How to Learn Your Times Tables - Top Tips and Tricks

I wrote this blog post a few years ago when I was the Senior Metalwork Technician at Wimbledon College of Art. I realised that even mature students have difficulty with Times Tables so spent some time talking to some of them about why this was and what might help. I'm not a math teacher, I just like getting inside a problem and trying to look at it in a different way.

How to Learn Your Times Tables - Top Tips and Tricks

There are lots of words and lots of numbers in the following document. Take your time, don’t rush and don’t proceed if you don’t understand.

The first mistake I have noticed is that many of us learn our times tables in ascending order assuming that they get harder as the numbers get bigger. They don't, and the list below shows the order that I recommend learning them:

10 - 5 - 11 - 2 - 4 - 9 - 6 - 3 - 12 - 8 - 7


The 10 Times Table

1 X 10 = 10

2 X 10 = 20

3 X 10 = 30

4 X 10 = 40

5 X 10 = 50

6 X 10 = 60

7 X 10 = 70

8 X 10 = 80

9 X 10 = 90

10 X 10 =100

11 X 10 =110

12 X 10 =120

 

This is the absolute easiest Times Table there is and requires no understanding of how Times Tables work at all.

To multiply any number by 10 put a zero on then end of it....That’s it.

 

If someone asks, “What is 9 X 10”? In you mind picture the number 9 then picture a zero on the end of it: 9 and 0 the answer is 90.

This works with any number:      16 X 10 = 160                      92 X 10 = 920                      357 X 10 = 3570


Now let’s get on with the 5 times table

1 X 5 = 5’

2 X 5 = 10

3 X 5 = 15

4 X 5 = 20

5 X 5 = 25

6 X 5 = 30

7 X 5 = 35

8 X 5 = 40

9 X 5 = 45

10 X 5 =50

11 X 5 =55

12 X 5 =60 

 

 

Counting up in 5’s is fairly straight forward, as every answer gets bigger by 5

This is fine if we want to count out a number of 5p coins, but what if some asks “What is 8 X 5”?

Luckily we already now our 10 times table and to find the answer we simply multiply by 10 and halve the result (this is because 5 is half of 10)

Let’s see it work:

8 X 10 = 80

Half of 80 = 40

Therefore 8 X 5 =40

The odd numbers are a little more difficult but not by much. If the question were, “What is 9 X 5”?

9 X 10 = 90

Half of 90 = 45

So 9 X 5 = 45

Once you understand this move on 

 

TOP TIP

Did you know that multiplying gives the same answer forwards as backwards? 1 X 2 is the same answer as 2 X 1. It’s the same when multiplying any numbers 11 X 6 is the same as 6 X 11. Try to remember this it will be useful later on.


And now another easy one, the 11 times table

1 X 11 = 11

2 X 11 = 22

3 X 11 = 33

4 X 11 = 44

5 X 11 = 55

6 X 11 = 66

7 X 11 = 77

8 X 11 = 88

9 X 11 = 99

10 X 11 =110

11 X 11 = 121

12 X 11 = 132

 

Up to 9 the 11 times table is really easy because the answer is in the question, you just have to look at the Times Table to see the pattern. “What is 8 X 11”?

Simple 88, I thought of the number  8 and placed another 8 next to it in my head.

 

Let's do the last three:

10 x 11= 110

We know that  10 X 11 is the same as 11 X 10

We also know that when we multiply by ten we just put a zero on the end

So when we multiply 11 X 10 we get 110 which is the same answer for 10 X 11

 

11 X 11 = 121

Split this questions into two seperate questions and add the answers back together

10 X 11 = 110

and

1 X 11 = 11 then add the two together  110 + 11 = 121

 

12 X 11 = 132

Again, split this sum into two 10 X 11 = 110 and 2 X 11 = 22 then add the two together = 132

 

Splitting numbers like this is called partitioning, it's a great way to do mental math which I say a bit more about later in the blog post. It sounds complicated and that’s because I’m trying to translate maths language into English. It’s best to have a practice on paper first and then see if you can do it in your head.


The 2 times table

For the twos you will need to learn a bit about how times tables work:

1 X 2 = 2

2 X 2 = 4

3 X 2 = 6

4 X 2 = 8

5 X 2 = 10

6 X 2 = 12

7 X 2 = 14

8 X 2 = 16

9 X 2 = 18

10 X 2 = 20

11 X 2 = 22

12 X 2 = 24

 

For the twos you will need to learn a bit about how times tables work:

You will have probably had this one drummed into you at school and be able to count in two’s already. If not, here’s how it works.

Whenever we multiply a number, the answer gets bigger by the whatever the multiplyer is.

In the 2 times table the multiplying number is 2 so each answer gets bigger by 2 starting with 2.

