Mental Maths : How to Improve it

June 12, 2020

Reading Time: 5 minutes

There are times when we have to do instant calculations. For example, suppose you go to a shop to buy a T-shirt which offers you a 10% discount. It is obvious that you won't have a pen and a paper to perform your calculations about what is the final price that you have to pay. These are times when you have to calculate really fast and that too without any resources. Only your brain can help you during such times. Therefore, it is very important for everyone to develop certain specific tricks for mental maths for moments like these.


What is mental maths?

As the name suggests, mental maths refers to a group of skills that allows people to do calculations “in their head” without the use of calculators or other resources. Mental maths is useful in everyday life to answer different questions like:

  • What is the final selling price of a particular item?

  • What is the correct amount of change that I am supposed to receive from the cashier?

  • What time to leave in order to reach a particular place on time?

Importance of Developing Mental Maths Skills

As kids, it is easy to understand and develop these tricks for mental maths. It is very important to develop these skills because:-

  • It helps students to understand the basic and the higher-level mathematics concept in a better way.

  • Using and doing a mental maths practice on a regular basis helps a child to improve his/her sense of numbers. For example, which is a better deal? Buying a box of 12 chocolate for Rs.100 or buying a bar of individual chocolate for Rs. 10.

  • It helps students solve higher-level problems at a better speed.

  • It creates a better conceptual understanding and improves efficiency and accuracy.

  • It stimulates the brain and makes it sharper. It makes a student responsible for imagination, visualization, and creativity.

  • Students are able to build a relationship between different things in different cases because it improves their observation skills.

  • It boosts the self-confidence and self-esteem of a student.

  • This is like an exercise for the brain which keeps the brain healthy.

  • It has myriad practical applications.

Looking at the above-mentioned reasons, it becomes clear that it is very important to develop these mental math tricks. These skills are not inborn. There are various methods and techniques to improve the skills which bring us to the next question.


How to Improve Mental Maths?

Some of the ways of improving the mental maths abilities for kids are as follows:-

  • Regular practice 

We all do start slow but it is very important to challenge ourselves to perform calculations in a faster way without the use of paperwork or calculators. This can be done only if we practice these calculations regularly in our brains, using our mental abilities.


  • Avoid using calculating devices 

Even if you are taking time to calculate something, it is advisable to use a pen and paper. This helps in developing the mental abilities of a student. Slowly and steadily, you will notice that your brain starts developing these skills and you don't even require a pen and paper.


  • Support 

Students are at their learning age. Therefore it is very important as elders to support them at every stage. They might lose their confidence in their videos. Therefore it is very important to keep them encouraged at every step.


  • Practice tricks and strategies

 Mental calculations involve building techniques regarding specific problems rather than memorizing the answers. There are various tools and games to develop these mental strategies like flashcards, online videos, math puzzles, etc.


  • Apply in real-life 

Maths is a practical subject. It can be made very easy if students develop the habit of comparing the equations and visualizing them with real-life examples.


  • Start on fingers 

Find out different ways to perform mental mathematics. Every student starts with a pen and paper. Then they must shift towards the calculations on the fingers and slowly and steadily they will develop the habit of calculating in their minds.


  • Make things fun 

Learning is of no use if it is not done whole-heartedly. Therefore, it is very important to make it fun. This helps a child to keep going and overcome the failures.


How to do mental maths tricks?

Some of the mental maths tricks are as follows:-

  1. The trick of numbers near to the multiples of 10

Perform the calculations on the multiples of 10s and then add/subtract the requirements. 

For example, 

To add 9 to any number, first add 10, and then subtract 1. Like, 9 + 7 = 10 + 7 - 1 = 16.

76 + 99 can be changed to 75 + 100.

Yet another example could be 107 + 105 = 100 + 100 + 12 = 212


  1. The trick of doubles plus one

Convert different numbers into the same number and then add/subtract the requirement. For example, 5 + 6 is just one more than 5 + 5 +1 = 11, or 9 + 8 is equal to 9 + 9 - 1 or 8 + 8 +1 = 17.


  1. Perform addition by breaking the number as per their place values

For example, suppose we have the following question, 220 + 364 + 44 + 18 = ??

200 + 300 = 500

20 + 60 +40 +10 = 130

4 + 4 +8 = 16

Repeat the process:

500 + 100 = 600

30 + 10 = 40

And at the unit's place we have 6.

Now perform, 600 + 40 + 6 = 646


  1. Subtract by adding

This is a little difficult but a regular practice makes everything easy. For example, if you are asked to find what is 87 − 46, think it as ”46 plus what number is equal to 87?” In other words, think of 46 + ___ = 87. The answer to the subtraction will be the same as the answer to the addition performed i.e. 41.


  1. The nifty trick

To find 5 times of any number, first multiply the number by ten, then take half of that. For example, 5 × 58 can be found by multiplying 10 × 58 = 580 and then taking half of it, i.e. 280. We can use this strategy for making other combinations also but that requires a very strong hold of these basic mental concepts first.


  1. Four and eight times a number 

To find four times a number, double that number twice. For example, what is 4 × 72? First find 72 x 2 = 144. Then double that, 144 x 2 = 288. Similarly, eight times a number just means doubling three times. Continuing our example, if we have to find 8×72 we just have to double 288 once again which will result in 576.


  1. Multiplying in parts 

This is quite a simple strategy. Suppose we have to find 3 × 74 mentally. We can break it into parts like 3 × 70 and 3 × 4 and then add the results. We will get 210 + 12 = 222.


Cuemath comes up with regular such articles that encourage their students to develop different skills with regard to mathematics. Our online platform provides live classes to our students which helps them develop a base for their studies. Through our maths gym app, which is available for both iOS and Android platforms, we try to develop the mental maths skills of kids through various games, quizzes, and puzzles. We also believe in regular mental maths practice and therefore we are attaching some mental maths worksheets that will help to develop the mental maths skills of kids.

These worksheets are generally focused on the practice of mental maths for class 2. It is in class 2 that a child gets exposed to such questions for the first time. Therefore, mental maths for class 2 becomes very important. Our assignments not only contain questions but also as a step-by-step approach for solving the same. Our teachers are forefront in providing every support that a child requires on a timely basis. Our team of dedicated faculty ensures a helping hand at every step of their learning process. We make sure that we help your child attain a bright and prospering career in mathematics by laying a strong foundation for them. We ensure to provide unconditional support to them because we believe that learning should never be stopped.  We guarantee that we will provide your students with the best of all resources and quality education at all levels under all our programs.

Happy Studying!!

Best of luck!!

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