Editor's note: Michael Erwin is the Dean of Curriculum and Publishing at Grantham University.

Math anxiety is a very common response to taking a math course after a long break. It is a type of fear.

Sometimes fear is merely the dread of some unknown that lurks out there. The anxiety, fear or blocking behavior you may have with math may not be primarily due to math, but with test taking in general. Although these reactions emerge in your math class or on a math test, they may not be caused by math itself.

Some students have a deep-seated fear of taking tests and working with math in general due to a bad experience with a math class in high school.

Good news for students enrolled in online degree programs: There is hope.

It is important to remember that math is just another general education course. You don't have to dread that math course you have to take as a prerequisite anymore. Here are six steps to help overcome a fear of math:

1. Utilize online resources.

The Khan Academy is one such resource. The Khan academy has a library of more than 2,700 videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance and history, and 255 practice exercises, all in video form. These examples can be valuable tools on the road to overcoming a fear of math and to comprehending these concepts faster and retaining them longer. The Khan Academy's resources are available to any student free of charge. Utilize this valuable tool as a preparation of sorts before getting started in your college math course.

2. Have a positive attitude.

A positive attitude brings optimism into your life, and makes it easier to avoid worry and negative thinking. With a positive attitude you see the bright side of life, become optimistic and expect the best. It is certainly a state of mind that is well worth developing.

3. Ask questions.

When taking math courses, it is important to be determined to understand the curriculum. Take advantage of the fabulous faculty you have at your fingertips. Don't settle for anything less during instruction. Ask for clear illustrations and/or demonstrations or simulations of the content and stay on it until you feel comfortable to move on.

4. Practice regularly, especially when you're having difficulty.  

Math is made up of processes and procedures and when a bit of practice is done every day, the processes become very clear.  In many ways it is like cooking. We have to add the right ingredients at the right time in the right sequence and we can create something delicious with a bit of practice.

5. Utilize a tutor.

When total understanding escapes you, utilize a tutor or work with fellow students that understand the course content. For example, Grantham University has tutors available in the Student Advising and Learning Center (SALC) to support you in your education.

6. Don't just read your notes over and over.

Practice the math problem and make sure you understand the procedures and truly feel comfortable solving the question.

If you follow these six simple tips, math can actually be fun and entertaining.

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