On a number line it looks like this in bold below:

 

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   and so on …

 

Can you see that each number gets bigger by 2? 

 

If not you will need to understand this basic idea before you do any more times tables. Have a look at some other online tutorials and then come back once you have understood this.

 

TOP TIP

Did you know that multiplying by two is also known as doubling? It sounds pretty obvious, but when we multiply by two we are adding that number to itself, like this:

 

2 X 2 is the same as 2 + 2 or two lots of 2.

 

 

 

 

The single brick above has 2 knobbles on the top (1 X 2 = 2)

 

 

 

 

With 2 bricks we have 4 knobbles (2 X 2 = 4) That's how all of the times tables work but with different numbers of knobbles.

 

You should know four of the 2 times tables already shown below

 

1 X 2 = 2  

5 X 2 = 10

10 X 2 = 20

11 X 2 = 22

 

Let’s try to fill in the gaps:

2 X 2 = 4 (this is the same as 2+2)

3 X 2 = 6 (this is the same as 3+3)

4 X 2 = 8 (this is the same as 4+4)


A break for Partitioning

When we get numbers that are too big for our head, we can partition them (or split them) into parts that are smaller and easier to think about.

Below I’ve split 6 into 5 and 1 (because 5 + 1 =6)

To do the sum 6 X 2 in my head I simply think of two lots of 5 and two lots of 1 and stack them above each other like this:

 

 

 

 

 

Now add the two 5’s together and the two 1’s

Then you have 10 and 2

Add these together 10 + 2 = 12 

That’s one way of working out 6 X 2 = 12

Can you see how I haven’t thought about multiplying at all, just some simple adding.

 

This will work with 7, 8 and 9 times 2 (and other multiplication questions too)

7 X 2 = 14 (split 7 into 2 lots of 5 and and 2 lots of 2 add them together)

 

5      2

+      +

5      2

___ __

10  + 4      = 14

___ __

 

8 X 2 = 16 (split 8 into 2 lots of 5 and and 2 lots of 3 add them together)

 

5       3

+       +

5       3

___ __

10  + 6      = 16

___ __

 

9 X 2 = 18 (split 9 into 2 lots of 5 and and 2 lots of 4 add them together)

 

5       4

+       +

5       4

___ __

10  + 8      = 18

___ __

 

12 X 2 = 24 (stack two 12’s on top of each other and add them together)

 

12 X 2 = 24 (stack two 12’s on top of each other and add them together)


4 times table

When I was about 8 I lost nearly a whole nights sleep worrying about my 4 Times Table test the following day. Here it is:

You will already know 5 of the four times tables.

1 X 4 = 4

2 X 4 = 8 (because 2 x 4 is the same as 4 x 2)

5 X 4 = 20 (half of 10 x 4)

10 X 4 = 40 (4 with a zero added to the end 40)

11 X 4 = 44 (4 lots of 1’s stacked on top of each other)

 

To do the rest of 4 times table, simply double the answers of the 2 times table

Here’s how it works

3 X 4 = 12 (imagine the sum was 3 X 2. We know 3 X 2 = 6 and that double 6 is 12)

4 X 4 = 16 (imagine the sum was 4 X 2. We know 4 X 2 = 8 and that double 8 is 16)

 

6 X 4 = 24 (I don’t use the doubling method for this, I work out 5 X 4 and 1 X 4 and add the answers together to get 6 X 4 = 24)

7 X 4 = 28 (Use either the doubling method or work out 5 X 4 and add another 2 lots of 4 to get 7 X 4 = 28)

8 X 4 = 32

There are 3 different methods open to you for this one:

You could double 8 X 2 = 16 but this is tricky mental maths as you will have to spilt the two 16’s into 10, 5 and 1.

Give it a go it may work out for you, but it may look like this in your head:

10 and 5 and 1

10 and 5 and 1

 

 10 and 5 and 2

 10 and 5

 

10 and 10 and 2

10

 

20 and 10 and

20 + 10 + 2 =

32

It’s a lot of work for just one number

I would work back from 10 X 4 = 40

We know that as above 10 x 4 = 40

And we know that we are looking for 8 X 4 so we have gone past the number we are looking for (8) by 2

2 lots of 4 = 8 (because we have gone over by this amount, we need to take it off of the 40)

40 – 8 = 32

9 X 4 = 36

This a great trick that you will learn more about with the 9 times table, but because 9 X 4 is the same as 4 X 9 we’ll pretend it’s a nine times table sum and take a look at it here.

 

Hold your hands out in front of you (back or front doesn’t matter)

Pull down the fourth finger of the left hand (because 4 is what we are looking for)

Count the number of fingers to the left of the held down finger = 3

Count the number of fingers to the right of the held down finger = 6

The answer is 36.

