There are lots of myths surrounding mathematics and one of them is that you wake up one day with an inbuilt ability to do maths which is fixed and can never be changed. If you look around the world, then there are big differences in how countries perform when it comes to maths. This shows that there are lots of factors at play including culture, teaching methods and also the amount of work put in by students. (The Pisa world rankings for maths are currently topped by parts of China.) Let’s consider an analogy with athletics; more specifically, with the high jump.