Mental Math Tricks

Published on Thursday, January 03, 2008 in , , , ,

calculatorFirst, a quick thank you to Rick Carruth and his Magic Roadshow newsletter for prominently mentioning Grey Matters in their recent newsletter! As Rick suggests, explore the site! The tabs at the top and the rightmost column, both featured on almost every page, are the best places to start exploring it.

One way to set yourself apart, whether in performance or in real life, is to be able to do math quickly in your head. While I've posted on this topic numerous times before, the increasing popularity of mental math methods has lead me to post an update.

Over at the list universe, one post that has copied on numerous blogs is 10 Easy Arithmetic Tricks (Hat tip to lifehacker for helping me locate the original). Here, you can learn how to quickly square certain numbers, multiply, subtract and even work wither percentages! I'm linking to the original, as opposed to simply re-posting it, because there are more hidden gems of mental math in the comments that follow.

If you're looking for shortcuts that are a little more useful in daily life, Mental Math Shortcuts show you quick tricks for time, distance, money and general tricks that come in handy. The BetterExplained blog, as a matter of fact, has a great series of math posts. This blog is also the source of the impressive Instacalc calculator that I first mentioned and embedded in my Geek Logik post.

If those first two posts have whetted your appetite for mental math, how about complete courses in mental math? Mental Math Master offers a complete set of free tutorials, many of which include practice exercises, that cover all the math basics.

The most extensive list of shortcuts for particular situations that you're ever likely to see, though, is BEATCALC ("Beat The Calculator"). BEATCALC is constantly expanding, and currently features 600 shortcuts! This site works best as a compliment to other courses, such as Mental Math Master. Once you understand basic approaches to mental math and have an idea of why they work, the shortcuts on BEATCALC become easy to understand, and you can even start developing your own!

Naturally, you can find plenty of information about mental math here on Grey Matters. Look through the math category of this blog and the technique category of the video blog, as well as the Mental Gym for starters. The Grey Matters store features many books on math and mathemagic that are helpful, too.

The real key to success of mental math is practice! Besides the workout section of the Mental Gym, you can also test your skills at the University of Saskatchewan's mental math drills.

Even if you don't learn all the approaches, just getting a few of the skills mastered can be a big boost to your education and self-esteem. Explore these pages and have fun!

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1 Response to Mental Math Tricks

8:37 AM

Hi Scott, this is Kalid from betterexplained/instacalc, thanks a bunch for the mention! I'm glad you're finding the sites useful, I'm hoping to keep improving them over time.

This is a useful set of resources, I'm always looking for ways to get a mental workout :).