How to Improve Your Mental Maths Calculation Speed

by Christine Chadwick

For a lucky few, maths and numbers come easily. However, most of us have to work to be good at maths. Though we all carry phones in our pockets equipped with basic calculators, it comes in handy to be able to complete simple maths problems off the cuff. Understanding percentages so you can quickly leave a tip at a restaurant is both convenient and easy. Keeping track of your finances is a necessity. If you let it, maths can help you get through your day.

So brush up on those maths skills! Here are some easy ways to do it:

Go digital

Though parents may want to deny it, playing video games can improve your mental recall and maths skills. Apps are cheap and easy to use, no matter where you are, and there are several out there specifically designed to sharpen users' maths skills. Lumosity Brain Trainer is free and uses simple visual math puzzles to educate. Mencal is more like a quiz in that the app provides you with lessons before testing you on your number skills. If you have a phone or a computer nearby, practicing your maths know-how this way is both convenient and fun.

Test yourself throughout your day

Do simple maths in your head as you go about everyday activities. Try calculating how much money you'll spend on fuel, taking into account how big your petrol tank is and the price per gallon at the pump. If you enjoy baking, work on your fractions by doubling your batch of banana bread ingredients - whether or not you actually make twice the amount is up to you. (Though who wouldn't want twice the banana bread, right?) Try to challenge yourself to get better at maths while doing everyday activities.

Eat your breakfast

Countless studies prove eating breakfast, especially one containing a decent amount of protein, improves cognitive function. Starting off with a healthy morning meal gets your brain going and helps it perform throughout the day. Some quick and tasty morning meal ideas include yogurt and granola or peanut butter with banana on a slice of multigrain toast. Stock your fridge with healthy foods you enjoy, and you're way more likely to reach for them in the wee morning hours.

Turn up the tunes

Listening to music stimulates brain activity, and studies show that it can also aid your reasoning skills. Reasoning and problem solving go hand in hand, so it only makes sense that listening to music can also improve your math. Classical music is most often highlighted for its positive effects on the brain, so try blasting some Mozart next time you attempt long division.

Sharp maths skills can help you file your taxes, calculate a tip, keep score at darts, and calculate your data usage for a mobile phone plan. These are just a few situations where maths comes in handy. You may find as you move through higher education and into the workplace that being able to do basic maths quickly is super useful and maybe even surprisingly easy.

Tags: Maths skills
Categories: Maths