Extracting Square Roots in your head

In summary, there are a few methods for extracting square roots in your head. One method is to think of the number in scientific notation and use the first two digits as a starting point. Another method is to use approximations and decrease the margin of error with each step. Newton's method can also be used, but it requires dividing large numbers. Ultimately, the best method may vary depending on the level of accuracy needed and the individual's personal preference.
  • #1
What are some good quick ways to Extract Square Roots in your head.
I'm looking for a method that is very prescice and easy
thanks, hopefully somebody helps me out
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  • #2
All right. I myself am searching for another method, but this is far by the easiest...and the best.

Let me tell you the limitations well in advance:
  • This method only works for perfect squares.
  • You can calculate square roots of numbers upto 4 digits.
Let us take the number 9604.

It is obvious that the square root will have two digits. Let me make it easy to remember: the root of 3 and 4-digit numbers is always in 2 digits, while the root 2-digit numbers is always a single digit number.

The first two digits of 9604 are 96. Which number's square, from 0 to 9, makes 96, or anything atleast close to it? 9, of course (as 9 times 9 equals 81). So the first digit of the root is 9.

Now, what is the last digit of our number? 4. Which numbers square from 0 to 9 ends in 4? It is 8 and 2 (as 8*8=64 and 2*2=4). So these are our second digits of our root. The results we get are 98 and 92 for the root.

Now we square anyone number to see if it is the right root. If the number you square, as in this case, does not produce 9604, the other number is the correct root, i.e. 98.

As a final note, remember, if the number has three digits, add a zero behind it before you compute it. For example, 961 becomes 0961. This is done so that you take the first two digits of 3-digit numbers, as in the case with the example I just provided, as 09, instead of 96.
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  • #3
alright say i have 879,683,891,711. That is a 12 digit number. Think of this number as 87 with 10 digits after it. Or if you want to be more precise think of it at 88 with 10 digits after it becuase you can say that 87.9 is approx. 88. The integer square root of 88 is 9x9. But you want to get it correct to some more decimals.

So let's go through another guess which is 9.5. the .5 multiplies by 9 twice, as well as .5. so 9.5 x 9.5 = 9x9 +0.5x9 + 0.5x9 + 0.5x0.5. .5 x 9 twice is 9. so we are already at 81+9 which is 90. that's no good it too high. So now my guess would be that it is 9.38 or something ilke that. But since we have a 12 digit number, we have to shift 9.38 (12-2)/2 digits over. Which is 5. So my guess would be that it is 938000 is the root.

And i haven't checked but i can tell you for sure that my answer is friggen close.

  • #4
Dacruick's method is pretty straightforward and widely applicable. Here's a noteworthy comment:

When Dac' put the long radicand into scientific notation (when he said "Think of this number as 87 with 10 digits after it") he made sure to place the decimal somewhere that would provide an even number of "digits after it". IE 88X10^10 rather than 8.8x10^11.

The trick wouldn't have worked otherwise.
  • #5
The method I use is actually quite similar

While dacruick's method is good, it still relies too much on guessing. Instead of guessing, you could try to actually approximate it better

First of all, as einsteinoid said, it depends on whether the number has an even number of digits or not.

Example: 328: taking 32 would yield 5 as the first digit, and that's not even close to the real answer. So it depends on whether the number of digits is even or odd.

In fact, what you're supposed to do is to write the number in a form p x 100^k, with k an integer. By decreasing k, u gain accuracy.

So you want to calculate the square root of 879,683,891,711. This number can be written as

87.9683891711 x 100^5

The first perfect square below 87 is 81, so our first digit must be 9. Hence the root of this number will be at least:

9 x 10^5

For the second digit, we rewrite the number to:

8796.83891711 x 100^4

Now we know that the square root of this number is supposed to lie between 90x10^4 and 100x10^4
Furthermore, we also know the difference between 90² and 91² equals to 90+91. Same goes for 91² and 92², the difference between them is 91+92. So for numbers between 90² and 100², we can say that the difference between them and 90² is about 180*(x-90). The difference between 8796 and 8100 is about 700, so we could fit 180 3 times in it. (Care has to be taken when it seems to fit almost exactly, in that case we cannot make the approximation that the difference between squares remains constant in the interval). So the next digit must be 3.

93^2 yields (100x86+49) = 8649. Therefore, the root must be at least

93 x 10^4

For the next digit, again we rewrite the number, now looking at the first 6 digits:

879683.891711 x 100^3

This lies between 930² and 940². The difference between squares between 930² and 940² is approximately 1860. Thus we have:

879683 - 864900 = about 14800. 8x1860 is just a little higher then 14800, so the next digit must be a 7.

937² gives (1000x874+63^2) = 874000 + 7600/2 + 169 = 877969

So our solution will lie between 937x10^3 (note it's 10^3, not 100^3) and 398x10^3. If your mind can still handle it, you could try and do the next digit.

As you can see, the longer you repeat this, the closer you will get to the real root.

Edit: When looking for the third digit, 8x1860 seemed quite close to 14800, so what happens if u do make the wrong assumption? What if I assumed it was about 15000 and
took 8 as the next digit?

938² would give me 1000x876+62^2 = 876000+7400/2 + 144 = 879844 > 879683, so we would have to lower it to 7.
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  • #7
Ahh, Newton's method is pretty cool!
  • #8
Depends how accurate you want to be and what is the purpose.

Usually crude estimates are good enough.

1. How do you extract square roots in your head?

There are multiple methods for extracting square roots in your head, but one common approach is known as the "long division method." Essentially, you divide the number you want to find the square root of into smaller parts, and then use basic multiplication and subtraction to find the answer. Some people also use estimation and approximation techniques to simplify the process.

2. Is it difficult to extract square roots in your head?

This depends on the individual's math skills and familiarity with square roots. For some people, it may come easily, while others may struggle with the calculations. With practice and understanding of the underlying principles, extracting square roots in your head can become easier over time.

3. Do you need to use a calculator to extract square roots?

No, it is possible to extract square roots in your head without using a calculator. However, for larger numbers or more complex square roots, a calculator may be helpful to double-check your answer or speed up the process.

4. Can extracting square roots in your head be used in real-life situations?

Yes, being able to quickly and accurately extract square roots in your head can be useful in various situations, such as calculating areas of squares or finding the side lengths of a right triangle. It can also be a helpful skill to have in everyday life, such as when shopping and calculating discounts or tip amounts.

5. What is the benefit of being able to extract square roots in your head?

One of the main benefits of being able to extract square roots in your head is that it can improve your mental math skills and make you more efficient in solving math problems. It can also help you better understand the concept of square roots and the relationship between numbers and their square roots.

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