Did you know that using mental math is connected to better emotional health? This indicates that math and other brain training techniques can help mitigate depression and anxiety!
What is mental math, though? Mental math is the ability to do computations in your head, without a calculator. Many people think mental math is an innate skill. However, you can actually learn how to get better at mental math.
While the links between mental math and emotional health are still being explored, the benefits of mental math are beyond debate. Adept mental math skills mean faster computations. The less time you spend on the numbers, the quicker your work or homework goes!
Developing this skill is worth a little time and effort because it will save you both in the long run. Plus, who doesn’t want to look like a math whiz? So if you’re looking for techniques for improving your math skills, read on!
1. Work in 10s
By rounding up numbers to the 10s, it’s much easier to add and subtract. By taking away the extraneous numbers and saving them for later, you can add or subtract the larger numbers before working with the smaller numbers again.
For example, if you’re trying to add 39 and 28, you would round them to 40 and 30 respectively. In rounding them, you’ve increased them by a total of 3, 2 for the 28 and 1 for the 39.
Then, you add the two rounded numbers 40 and 30 for a total of 70. Then subtract the amount you rounded. In this case, that’s 3, so your total is 67.
2. Break the Problem Up
When working with larger numbers, treat each place as a separate problem to avoid getting confused. For example, if you’re adding 621 + 374, work with the hundreds, tens, and ones places individually.
In this case, the hundreds place is 600 + 300 = 900. The tens place is 20 + 70 = 90, and the ones place is 1 + 4 = 5. This makes a total of 995.
3. Working With Fractions
When working with fractions, some memorization is unavoidable. Luckily, you probably know the important ones already. Some examples are:
- 1/4 = 0.25
- 1/2 = 0.5
- 1/3 = 0.333
You can use these simple fractions to work with larger fractions.
For example, if you’re trying to calculate 5/6, you know that 1/6 is 0.166. 2/6 is equal to 1/3, which you also know is 0.333. This means that 4/6 is twice that, so 0.666.
Then you can add 1/6 and 4/6: 0.166 + 0.666 = 0.833.
If you’re ever having trouble working with fractions, you can use a ratio calculator. A ratio calculator will make it easier to reduce fractions and work with proportions.
When working with percents, you can use the decimal to help you out. For example, 10% is the decimal moved back one place. So for 30, 10% is 3.0.
Using this, you can calculate larger percentages. Double 10% to get 20%. In this case, 6.0.
You can also calculate smaller percentages. Divide 10% by 2 to get 5%. In this case, 1.5.
Then you can add the two, and get 25%, in this case, 7.5!
5. Simplify Multiplication
By converting a few multiplication problems, you can simplify them. This might look like more steps, but it makes the calculation much easier.
To multiply by 5, you can multiply the number by 10, then divide by 2.
To multiply by 4, you can multiply by 2 and then multiply by 2 again.
For higher powers, like 8 and 16, or 15 and 20, you can keep doubling the results!
How to Get Better at Mental Math? Practice!
You’ll find that all the best ways to improve your mental math skills boil down to practice. Hopefully, these tips will have given you some ideas for how to get better at mental math. All that’s left for you to do is apply them, and watch your mental math abilities improve exponentially!
If you’re looking for more advice like this, check out our block for more!