The Pitfalls of Comparison and How to Build Self Confidence in IB Math

Recent studies have shown that how much a student compares themselves to their classmates can directly impact their learning success. For example, if you are in an IB Math class and you believe that your classmates are receiving higher grades than you, your confidence and overall performance may be impacted. Comparison is something we all do, even if we know we shouldn’t. So what are some ways that we can avoid comparison to find more success? This article walks you through some of the pitfalls of comparison, and offers some tips on how to avoid it.

Comparing Grades is Counter Productive

Have you ever had a classmate ask you to share your grade after receiving a test back in math class? Comparing our grades to classmates is one of the easiest traps to fall into. But in reality, it doesn’t make us better students, nor better classmates. Grades do not define you as a student, especially on tests. For example, you might be really solid in your homework and in-class work, but struggle more with tests. Perhaps you have a classmate that is a strong test taker, but does not fully grasp the content in class. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and comparing won’t make that go away.

Focus on Your Strengths
Especially in challenging classes like IB math, focusing on your strengths will be far more productive than worrying about your weaknesses. Working one-on-one with an IB math private tutor is one excellent way to find your strengths and take advantage of them in the classroom. An IB math private tutor will get to know you as an individual who is so much more than a single test or a single grade. Making sure you do not define your self worth by grades or your weaknesses will help build your confidence going forward.

Everyone Learns at a Different Pace

Students come from diverse educational backgrounds and experiences. Some may have had extensive exposure to advanced math concepts, while others may be encountering them for the first time. If you’re comparing yourself to a classmate with a different background, it’s not a fair assessment of your abilities. If you are finding that you learn at a much different pace than your peers, one solution can be to work with an IB Math private tutor. Tutors can be particularly excellent because it is just you and the tutor working together, with no outside distractions. You can move as quickly or as slowly as you need through each subject, without feeling pressure to work at the same pace as your peers.

How to work effectively with an IB Math Private Tutor to combat comparison:
Identify Personal Goals: Rather than solely aiming to catch up or surpass your peers, try setting your own goals for the class and the IB exam. Private tutors can assist in defining these goals and creating a roadmap to achieve them.
Learn from Peers: Instead of comparing yourself negatively, work with your tutor to learn all the ways that you can learn from and work with peers. By working with an IB math private tutor, you can practice how to work with others, ask questions, and bring your strengths to the table.
Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge and celebrate personal progress. Whether it’s understanding a complex theorem or solving a challenging problem, every step forward is a reason to be proud.
Embrace Challenges: IB math private tutors can help you view challenges as opportunities for growth. Rather than avoiding difficult problems, you can build your confidence by learning to approach even the most challenging problems.
Foster Independence: A good private tutor doesn’t just provide answers; they teach students how to think critically, solve problems independently, and develop a deep understanding of math concepts. This fosters independence and resilience in the face of challenges. Your confidence will grow once you learn to work independently at your own pace without comparing yourself or relying on your peers.

It can sometimes feel like school is all-consuming, especially if you are preparing for a big exam like the IB math exam. While it is helpful to work with private IB math tutors to combat self-comparison, it is critical that we also take a step away from school and classwork to put everything in perspective. If you are feeling particularly down or overwhelmed, try going for a walk, watch a movie about a totally new topic, or check in with friends and family. At the end of the day, making sure you are doing things that make you happy is the greatest way to combat the negative risks of self-comparison.

Aegis Advisors has a team of experienced and committed private tutors who can help on IB math as well as a full range of subjects across all major curriculums. Contact us today to see how we can help.