In this research, we examined how 200 students in seventh grade (around 12 years old) solved simple addition problems. A cluster approach revealed that less than half of the cohort displayed proficiency with simple addition: 35% predominantly used min-counting and were accurate, and 16% frequently made min-counting errors. Students who frequently used min-counting for simple addition, regardless of accuracy, showed lower achievement in mathematics compared to students who relied on accurate retrieval-based strategies. The findings indicate that for many students at this stage of schooling, performance is characterized by accurate min-counting, which is suggestive of a lack of confidence with retrieval. Further, this pattern of performance appears to be more prominent among girls. Confidence with retrieval may be impeding strategy development and hindering learning. The role of confidence in retrieval development needs to be better understood and possibilities for further research are discussed.