Dyscalculia Test

dyscalculia-helpYes, there is a dyscalculia test!

Thousands of children, teens, and adults, go through life with a math disorder called dyscalculia. Often it goes untreated. Parents say kids are lazy. Teachers complain that they’re not trying. And friends think they’re making it up.

With their parent’s permission, students can take a dyscalculia test to determine whether they are affected by it or not.

Some signs of dyscalculia can include:

  • Difficulty keeping numbers in columns
  • Confusion with math concepts?
  • Trouble with word problems?
  • Crying while doing math homework?
  • Switching to addition while doing a subtraction problem or vice versa?
  • Forgetting addition facts and multiplication facts?
  • Failure to remember math steps?
  • Changing the sequence of numerals when copying them

Older students who have difficulties with math can bring this list to the attention of their parents and teachers and ask if the adults will consider testing for dyscalculia. We have been testing students for dyscalculia for years and find these questions very helpful in determining whether testing is needed.

Students should try to provide details instead of just “yes” or “no.” Specific examples and additional comments on how the student has been coping with the problem will help.

The school can evaluate if a student has a math disorder by comparing his abilities to his score on a math assessment. When a significant discrepancy occurs, schools will provide remediation. When a school modifies math courses to better match the student’s needs, math becomes easier. With this modification for a math disorder, students often achieve at or above the level of their peers.

The following six strategies often help right away:

  • Keep numbers in columns by turning lined paper sideways so the lines become vertical guides.
  • Cover up all columns except those being worked on.
  • Use a calculator when appropriate.
  • Circle the + , –, or other arithmetic signs before doing the computation.
  • When working on a word problem, write down the information and what you’re trying to solve for. Use whatever method works best for that task such as making a list, drawing, or underlining.
  • Stay on task when doing math problems by talking to yourself out loud if you’re alone or sub-vocalize.

Children and teens do not have to suffer low grades and poor test scores in math. Dyscalculia Testing followed by appropriate modification at school or tutoring helps.


  1. Dan R. Morris says:

    I love how you answered one of the comments on the Dyscalculia Symptoms page. That’s some excellent Dyscalculia Testing advice. (http://drlindasblog.com/dyscalculia-symptoms/)

  2. Peter Butler says:

    Hi there? I am really worried about my 12 year old daughter whom i think may have Dyscalculia. Around 2 years ago my daughters primary school teacher picked up on this and we looked into it but nothing ever happened at the school about it. Now that she is in secondary school her Maths has been highlighted as very very poor, and i feel now that i need to do something about this. Is there any help out there? Tests to determine whether my daughter is or not? Any help would be greatly appreciated, so please feel free to email me. Regards Peter.

    • You might try contacting the special education department at your daughter’s school and request that she be referred for psychological testing. This testing is able to confirm if your child has a learning difference, including dyscalculia. Most schools go through a battery of assessments before they will send students for psychological testing, however if you call the special education department you will start the process. Good luck.

    • Jonh rochanbach says:

      I’m 16 years old and the thing is that is hard learning math and I have dyscalculia and is hard to focus and remember everything they give your no matter how much work they give you or how much u concentrate you just don’t know what to do is very annoying

  3. Very informative thanks for posting 🙂

  4. i have always had a though time with math and now im taking alegebra 1 , i bearly passed last year ad its so frustrating that every one gets it except me. i want to know if i can have an assesment online and send the results to my school. i have good grades in every other class accept math , you dont know how bad it feels not knowing how to solve so called simple problems.

    • I was taking an algebra class this semester at a two year college but I just couldn’t understand it so I dropped the class I feel so bad because I need like three more math classes to graduate and it really saddens me seeing everybody get it and I sit there trying to hold tears back.

  5. @amy i so hear you friend. its so hard when even in an exam everyone is scribbling away but you are fighting tears coz you just dont get it. im the same as you except i actually failed my exam and barely passed another accounting one. i am going to continue looking for a test online.

