Keep Calm and Carry On: How to Keep Your Math Anxiety Under Control


It’s that time of the year again. Classes have started to pick up, the first tests have already happened, and you may or may not be freaking out over your work and/or test results. Instead of worrying yourself silly over your future work and test results, let’s focus on building the skills that you need to keep calm and carry on in math class.


  1. Stay on top of your work

As difficult as it may be to write down the information given in class, understand it, and do your homework, staying on top of all the assigned work can and will help you “ace” your math class. This way, once that test comes around, you won’t be freaking out over what information you didn’t cover—instead, you will be in the know. To help you take down as much course information as possible in an efficient and effective manner, check out our blog post on “The Note Taking #KeysToSuccess”.

This is books scramble. Many books on white background.

  1. Learn breathing techniques

When you get into a test and just don’t know what’s going on, take a few, repeated, big “belly breaths” to help ease your anxiety. There are many different types of effective breathing techniques developed but it’s important to find the one that works best for you. A popular breathing technique is called “box breathing” and involves visualizing a box as you breathe in and out, using your diaphragm, for four counts of four. To learn more about this technique and many others, check out one of our fave how-to articles thanks to Livestrong!


  1. Ask questions

A key to succeeding in math class (and any class for that matter), is to ask questions when you require clarification on certain concepts. This can be an intimidating experience but chances are other classmates of yours have similar if not the same questions. Think of yourself as doing everyone a favour–especially since asking questions can oftentimes lead the teacher to give out hints regarding what kind of material is going to be on the next evaluation.

Group of People Asking Questions

  1. Be aware of negative self-talk

More often than not we can speak extremely negatively towards ourselves without even noticing. We all have the tendency to give ourselves small put-downs every now and again. If constantly repeated, these put downs can become automatic thoughts and part of our subjective reality. The best defence against this type of negative, self-sabotaging thinking, is to catch yourself saying these negative thoughts to yourself. Once you take note of your thoughts you will realize that you are not “completely doomed to fail” your next math test and are, in fact, “fairly well prepared”.


  1. Slow and steady wins the race

A sure way to ease your anxiety around test taking is to slow down and take your time when reading through a test. The more you rush through a test, the higher the chances that you will miss an important piece of information and make a careless mistake. When taking one’s time to read instructions, it is often helpful to highlight or underline key terms in the questions in order to signal important information. For example, highlighting the words “show all your work” will ensure that you do, in fact, show all your work – ALL the time!



In short, if you follow these small and simple techniques to combat your work and subsequent anxiety around test-taking, you should not only be more prepared for your upcoming evaluation but more at ease throughout this process. Test taking time can be THE time to show off everything you know! Don’t let anxiety get in the way of boasting those brains!

Books We Love: “Rosie Revere, Engineer” and “Ada Twist, Scientist”


The CRAZIEST thing happened to me the other day. While strolling by the Mt. Pleasant bookstore Mable’s Fables, I stopped in my tracks at the sight of a beautiful window display showcasing children’s books that promote women in STEM. For me, the existence and promotion of “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, and “Ada Twist, Scientist”, in the window of Mable’s Fables is one of the biggest advancements in the field of women in STEM since, like, EVER and I could not be more excited to feature information about these books and their author on this week’s TMG blog.


Andrea Beaty is a total super-star talent; prior to writing children’s books, Beaty attended school in Illinois where she studied Biology and Computer Science. After that, Beaty worked at a computer software company where she helped people with their computer problems and worked loosely as a technical writer (which proved to be great training for writing children’s literature). Not only is Beaty a talented children’s author, her background in STEM demonstrates that there is no such thing as a math or science mind. Thus, Beaty’s interest in multiple disciplines proves the TMG philosophy that there’s no such thing as a “math person” to be true.


Beaty’s “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, tells the story of a little girl named Rosie and her dream to become a world-class engineer. Rosie is starry-eyed—she views both ordinary and unordinary objects with great wonder and sets out to turn said objects into great inventions. In this work, Rosie fears failure and is guided (as a child should be), to celebrate her creative mind. Not only does the book praise Rosie’s willingness to invent and become an engineer, when her first invention fails she is encouraged to try again because the only true failure is to quit. Rosie’s story is one that should be emulated by us all—we should all strive to create new things despite the fear of failure and, in the face of failure, continue to create.


