5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Math Skills

Posted by geek

I am never surprised with the reply which I receive from my students when I ask them the question, ''Which is that one subject which all of you (or most of you) find difficult to understand?".It don't even take them seconds to answer it and the answer which I receive from them is often, Mathematics."Sir I find it very tough!","Sir I am very confused with solving equations!","Sir I tend to make a lot of silly calculation mistakes!".These are some of the common remarks which I hear from my students when I ask them about the subject.But I have always thought math to be an interesting subject rather than tough or confusing.It is the way that mathematics is taught across all the schools is what makes it tough to understand.It is responsibility of the teachers to teach mathematics the easy way.Why not make math fun to learn? You can improve your mental math skills even while playing some fun games.If that is not enough there are many interactive apps available online these days which help you to grasp mathematical concept easily.There are many ways to improve mental calculation ability by teaching mathematics the fun way.Some of them are mentioned below:

How To Practice Your Mental Math Skills Using Different Activities

1) Online Math Tutoring:Whether you are going to appear for any competitive exam and need to sharpen your quantitative calculations skill, or whether you want to improve your approximation techniques so that you can easily guess the correct answer in minimal time, or you just want to improve your mental calculation skills, there is all you ever wanted to do and you can do it online.Thanks to the ever increasing online tutoring services which allows you to learn math and clear your doubts online.Some of them are free while for others, you need to pay a certain fee for their service.The best in free category for me is Khan Academy.It is completely free and whether you are a 3rd grade student or a 8th grade student you can study math online by watching thousands of videos at your disposal.Whether you want to study equations,percentages,fractions,probability,permutation and combination or any lesson from geometry or algebra, you can find it all here and its free.If you are interested in a paid online math tutoring service you can definitely choose Maths Whizz.It is definitely worth it and you can also get a free trial there.So join Maths Whizz, get a free trial and test it for yourself.

How these online math coaching works? In these services all the lessons are recorded as classroom lectures in video format and then they are uploaded to the website and as a student you can access these videos anytime you like.Now what if you are facing a problem or need clarification on something? For that, they have a very active forum, you can post your doubts on these forum and someone will get back to you.This is generally how online math tutoring works.But as I said before that some of these online math tutoring services are free while some of them are paid ones.As I am only discussing about the free ones, therefore I would strongly recommend Khan Academy Online Math Tutoring.I have found their service to be very helpful.

2) Math Game Apps: Now the second way to improve your mental math skills is through mobile math game apps.These games is available for all different graders.You can get all the way from 3rd graders games to primary math games.Lots of math school games are also available in these online play stores.Most of them are free as well.These games are available to you on both Android and Apple Platform, you can download them from Google Play Store or Apple iTunes App Store.I personally have found Math Workout and Nutty Numbers to be really helpful in improving general mental math ability to perform quick calculation.If you download and use Math Workout game then I would advise you to use it in "Brain Cruncher" mode as it will require you to exercise and stimulate your brain more than the regular mode.Besides, if you think that you are good in mental calculation and just want to practice and test your basic calculation skills then consider downloading Nutty Numbers as it contains multiple choice questions and will test your guessing skills.Note that you might think that these math games are too basic in nature and is for kids only, but believe me, play with them for sometime and you will notice an improvement in your mental math skills.Math is all about practice, the more you practice, the better you will become.Personally I think that nothing stimulate our brain better than quick fire addition,subtraction,multiplication and division practice and that too when performed mentally.

I am a big fan of game based learning and I have seen vast improvement in my students when taught a lesson through a game.They grasp it quickly and retain it for a longer time.This is my personal experience and that is why I always recommend teaching through games, whenever possible.

3) Math Puzzles, Worksheets and Sudoku: If you as a teacher would ask me, how to teach mathematics to

kids and homeschoolers then I would answer that do it using math puzzles and worksheets.Nothing interests kids more than puzzles.Not only kids, even for grown ups, the most interesting way to practice mental math skills you have learnt is through solving math puzzle.What can be more interesting than solving puzzles,sudoku's,brain teasers etc.Now since we are discussing about puzzles,lets try this puzzle:

Six lions catch six deer's in six minutes.

How many lions will be needed to catch sixty deer's in sixty minutes?

Take your time and think about it.Obvious answer isn't always the right answer.

Well if you have already solved it, the correct answer is six.

Now questions like this stimulate our brain and train it to think mathematically.Brain teasers like this helps in improving mental math skills.So spend some time daily solving this kind of mathematical puzzles.

4) Mental Maths Books and Google: There are ample number of mental math trick out there waiting to be discovered.Now if you master these simple tricks, you can perform calculations which otherwise would take some minutes to perform.Lets discuss one such example below:

How much is 43*11?

Now if you go on multiplying by conventional method, it would take you around 30-40 seconds to get the answer and that too if you are very good at multiplication and do not make any silly calculation mistake.Now what if I would tell you that such kind of calculations can be performed in 5 seconds max and that too mentally, without touching pen and paper.

You would be amazed, wouldn't you?

Lets see how, just imagine there is a space between 43 i.e. 4(space)3.

Now what to put in that empty space?

Simple, sum of 4 and 3 i.e. 7. That's it!

So your answer is 473, yes, 43*11=473.

You can verify the answer manually.

Similarly compute 25*11,36*11,72*11 etc. and the answer will be 275,396,792 respectively.

Now tell, do you need pen and paper if you wish to multiply a number by 11.I don't think so.

This is just one of the many mental math trick, I discussed with you.You can find a few more tricks here.But if you want the complete collection of mental math tricks then you will need to purchase various mental maths books available online.

But if you do not wish to spend money on mental math books then you will need to do it the hard way, i.e. search for individual mental math tricks on Google. There are numerous excellent posts related to this subject available online for free.You can manually visit each of those websites and blogs and check them out.Google is your friend in this case.Another source of nice mental math and vedic math tricks is Youtube.So make sure to check few of the Youtube videos related to this subject.You will find many interesting videos on this subject as well.I have come across one such video and am sharing it with you below:

5) Practice makes a man perfect: No matter how many mental calculation tricks you find, but in the end you will need to practice them in order to master them.Math is all about practice.The more you practice the more comfortable you become with the subject.

According to me, the best way to practice math is to play mental quiz with your self.For example when you
are sitting idle and getting bored, ask yourself a a few maths questions and try to solve them mentally.For example ask yourself how much is 13*29 or how much is 2399+8219 and try to calculate the answer in your mind i.e. without any pen or paper or calculator.Now recall the tricks which you have learned from mental math books(or from various websites/blogs) and try to make use of them to solve the problem.See whether those tricks could be of any help to you or not.Keep practcing in such a way.When you go about practicing mental math in such a way, your brain gets accustomed to it and will act efficiently when you come across such problems in competitive exams or in any other practical field.I have seen this technique work with many of my students and there is no reason that it will not work for you.After following this technique for about a month, my students have improved considerably when asked to perform mental computations.

So make use of this math practice technique and see the improvement in your mental math skills.

It has been quite a long post, thanks for reading it till the end.I believe that if you employ these 5 techniques in your everyday life you will see a considerable improvement in your mental math skills.

Keep Practicing Math, Keep Getting Better.

Thanks You.


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