Mental math strategy is the ability to be able to calculate in your mind, manually without a pen and paper. Now a days all of us carry with us one device or the other for calculating simple sums. There is a calculator in our mobile which we use very easily. But there some exams where you do not have the time to use a calculator and you need to do a mental calculation to select the closest possible accurate answer. In these situations you would require an enhanced ability to calculate the answers mentally.
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Doing the exact calculation mentally saves time and you can use it to do other parts of the questionnaire which require more of your time. It can provide you an estimate so that you can tick mark the correct answer in a multiple choice format question paper.
Here are some tips to improve your mental math ability:
Try to calculate from left to right
When you aim to do mental calculations try and switch the order and calculate from left to right. This can help you to calculate faster and more accurately and you can be intuitive about the result too which can help you figure out the results effectively.
Try and memorize building blocks
It is important that you memorize the basic building blocks of math such as the multiplication tables. This is an important aspect of mental math and it needs to be kept in mind while doing mental math. If you remember your tables you can easily find answers to tough mathematical questions and also save time while you are at it. Hence it is recommended that you memorize the tables well if you have forgotten them.
Make good use approximations
When doing mental math its ok to use approximations while calculating your sums as it can help you in multiple choice questions and in exams where you do not have a lot of time in your hand. It is best to make an informed and well calculated estimate and approximation otherwise it will be no better than a guess and you do not want to make mistakes depending on a guess. Thus approximations can be made good use of while calculation the sums mentally and looking for the right answer especially in time bound situations.
If you encounter a big problem, break them into a small bunch of problems
It always helps to break down a big problem into a bunch of small problems. This can have many advantages. Firstly it helps you simplify the problem and make the task a little less daunting. It can help you relax and solve the problem step by step, one at a time. Breaking it down can give you the correct answer much easily because mentally half the task is done when you have broken down the problem at its core and already started to solve it. This can be considered a very fruitful trick to solve a problem.
Practice on every day chores
The easiest way to hone your skills could be to practice mental calculations on everyday chores such as grocery shopping. Before you move to the billing counter try and do a mental calculation regarding the final amount and tally it with the calculator at the billing counter later. This can be a great practice wherein you can do it on a regular basis as grocery shopping is done pretty often.
Mental math ability is not a special gift that you might see on TV, and it can definitely be trained from daily tasks or by attending Math specialist classes. Depending on what you need it for, there are many places you can go to to become good at mental math.