Not only is Beaty the author of “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, she is the author of a slew of other children’s books including “Ada Twist, Scientist”. The themes present in “Rosie Revere, Engineer”, are continuously present in that of “Ada Twist, Scientist”; curiosity is privileged, perseverance is emphasized, and girl-power is demonstrated at every turn.


TMG loves these books by Andrea Beaty as they teach children lessons that we try to instill in our students. So, remember: you have the power to create whatever you wish and face your fears because the sky is the limit! For more information on the author and her amazing books check out

The Note Taking #KeysToSuccess


One major #KeytoSuccess in school and beyond is taking effective notes. Sounds like a simple task, right? Wrong. Oftentimes our teachers and professors speak too quickly, making it a challenge to take down everything they’re saying. Other times they provide us with information that is actually unnecessary for the purpose of succeeding in the course but we write it down anyway. So, how do we strike the perfect balance between writing down everything and writing down nothing at all? This blog post will let you know how to beat this common pitfall and help you learn much more about effective note taking! Here’s to crushing school with TMG (again)!


  1. The Beginning Stages

Every note is the opportunity for a new, beautiful beginning. Each page is the chance to perfect your skills while simultaneously making the page dazzle with new information. Step one to taking effective notes is to start off every note on a new page with the date and page number. Keeping track of your notes via the date will help you know the chronological order of course content so that when it comes time for that test you know exactly where to look for the material.


2. Highlight, highlight, highlight

The best thing to highlight first on your page is the title of your note. Doing so signals to you what the subject of the note is and helps you to begin to organize the other information on the page. By writing down and highlighting the title of your note you will get a sense of what information you should and should not include on the rest of your page, you will begin to ask yourself: is this information relevant to the subject’s title? Pro tip: don’t think that the only thing you should highlight is the title—key terms, relevant problems and quotations are also fair game.


3. Rewrite Your Notes

The best way to retain information is to re-write your notes (preferably by hand), after class. Rewriting your notes in your own words is also a plus–you are synthesizing the information given to you by someone else and translating it in a way that allows YOU to BEST understand it. This strategy to note taking also helps to prepare you for any future evaluations because you will have already studied for an upcoming test while perfecting the scribbles that you may have written down in class.


4. Create Your Own Code

Teachers and professors can often speak quickly and provide you with too much information to write down. Creating your own short forms will help you take notes in a faster, shorter and condensed manner that will not compromise the note’s quality. You can even have some FUN while making your own shorthand by creating a language that is unique to you—stars, arrows, abbreviations and more are all elements of solid short form creation.


5. Don’t Stress!

Just because the teacher or professor is talking, doesn’t mean that you have to be writing. Rather than copying down all information given, taking note of definitions, facts, enumerated lists, charts and information repeated or written on the chalkboard can be considered useful. Don’t get too hung up over your note-taking abilities—effective note taking is a skill that, like anything, will develop over time. For now, focus on following TMG’s tips to help get you started taking effective notes.


Back to School Like a BOSS: Five Ways to ACE Your Classes This School Year


Is this hot weather hypnotizing you into thinking that it’s still summer vacay? You might still be wishing that school wasn’t happening, but here at TMG we’re no longer in denial; we’re ready to completely crush the school year and we want you to join us!

So, how exactly will you succeed in making school a breeze? Follow the tips below to help you get organized and ready to rake in the A’s!

we-can-do-it-rosie-the-riveter-wallpaper-2-ab1. Highlight Your Life.

  • Highlighters come in so many fun, pretty colours that not only help you decorate your potentially boring black and white notes but also help to signal what information is relevant to your studying. After highlighting your notes, it’s always easier to come back to your pages with fresh eyes and remember what the important information was. Hint: it’s the stuff that’s brightly coloured!


2. Divide and Conquer.

  • This tip comes in two very important parts– listen carefully!
  • Part one to “dividing and conquering” your school work is to make sure that you have a separate binder for every subject. Dividing your subjects into separate binders will enable you to find the information you need when you need it. Yes, your Math notes will actually be in your Math binder – shocking!
  • Part two of this task is to divide your newly created subject binders into sub-categories. Grab some nicely coloured dividers and section off your binder into categories like “Homework”, “Tests and Assignments”, and “Notes”. Again, you’ll be able to find the information you’re looking for exactly in the exact place that you left it!

