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Tips to improve maths mental arithmetic and times tables.


Mental arithmetic and times tables are essential skills that form the foundation of mathematical proficiency. By honing these abilities, students can enhance their problem-solving skills, numerical fluency, and overall mathematical confidence. In this blog post, we will explore effective strategies for students to practice and improve their mental arithmetic skills while emphasising the development of times tables proficiency.

Start with Times Tables:

  1. Memorise Multiplication Facts: Begin by memorising the multiplication table up to 12x12. Focus on mastering each multiplication fact individually before progressing to the next.

  2. Practice Regularly: Dedicate specific time each day to review and practice times tables. Use flashcards, online resources, or interactive apps to reinforce multiplication skills.

  3. Skip Counting: Practice skip counting by multiples (e.g., 2, 4, 6, 8, ...) to strengthen number patterns and improve multiplication fluency.

Utilise Times Tables Strategies:

  1. Commutative Property: Understand the commutative property of multiplication (e.g., 3 x 4 = 4 x 3) to quickly recall multiplication facts from different perspectives.

  2. Times Tables Tricks: Learn and employ times tables tricks, such as doubling and halving (e.g., 7 x 8 = 7 x 4 x 2), to simplify calculations and enhance mental agility.

  3. Fact Families: Explore fact families (e.g., 3 x 4 = 12, 4 x 3 = 12, 12 ÷ 3 = 4, 12 ÷ 4 = 3) to deepen understanding and promote flexible thinking with multiplication facts.

Mental Arithmetic Strategies:

  1. Estimation: Develop the skill of estimating calculations to quickly assess reasonability and simplify complex problems mentally.

  2. Number Sense: Enhance number sense by understanding the properties of numbers (e.g., even/odd, divisibility rules) to facilitate mental calculations.

  3. Break Numbers: Break numbers into smaller, more manageable components (e.g., 47 = 40 + 7) to simplify mental calculations and increase accuracy.

  4. Number Bonds: Practise and recall number bonds fluently for making 10, e.g. 6+4=10, 3+7=10, 2+8=10 etc. By using number bond knowledge you will be able to spot and calculate arithmetic problems much quicker.

Practice Regularly:

  1. Daily Exercises: Allocate a few minutes each day for mental arithmetic practice. Begin with simple calculations and gradually progress to more challenging problems.

  2. Online Resources: Explore interactive online platforms and apps that offer tailored exercises and games for mental arithmetic and times tables practice.

  3. Partner or Group Activities: Engage in mental arithmetic challenges with classmates or friends to make practice sessions enjoyable and competitive.

Real-Life Applications:

  1. Daily Situations: Apply mental arithmetic skills in everyday scenarios such as calculating grocery bills, determining discounts, or dividing items among friends.

  2. Timed Challenges: Set time-based mental arithmetic challenges for yourself or compete with others to improve speed and accuracy.

  3. Math-Based Hobbies: Engage in math-related hobbies such as puzzles, sudoku, or board games that require mental calculations and reinforce times tables skills.

Review and Reflect:

  1. Identify Weak Areas: Regularly evaluate your progress and identify specific areas where improvement is needed, both in times tables and mental arithmetic. Focus on targeted practice to enhance weaker skills.

  2. Analyse Mistakes: Review errors made during practice sessions and learn from them. Understanding mistakes helps identify problem areas and guides further practice.

Ask for help:

If you would like extra support and activities to help develop times tables and mental arithmetic, contact me.


Developing strong mental arithmetic skills and times tables proficiency is crucial for students' mathematical success. By regularly practicing times tables, utilising effective strategies, and engaging in real-life applications, students can enhance their mental agility, accuracy, and overall mathematical confidence. Embrace the power of mental arithmetic and times tables and embark on a journey to unlock your full mathematical potential.

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