  6. Hi I’m 19 years old and I’m from South Africa,I’m now at grade 12 with normal Maths (I need it for physical sciences), I think that I have Dyscalculia. I’ve never been good in Maths, I would describe as pathetic really, but in subjects such as physical Sciences and Computer sciences I’m at or above par, my IQ have been described as WAY above normal (most of my friends describe me as Sheldon from Big bang theory) I have already failed to pass grade 11, did it a second year and it help’t somewhat because of maths, once and in grade 10 I nearly didn’t make it, but i did, (on the verge of not making it though)
    My Sister does excellent in maths and Biology,she is 18 years old, and i usually help her in Physical Science, when she lets me,
    My parents and teachers always tell me that I’m lazy and all that, but do they really understand, no. I have been to Maths Extra classes witch didn’t help at all, so I thought to do some research and came across Dyscalculia, a few minutes of Google’ing and I found that it almost perfectly fits my self diagnosis of my Maths problem, any help would be appreciated also heard of some kind of test to diagnose Dyscalculia it would be appreciated if anyone could email it to me so i can test my self for Dyscalculia Contact me via my email : jvantonder@email.com
    At this point I really don’t know what to do, really need expert help, I like to keep an positive attitude towards life and not giving up, don’t let Dyscalculia knock you and keep you down, i”m gonna use that as my motto for the next few years
    Amy ( or what ever your real name is) try to keep a positive attitude towards daylly life, because I know how hard these “simple” problems really is is

  7. I don’t know if I have dyscalculia and its too late to test if I do or not because I am leaving school.
    I was always told I went into this ‘negative frame of mind’ during maths but I hated it. We were given these online maths homeworks and I could never do them because I find it really difficult to work out things, especially so on a screen whee I can’t underline or draw on the question a needed. I always describe it as if I am wading through custard – my mind slows and it’s incredibly frustrating, especially if I am trying to do a long question – even simple adding with more than single digits I struggle with as I’ll add up a section and then think about the other part and forget the first bit. I struggle to do my 9 year old cousins addition homework (I’m 18!) and when I can’t add something and they explain it to me I wouldn’t have even thought of their method.
    I can’t read 24 hour clock and it is really embarrassing having to count on your fingers to to simple times tables when you are a top student in everything else.

  8. Chelsea Bowall says:

    Hi ive suffered with dyscalculia since i was a little kid, im now 21 and i still cant do a great deal of maths, i was wondering how i could get tested as im struggling so much and i could do with some help

  9. My daughter thinks she may have dyscalculia. She is a sophomore in college and has just had to drop her statistics class due to the fact that she just couldn’t GET IT! I have spend hundreds of dollars back in grade school having her tutored, obviously to no avail. WHERE do you go to be tested and THEN, what can you do about it other than just using varying methods for focus?? HEELLLPPP

    • Dr. Linda Silbert says:

      First your daughter needs to speak to the person at her college who oversees the academic counseling or tutoring program. If she needs statistics for her major, obviously she’ll want to get help. If she doesn’t need it for her major, she may just want to skip it. Keep in mind that it is common for students, even those who do not have dyscalculia, to struggle with statistics and to drop the class. She’s not alone. For online resources, you can check out a site for Math Learning Resources at http://www.dyscalculia.org/ If she needs statistics for her major, obviously she’ll want to get help.

  10. Hi, I’m a 13 year old in the 8th grade, and me and my family have been wondering for a while if I might have a learning disability. I have always had trouble with numbers, and sometimes letters. At first we thought I had dyslexia, but the only problem I have with letters is spelling. Also dyslexia didn’t cover all the rest of my systems. I constantly read and write numbers out of order. My math testing grades for a single unit is fine. But when we have to take a test on more than three concepts, I can’t remember anything. I end up not passing. Because I fail those final state wide tests, I have been put in countless extra help classes. They seem to work for a little while, but just like any other class, I end up forgetting everything. When I heard about dyscalculia I thought immediately that that’s what I have. But I don’t know for sure, I’ve never been tested for anything. I would really like to know for sure, but I don’t know how. I recently found out that I have to go to another extra help class. But I don’t know if they can help. If you know how I can find out, or If you think I may have dyscalculia based on my systems, please e-mail me at: ubbooparty23@gmail.com

    • Hi Julianna,

      First have your parents ask your teacher or counselor at your school if they can give you the test for dyscalculia. It would also be a good idea to explain to the teacher in your “extra-help” class exactly what you don’t understand and what you think might be the problem.

  11. I suspect my 14 year old daughter has dysalculia. She has always struggled with math but got by with the help of a tutor in grade school. This year (grade 9) a tutor did not even help. It almost seems like it complicated matters as the tutor was teaching differently that her school teacher was. No matter how much she studies and receives special tutoring help, all recall is gone the next day. We’ve asked for years if there was some underlying disability but have always been told that she is above average in reading so not to worry and one day the light bulb will turn on. Last year she forgot how to snowboard after 6 years. Turns out she all of a sudden was boarding with left foot forward instead of right. Friends make fun of her because she has no idea how to direct a ride home to her house and she has no concept of time. I think we might finally be on to something but her school guidance said there is no specific testing for a math disability and just keep plugging along with help of a tutor and summer school. She is gifted with music and writing but the failure in math has completely damaged her confidence and self esteem so badly that she has given up on her passions.
    I just found a new tutor who specializes in creative math and music in hopes of tapping in to her creative side. He however is unaware of a specify test to diagnose this. I like his approach and wonder if he would have the resources necessary to help her. We are in Canada in Toronto area. Is there somewhere we can get her tested?