165161_med3. Schedule Yourself.

  • Agendas are THE best. In fact, they’re SO great that I almost always never leave my house without one– who knows when I’ll have to schedule something in? A TMG tip to using an agenda effectively is to write down when you have every evaluation on the date itself and in the monthly calendar key. By writing down when you have tests and assignments due not once, but TWICE you are sure to not walk into a classroom without knowing what’s going on.

julia-kostreva-daily-weekly-planner-notebooks-insides-2-monthly-view4. The Case for the Pencil Case.

  • More often than not do I see students who are pencil-less because the one pencil that they’ve hid at the bottom of their backpack is now missing. A sure way to avoid having nothing to write with in class is to have all your fun and fancy pens, pencils, and highlighters in one handy-dandy compartment called…a pencil case! Now you won’t have to beg the person sitting next to you to “borrow” one of their pens– you’ll have your own!

51f741632478e25dd652ad26c2fbe67f5. Electronic Organization.

  • A new school year calls for new electronic folders on the desktop of your computer. Like I do with my binders and dividers, I create a giant folder with many mini subject folders within. I do this electronically for the same reason why I do it manually– to avoid searching through my computer to find what I’m looking for! Seriously, the act of organizing has such a huge impact on our educational state of being! A cluttered book bag or desktop basically means a cluttered mind – and no one wants that!


Back to School – The IT List


If you tuned into our last blog post, you’ll have seen that we provided you with style inspo courtesy of our fave fictional characters. So this week, we thought we’d bring things back to IRL and give you some must-have Back-to-School items you can actually get your hands on.


Backpack Pins

Want to give your backpack or pencil case a little boost? Add some decorative pins! There are literally endless options of cute pins on (just search “Backpack Pins”) but we love these ones with one of our fave slogans “You Do You”! If you’re feeling a little craftier, you could also buy badges and sew them onto your backpacks.


Fun Laptop Cases

For all our students who carry laptops from class to class, we LOVE these laptop cases from . They’ve got you covered for every personality, from wacky animal memes, to more simple and sweet designs. If you’re into something a little simpler, Herschel sells less embellished cases in variety of colours. Find one that suits you, and keep your laptop safe and stylish!


Sleek Water Bottles

Who knew a water bottle could ever be sexy? You might have noticed that S’Well bottles were popping up everywhere this summer, and we can see why! These stainless steel bottles can keep your drinks both hot and cold, and come in tons of different colours and patterns. You all know how important hydration is to keep your brain sharp, so having a water bottle on hand will keep you sipping away all day.


Academic Agenda

This one’s kind of obvious, but if you don’t already have one then definitely go out and grab it. Agendas/Planners/Calendars are SUPER useful in keeping tracks of all your projects, tests and assignments. We know the ones the schools give out can sometimes be a little drab, so maybe invest in a different one if you think it will motivate you to use it more!


Yummy “Fall” Tea

We don’t want you going broke on Pumpkin Spice Lattes, so we think a delicious tea is the perfect alternative. Buy this box of Tazo Chai Pumpkin Spice tea from Starbucks to get you excited for fall, and back into positive study habits! 

Back-to-School Style Icons


It’s that time of the year again! That’s right, Back-to-School season is upon us. What better way to ease yourself back into a school-centered mindset than with the help of a couple pop culture figures? We’ve gathered a list of our top back-to-school style icons to provide you with some serious #throwback first day of school outfit inspiration.

Cher and Dionne from Clueless

dionne-cher-cluelessOK – so maybe this one is kind of a given, but we couldn’t help ourselves! The girls in Clueless are always dressed on point, and we love that they aren’t afraid to dress in bright and bold styles!

The Cast of Degrassi


If Cher’s wardrobe is a little out of your budget (which we reckon it most likely is), then look no further than our own “6ix-grown” characters of Degrassi. Since the show has run for so many seasons, you can take style inspiration that spans over three decades.