This works with the whole of the 9 times table up to 10. We’ll look at 9’s after 4’s

 

 

12 X 4 = 48

This is done by splitting 12 X 4 into two separate sums: 10 x 4 and 2 X 4. Once we have the answers to these two sums we add the answers together like so:

 

First place the answer to 10 X 4 in your head  =  40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is how we will tackle the 12 times table later so don’t worry if you need more practice.


9 times table

1 X 9 = 9

2 X 9 = 18

3 X 9 = 27

4 X 9 = 36

5 X 9 = 45

6 X 9 = 54

7 X 9 = 63

8 X 9 = 72

9 X 9 = 81

10 X 9 = 90

11 X 9 = 99

12 X 9 = 108

 

As mentioned above you can use your fingers to work out your 9’s and there are some great online tutorials to explain how to do it:

 

Once you know how to do it, practice with your eyes closed and your hands out. Eventually you will be able to picture your hands in your mind without having to hold them out in front of you.

 

Another great method is to multiply by ten and then takeaway the number you are multiplying by:

 

1 X 9 =   9 (1 X 10 = 10 and then 10 – 1 = 9)

2 X 9 = 18 (2 X 10 = 20 and then 20 – 2 = 18)

3 X 9 = 27 (3 X 10 = 30 and then 30 – 3 = 27)

4 X 9 = 36 (4 X 10 = 40 and then 40 – 4 = 36)

5 X 9 = 45 (5 X 10 = 50 and then 50 – 5= 45)

6 X 9 = 54 (6 X 10 = 60 and then 60 – 6 = 54)

7 X 9 = 63 (7 X 10 = 70 and then 70 – 7 = 63)

8 X 9 = 72 (8 X 10 = 80 and then 80 – 8= 72)

9 X 9 = 81 (9 X 10 = 90 and then 90 – 9 = 81)

10 X 9 = 90 (10 X 10 = 100 and then 100 – 10 = 90)

11 X 9 = 99 (11 X 10 = 110 and then 110 – 11 = 99)

12 X 9 = 108 (12 X 10 = 120 and then 120 – 12 = 108)


6 times table

1 X 6 = 6

2 X 6 = 12

3 X 6 = 18

4 X 6 = 24

5 X 6 = 30

6 X 6 = 36

7 X 6 = 42

8 X 6 = 48

9 X 6 = 54

10 X 6 = 60

11 X 6 = 66

12 X 6 = 72

 

There’s a great trick for the even numbered 6’s up to 8 X 6.

 

I’ll take you through it step by step but it does look harder than it really is. Let’s start with 2 X 6 even though it may be a pretty simple sum.

 

First the sum 2 X 6 = 12

Split the 2 in half and you will have two lots of 1’s (1 and 1) Place one of the 1’s in front on the 2 (12) and throw the other 1 away (picture of a bin with a 1 in it).

 

The next even sum is 4 X 6 = 24

Split the 4 in half and you will have two lots of 2’s (2 and 2)

Place one of the 2’s in front on the 4 (24) and throw the other 2 away (picture of a bin with a 2 in it).

 

Here is the same idea again with the next even sum 6 X 6 = 36 only this time I’ve written it out differently

6 x 6 = ?

3 + 3 X 6 = ?

 

Now for the trick but don’t look for any maths!

 

Get rid of one of the 3’s and put the other one in front of the 6 = 36

 

Again with 8 X 6 = 48

8 x 6 = ?

4 + 4 X 6 = ?

Now for the trick again...

Get rid of one of the 4’s and put the other one in front of the 8 = 48

So when you need the answer to any ‘even’ 6 times table, the answer is in the question one last time and again differently for those struggling.

Click HERE to download or view on an apple mobile device

 

 

We are now left with the odd 6’s

3 X 6 = 18 (2 X 6 = 12 and then add another 6 in your head = 18)

5 X 6 = 30 (10 X 6 = 60 and then ÷2 = 30)

7 X 6 = 42 (add another 6 to 6 X 6)

9 X 6 = 54 (10 x 6 = 60, 60 – 6 = 54 check out the nine times table for how this works)

11 x 6 = 66 (easy peasy take a look at the 11 times table for why this is)

 

The last one is 12 X 6 = 72 (as with all the 12’s, multiply by ten and then add double the multiplyer which in this case the multiplyer is 6 so add double of this which is is 12, more on twelve’s later)


3 times table

1 X 3 = 3

2 X 3 = 6

3 X 3 = 9

4 X 3 = 12

5 X 3 = 15 (10 X 3 and then divide by 2)

6 X 3 = 18

7 X 3 = 21

8 X 3 = 24

9 X 3 = 27

10 X3 = 30 (add a zero to the 3)

11 X 3 = 33 (easy peasy)

12 X 3 = 36 (10 x 3 and then add 6)

 

Apart from those indicated above, you can either multiply by 2 and then add 3 to the answer, or spend a lot more time in learning the 6 times table and half the answers for the 6 times table to get the answers for the 3 times table.


