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Why Do Asians Excel In Math

It’s not just a stereotype–Asians do seem to excel in math! From ancient times to the modern day, Asians have proven themselves as leaders and innovators in mathematics and the sciences. But what makes them so good at math?

In this article, we’ll explore the various cultural factors, educational resources, and personal traits that likely contribute to Asian proficiency in math.

The Benefits of a Formal Education System

Asian countries often tend to feature an education system that heavily emphasizes mathematics and science from the earliest stages. In countries like Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, this emphasis begins as early as elementary school and quickly progresses in complexity.

This allows students to develop a deep understanding of the more intricate topics in mathematics that Americans often don’t begin to learn until college. Being exposed to tough math problems at a young age also allows students to exceed the expectations of their American peers in terms of confidence and mathematical acuity. With their early exposure to complex concepts and mentors, many Asian students have the benefit of tackling challenges they thought they couldn’t well before they enter university.

Many Asian countries also boast more effective study habits. East Asians particularly are known for their talent in rote memorization. They also practice and prepare for exams much more intensely than their American counterparts do, spending more hours studying rather than focusing on having fun and being kids.

The Socialization of Math in Asian Culture

For many Asians, math is more than just a subject, it’s a phenomenon! Math has been ingrained in Asian culture since ancient times, and is often seen as a mark of achievement and respect.

Therefore, the socialization of math in Asian countries is often different than in western countries. Math becomes more than just a tiring subject in school, but a symbol of intelligence and a challenge. This means that math becomes something to be proud of, rather than a pesky hurdle adolescents have to cross to live up to expectations.

Many times, Asians also have more interaction with math when meeting their family and relatives, who often discuss and acknowledge the demands of mathematics. Math is also highly esteemed in many Asian countries by the government and the people alike.

For the cultures where success is highly praised, many students will strive to excel in math, dedicating time and effort to math practice, rather than letting it take a backseat to other activities.

Confidence and Aptitude for Math

East Asians often display a self-confidence when it comes to math that can be chalked up to their daily exposure and cultural norms. They may be more confident that they can complete a problem, even if they don’t have all of the information. Asian students view math as more of a puzzle to be solved rather than a test that needs to be right or wrong.

And in some cases, they may not have fixed opinions or beliefs that could prevent them from changing their approach if the answer doesn’t come easily. This self-confidence is also likely due to Asian culture’s emphasis on discipline, hard work and perseverance.

These qualities help to keep Asian students focused on math problems and willing to put in the amount of effort necessary to solve them. Asian cultures also consider math important for a career.

Math can mean the difference between being a respected scientist or engineer and being an average employee. Math is perceived as a tool that can help to advance one’s career and social standing – in some countries math is often used to land a job!

The Advantage of Parental Support

Parents in Asian countries often play an active role in the mathematical upbringing of their children. They may encourage and support their children’s education, often teaching the basics themselves, or working to make sure their kids have the necessary resources to succeeding in school. Having a supportive parent often helps to increase the child’s confidence, self-discipline, and motivates them to strive for excellence.

Parents often provide outside resources such as tutors, math books, and problem sets. In extreme cases, parents may even require their children to major in math-related fields such as engineering or science.

Asian parents also often emphasize the importance of academic excellence and hard work, rewarding their children for their accomplishments with unique presents or luxurious dinners. This may create an environment where success is touted and excelling in math is a regular expectation.

A Passion for Math and Learning

The final factor that helps Asian students excel in math is their passion for the subject. Some Asian students’ passion for mathematics is on par with their passion for the arts. Those with this deep passion often prefer individualized learning, choosing to practice on their own and develop their problem-solving ability and persevere in pursuit of their goals.

Asian students have also been found to be more open to collaboration and teamwork. They understand that by working with peers, they can develop a more efficient understanding of the material and gain more confidence in math.

This collaboration also encourages them to think more deeply and to share logically supported answers with their peers. The combination of parental support, undeniable passion, and a strong cultural emphasis on mathematics results in dedicated students who are willing to put in large amounts of effort and practice in order to acquire a deep understanding of mathematics.


There are several factors that contribute to Asian excellence in mathematics. They may have a better education system with more rigorous curriculum, support from their parents, and a passion for the subject.

But it all comes down to hard work and dedication, which many Asian students know is the key to success. With their strong work ethic and cultural values, Asian students are able to achieve greater heights in mathematics and use their knowledge to help shape the world we live in.

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