Harry Potter


Now, we’re not saying you should show up in a full-length cape with a wand in hand on your first day back, but we DO encourage showcasing your originality and uniqueness at school. We love that Hogwarts students look super put-together with their coordinating ties and scarfs- and you can never go wrong with a crisp white shirt.

Lizzie McGuire


Another very “throwback” character, Lizzie McGuire tackled middle school with some of our favourite outfits ever. Lizzie has a very outgoing personality, and her wardrobe choices reflected that. She’s inspired us to always look cute, fun and comfortable – no matter what sticky situation you might find yourself in!

Blair Waldorf

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For all our private school students out there, this one’s for you! The girls of Constance Billard sure knew how to take a basic uniform and make it look runway-ready. We know that different schools have different dress-codes and rules on just how far you can take the accessorizing, but if you’re in doubt you can’t go wrong with a classy hairband à-la Blair Waldorf!



Is there any better time to explore something new than during the summer? We sure don’t think so. With the typical flock of festivals, parties and weekends at the cottage you’re already probably taking part in this summer, sometimes it can be good to shake things up a little. There are tons of math/science-related attractions across the continent that we totally want to hit up before the summer ends. Check out our list of the best places to head to if you’re feeling like your brain might be getting a little blurry..


  1. MOMATH – New York City, USA

Aka the Museum of Mathematics. Yes you read that correctly. The city that never sleeps is also home to the National Museum of Mathematics, the only museum of its kind in the entire country! According to their website, MoMath “strives to enhance public understanding and perception of mathematics”. Now that’s a field trip outing we can 100% get behind.  


  1. The Science Centre – Toronto, Canada

Sometimes, we forget that Toronto is home to one of the coolest museum’s in the country. In addition to the Science Centre’s permanent displays, there’s always special exhibits and super cool IMAX movies that are worth checking out. Right now, you can catch A Beautiful Planet, (a doc that explores Earth from space and is narrated by #girlboss J-Law) and America Wild (which takes you on an experiential tour of America’s best national parks).


  1. National Air and Space Museum – Washington DC, USA

Put that physics knowledge to use and gear up for your Grade 12 Calc & Vectors course by visiting the National Air and Space Museum in DC. A part of the Smithsonian Institute, the museum boasts the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. In addition to being able to get up close and personal with spaceships, the museum also features tons of educational info on planetary science and geology. Can’t make it all the way to DC? Check out their STEM webcasts, 30-minute live webcasts you can catch that cover Science, Technology and Engineering related topics!


  1. Museum of Natural History – New York City, USA

If you’re visiting the MOMATH in NYC, then you might as well kill two birds with one stone and head to the Museum of Natural History too. If you’ve seen the Ben Stiller classic Night at the Museum, you can experience all those exhibits in IRL (but we can’t guarantee the dinosaurs will actually come alive). Between the Cosmic pathway, Ocean Life Hall and Hall of Human Origins, this is a museum you could kill some serious time in .


  1. The Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum – Ottawa, Canada

We all know by now that Food = Science. That’s why we’re suggesting this totally unique museum found in our nation’s capital. Check out the inner workings of a farm, learn about Canada’s agricultural history and the technology that’s working to create renewable energy production on farms. Current exhibitions to see include “Food Preservation: The Science You Eat” and “Taking Care of Beesness”.

Best Apps to Beat Boredom AND LEARN


Here at The Math Guru, we strongly believe that summer should be all about fun and games, but that doesn’t mean letting your brain turn to mush! That’s why we’ve compiled this list of apps you can download on your iPad/iPhone/Android/whatever the newest gadget is to keep yourself entertained and educated. From crosswords to math games, we’ve got you covered. So next time you’re looking for something to do on a quiet night or rainy day grab that screen of yours and get learning!!


Sushi Monster

This adorable and super delicious looking game helps to reinforce your math fluency using sashimi as the inspiration. We’ll take 6 pieces of california roll + 3 dragon rolls please!


