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How to Learn your Times Tables

Arithmetic and maths can be hard work if you don't know your tables. It's like walking through thick treacle - you can hardly lift your feet.

Follow these tips and you will be surprised at how easy it is to learn your tables:
  • Little and often. Set yourself an achievable target such as 15 minutes a day, rather than 2 hours every Saturday morning.
  • Small chunks. Do one table at a time. For example, do the 5 times table. Make sure you know this through before moving on.
  • Use the clock. A random list of 100 tables questions (9 x 2, 3 x 3, 9 x 4 etc) should take around 2 minutes.
  • Practice, practice, practice. You need to know your tables so well that the answers come to you automatically. And you have to know them 'backwards' - for example, when answering the question 'How many times does 6 go into 48?'
  • Measure accuracy and speed. Note how many you are getting right and how long it's taking. You will see that you are improving.
  • Here are a few of the many tools that you might find useful:

    • Tables Tester and Trainer Computer based. FREE. Tracks your progress and tell you whether you "know your tables".

    • Computer based. FREE. Very good for monitoring your progress.
      If you do a "Test" on a "Single" table, you will get 19 questions. Try getting these all correct with a "Time" of 8 or less.
      For a "Mixed" test, you will get 40 questions. Try getting these all correct with a "Time" of 15 or less.

    • Times Table Grid from the BBC Computer based. FREE. Very good for "backwards" questions such as "Q. What makes 30? A: 6x5"

    • How to do Maths so your Children Can Too Book.£9.99. Works through maths topics with a simple step-by-step approach, explaining the new ways of teaching maths that confuse so many parents.

    • CD or MP3 download. £6.99. Times table songs. Each repeats round three times. The music then repeats twice more without the answers. This teaches you to provide the answer yourself.

    • Hoo Ha! Box sets of memory cards. From about £9. Uses four learning styles to aid recall and improve memory. Each box set is grouped in a accordance with the national curriculum guidance on how times tables are taught in primary schools.

    • Know Your Times Tables. Board game. £29.95. Lay out single-digit number cards in the correct places as answers to times tables questions written on strips in front of you.

Students' Comments

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