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Anyone know how we can improve our mental math skills?

  1. Oct 11, 2008 #1
    The other day I decided to calculate 1.225 x 36 in my head (this was a calculation in one of my problem sets) and I found that it took me a lot longer than I originally thought. So I was wondering if there was any sort of strategy to gradually improve this skill.

    Here's a strategy I am beginning to use:
    Before I go to sleep, I come up with with 7 problems (written down) to do in my head (simple ones like 23 + 43 and 346 - 987) and then check the answers with a basic calculator. Then, with my eyes closed, I do one hard problem (e.g. 3423 x 1490) so I can actually fall asleep. I've gotten considerably better with only a few weeks of doing this. But are there other strategies? Thanks.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 11, 2008 #2


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    if you want more responses, judging by the other brilliant threads here you need to call this something like, how do we improve our math skills and learn what women are thinking?
  4. Oct 11, 2008 #3


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    And what to wear when we do all these mental calisthenics.
  5. Oct 11, 2008 #4
    The only mental math I do is rough estimation, and I've gotten pretty good at it I think. It just takes practice and knowing how to approximate certain numbers and how to correct for that approximation.

    But exact mental arithmetic? No way. I have better things to do.
  6. Oct 12, 2008 #5
    If you are really serious about mental calculation, check out these kids (watch through at least 1:25-1:40).

    They have trained so much with an abacus, that they can take away the abacus and do fast calculations via muscle memory by moving their hands on an imaginary abacus in the air.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. Oct 12, 2008 #6


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    What to wear is pretty obvious. We should wear math shirts.
  8. Oct 12, 2008 #7
    Usually, when I do these calculations in my head (such as 1.225 x 36) I break the calculation up into many simple approximate calculations. I'll break it up as 1x36 + 0.250x36 = 45. Not a bad approximation to 44.1. But then again, I reckon most people do this.
  9. Oct 12, 2008 #8
    Dunno about making it better, maybe just faster, but check out Vedic math. It's really cool, I've just never taken the time to learn to use it. I think www.vedicmaths.org works but I'm not sure...
  10. Oct 12, 2008 #9
    If you're really feeling diligent about this, here's a website I found a while ago:

    The Shortest Short-Cut
    It's complicated, but it looks kind of cool.
  11. Oct 12, 2008 #10
    Dunno, I heard this was a scam
  12. Oct 12, 2008 #11
    It's not, try it out, its pretty cool.
  13. Oct 22, 2008 #12
    I can say that I'm not an expert, all I need to do for improvements is practice, practice and practice. Always challenge yourself and learn from it.
  14. Oct 22, 2008 #13


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    Haha, that's true.

    If you want to do that, read a psychology article before bed. And just before bed, look up an assignment question, and go to bed. Solve that question in your head while in bed with your eyes closed.

    Kind of what I do. :uhh:
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