    • Hi Lisa,

      I do not know of specific resources available in Toronto. However, I recommend that you look for an educational counselor or math tutor who can administer a test for dyscalculia. And keep looking for a tutor who understands how your daughter is being taught. There’s no point in having a tutor who isn’t following what the school follows. That only makes matters worse.

  12. Dear Dr. Linda Silbert,

    I am a master degree student, and currently doing my independent study. It focuses on factors that influence students’ performance in mathematics. And I enlisted Dyscalculia as one of the factors.

    Can I use the list of signs of Dyscalculia you enumerated on my survey questionnaires?

    Thank You.



  13. Hello Dr. Silbert
    , I am adult who was diagnosed in my 40s with adj
    ADHD, and non specific learning disabilities I was an honor student in high school and college but struggled with organizational skills, math, and things which had to be specifically memorized. My verbal skills are good, and I can learn math..just had trouble with keeping processes strait and with transposing numbers, handling, sorting, filing and keeping up with things. I had trouble learning dance steps, exercise routines, spatial problems, logic…can’t do things in my head…have to see them on paper. I have a masters degree and license as a counselor. Is there any help available? I do we’ll in structured jobs with efficient clerical help…but in jobs where I am expected to do those things or in private practice, I struggle.

    • Dr. Linda Silbert says:

      I would suggest looking for a counseling job in a situation that provides clerical help since these are the jobs you excel in. You can also look for an ADHD counselor in your area who works with adults.

  14. Lisa Anderson says:

    Respectfully, I believe you are not listing the “symptoms” of Dyscalculia correctly. Here are different, levels of dyscalculia, also. Dysgraphia often is seen with dyscalculia. My son is a Junior in college and has dyscalculia. We fought for accommodations and received them. You make it sound like it I just similar to problems with with math and can B easily corrected. I am an advocate, and my son and I are here to help. Thank you so much for your time!

  15. I’m 21 now and graduated from high school. I have major problems in all of the areas listed above for it. I’ve decided to get tested for it. I never knew that there was such a thing as Dyscalculia before I got halfway through twelfth grade. No one in my family or school believed me when I said that I couldn’t do math. I would start doing my homework that consisted of 30 math problems at 4 in the afternoon and couldn’t finish it by 3 in the morning. I could barely get 15 problems done. My 12th grade math teacher was the one who thought that I might have it but my school wouldn’t test me for it because they don’t think that it exists. Is there a way that you would recommend that I can make them more aware of the problem?

    • Hi Nichole, I’m sorry you had such problems with math in school. You’re not alone. It happens to lots of kids. The good news is that you did graduate from high school. If you did get those math problems done, even slowly, it’s quite possible you don’t have dyscalculia. If you want to let people know about it it, you can send them to articles and dyscalculia associations on the internet.

  16. Shannon says:

    I just finished my first year of college. Math had always been and extreme difficultly for me and I have had very low grades in math and applied math. I got tested by the school psychologist and I have math anxiety disorder. I also have very high reading, writing and analyzing skills. I looked at the symptoms of dyscalculia and I strongly think I have it but I’m not sure what to do about it. How to get help and how to help myself.

  17. Hi,
    I am an adult who thinks she has dyscalulia. My dream was to become a veterinarian but I could never get through Algebra. 5x with nothing higher than a D. Tutors, lab nothing helped. Then I found my calling in teaching. But I am limited to the primary grades because I can’t grasp certain concepts of the curriculumn. I now have a Reading position working with students with lower reading levels. ESE, dyslexic, speech impaired. I would like to evaluate myself online for thus LD as I can’t pay for testing at this moment any suggestions?

    • I don’t know of any accurate tests online to diagnose dyscalculia. If you enjoy your teaching position, I wouldn’t worry about it. Just know that you are doing a great service by teaching students who struggle with reading.

  18. I am an 8th grade middle schooler and Just by reading a billion website on this disability i know i have it.I haven’t talked to my parents yet because I know they wont believe me.They think that i just need to try harder even though it do.My grades are b-C’s but my math is a D-.I ask my teacher and i understand it but i forget what he teaches the second he stops teaching.Do i have it?

    • I can’t tell by just reading your question whether you have a learning disability or not. Talk to your teacher. If he isn’t helpful, talk to your school counselor. You’ll need to be tested in order to be eligible for special services.

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