Little Crossword Puzzles

Don’t have much time? Looking to kill a few minutes while you wait for your friend at Starbucks? Whatever the case is, the Little Crossword Puzzles app will keep you busy for a short period of time. The app comes with a bunch of puzzles that can be solved in under  than 5 minutes.

screen480x480Pizza Fractions

What’s better than Pizza, how about Pizza FRACTIONS. This app is perfect for kids who are being introduced to fractions, but we have a feeling some of our older students could also always use a little fractions refresher…


Sudoku Puzzle World

Sudoku Puzzle World is a super aesthetically pleasing game that’ll also get you to put your “thinking cap” on. With stunning backgrounds for each puzzle, this is probably the most calm you’ll ever feel when dealing with numbers.


Crossword: World’s Biggest

Looking for a challenge? Try the world’s “biggest” crossword puzzle! If you’re up for testing your all-around general knowledge (topics range from history to pop culture to science) then this app is for you! Download it to get access to over 300 puzzles and 7000 clues. That should definitely keep you busy for the next couple of months..

Staying SHARP and SMART During Summer


Now that school is officially OUT, you can kick back and relax- well kinda. While we totally encourage taking the summer  to wind down and recharge, it’s also a good idea to incorporate a couple of easy (and fun!) activities into your break. Check out this list below for a few suggestions on things you can do to stay sharp and smart during your vacay. 


Read, Read, Read

John Green, (a.k.a author of The Fault in Our Stars) said “Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood.” If you think that reading should only be done when your english class requires it, you might want to reconsider. Supplement your spare time in the summer with books that actually interest you. Reading (of any genre) has the capacity to exercise your brain and improve its function.


Crossword Puzzles, Sudokus, Educational Apps etc.

Between smartphones and iPads, there are endless options of apps you can download that might actually help build brain cells instead of deplete them. Rather than opening up Angry Birds or Candy Crush, stock your electronics with Sudoku apps or Crossword puzzles. In need of some recommendations? Stay tuned for our next blog post!


Make Time for Cultural Activities

Get out and explore your city! During the summer months, so many museums and galleries feature special exhibits. Browse their websites to see what’s happening, and find something that looks appealing to you. Make a point to visit one of these places on a rainy day or on a weekend. You’ll leave feeling cultured and educated!


Watch Documentaries

Documentaries are a great way to feel both educated and entertained. With Netflix, Shomi and so many other streaming services around, there is no shortage of docs you can watch right from the comfort of your couch. If you aren’t sure what’s worth your time, check out lists of film festival favourites and award show nominees for some inspiration. We’re giving a shout out to Cosmos, at 13-part documentary series that’s out of this world…literally.


Keep a Journal

You know that sick feeling in your stomach you get the first week back at school when your teacher asks you to write a paragraph and you can barely remember how to hold a pen?! Keeping a journal will prevent that!! Summer always feels like it’s over way too quickly, so make the most of it by documenting all the adventures you get up to. Not only is it a great way to remember your experiences, but also to reflect on, and appreciate them.

Math & Memes & Talk Shows, OH MY!


It’s the second week of June and we know that can only mean one of two things – you are either in the thick of exams or soooo close to the finish line you can almost taste it. There are of course a couple of you lucky ducks that are already out for the summer and (whom we are totally jealous of). Whatever your current situation, we thought we’d brighten your Thursday with some math related (but totally awesome) content.   

If you’re one of those people who thinks that math and science are reserved strictly for textbooks and classrooms, think again! We’ve scoured the internet to find you some of the most hilarious articles and videos that combine our favourite things: academics and pop culture.


  1. This article from U.K. Complex that worked out how Reddit used calculated how much money Joey owes Chandler (plus many more pop culture math problems). 

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2. These videos from Jimmy Fallon where he explains “popular mathematics”. Definitely not the most accurate source for educational resources, but we give Jimmy credit shining a spotlight on the concept of math, and giving the subject a prime time TV spot! (We’ve linked two of them below, but Jimmy’s made several of them!)


3. This math meme ft. Lady Gaga that will totally help you remember how to deal with polynomials. BEST.



4. The PBS Math Club just about knocks our socks off. This collection of Youtube videos riffs off of well-known movies to explain mathematical concepts. Videos range from a Wes Anderson style satire that explains how to multiply positive and negative numbers to a Mean Girls/Darth Vader collab that lays out adding negative numbers. We’re OBSESSED.