the required skills come more naturally to you. It will be more enjoyable for you and be easier for you to stand out. So take some time to think about where your strengths lie and take it from there.

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Brett’s Answer

Hello,
I understand your concern. Math was not one of my strengths in school. In fact I hated it. But now I work at a financial institution. I would not fear. If you can add and subtract multiply and divide you can get a job. The most important thing is to be accurate. If you are struggling, there are always outside resources or perhaps resources that your school can help provide that will strengthen your math skills. I know this does not sound like fun but it should not deter you from what you would like to achieve in life.

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Deanna’s Answer

Hi Danieh,

I majored in Business in College, now with a career in banking, and math was always an area where I struggled.

While I did have to take some math related courses in college, I was lucky enough to have a family member who was very skilled in math to help tutor me along the way.

My advice to you would be to look further into your desired field of study and get an understanding of what level of math is required. In my experience, the math related courses I took in college for business were challenging, but with a helpful tutor I was able to get through them just fine. I have also found that there are often study groups offered in college where you can obtain additional assistance.

If you are passionate about economics, I believe you should continue exploring the requirements of the field and perhaps look for a mentor or someone in your community who has experience in the field and can speak to what level of math may be required.

Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!

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