12 times table

1 X 12 = 12

2 X 12 = 24

3 X 12 = 36

4 X 12 = 48

5 X 12 = 60

6 X 12 = 72

7 X 12 = 84

8 X 12 = 96

9 X 12 = 108

10 X 12 = 120

11 X 12 = 132

12 X 12 = 144

 

The simple rule that you can apply to all of the 12’s is to partition the sum into 10's and 2's then add the answers together.

 

1 X 12 = 12 (1 X 10 and then add 2)

2 X 12 = 24 (2 X 10 and then add 4)

3 X 12 = 36 (3 X 10 and then add 6)

4 X 12 = 48 (4 X 10 and then add 8)

5 X 12 = 60 (5 X 10 and then add 10)

6 X 12 = 72 (6 X 10 and then add 12)

7 X 12 = 84 (7 X 10 and then add 14)

8 X 12 = 96 (8 X 10 and then add 16)

9 X 12 = 108 (9 X 10 and then add 18)

10 X 12 = 120 (10 X 10 and then add 20)

11 X 12 = 132 (11 X 10 and then add 22)

12 X 12 = 144(12 X 10 and then add 24)

 

It may be easier to understand like this: 

8 X 12 = ?

8 X 10 = 80

8 X   2 = 16

16 + 80  = 96

8 X 12 = 96

 

It seems long winded but we are dealing with numbers we are confident with 10's and 2's. Eventually the answers come to mind without having to do this mental arithmetic


8 times table

The thing that makes 8’s easier than 7’s is that 8 is an even number.

1 X 8 = 8

2 X 8 = 16

3 X 8 = 24

4 X 8 = 32

5 X 8 = 40

6 X 8 = 48

7 X 8 = 56

8 X 8 = 64

9 X 8 = 72

10 X 8 = 80

11 X 8 = 88

12 X 8 = 96

 

First the easy ones (so quite a few)

1 X 8 = 8 (yes)

2 X 8 = 16 (double eight. Use partitioning if necessary 5 and 3 + 5 and 3))

4 X 8 = 32 (take eight away from 5 X 8 = 40)

5 X 8 = 40 (this is half of 10 X 80 = 80)

6 X 8 = 48 (add 8 to 5 X 8 = 40)

7 X 8 = 56 (what is 7 X 8? 56=78 or 5678)

9 X 8 = 72 (take 8 away from 10 X 8 = 80 or use your fingers)

10 X 8 = 80 (put a zero on the end of 8)

11 X 8 = 88 (easy peasy)

12 X 8 = 96 (add two lots of 8 to 10 X 8)

 

The harder ones

3 X 8 = 24

8 X 8 = 64

 

Do the best you can I’ve no real easy answer for these. They both end in 4 if that helps.

 

Try this for something silly for 8 X 8.

 

 

 

The number the 8 looks like a monkeys face and two monkey were characters in a children’s programme called 64 zoo lane so 88 (or two monkeys) =64 (zoo lane)


The impossible 7 times table

1 X 7= 7 (easy so far)

2 X 7 = 14 (okay, we’ll partition the 7 into two lots of 5 and 2 and add them together)

3 X 7 = 21 (You could try to remember that when looking for 3 X 7 that 2+1 make 3 and 21 is the answer)

4 X 7 = 28 (this one is easy if you can remember 3 X 7 as you just need to add 7 to 21)

5 X 7 = 35 (half of 10 X 7 =70)

6 X 7 = 42 (this is double 3 X 7 = 21)

7 X 7 = 49 (pin this one to you door and do your best to try and remember it)

8 X 7 = 56 (do this one backwards 7 X 8 and remember the 5678 rule)

9 X 7 = 63 (10 X 7 and the take away 7)

10 X 7 = 70 (add the zero onto the end of the 7)

11 X 7 = 77 (easy peasy, look at the 11 times table)

12 X 7 = 84 (10 X 7 = 7 and the and 14 or two lots of 7)

 

Also, like the 12's the 7 times table can be partitioned into two separate sums, in this case 5's and 2's. For example:

8 X 7 = ?

8 X 5 = 40

8 X 2 = 16

40 + 16 = 56

This will work for all of the 7 times table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anchoring

It’s not a mathematical term, it’s one I use but the idea is fairly common in learning times tables. 

You may know it already. Anchoring is when you use your strongest answer to times table question to find the solution to another by either adding up or subtracting down.

This might be the only method you use so spend some time practicing it in your times tables.  

Lets take a times table question at random and see how anchoring might help.

 

9 X 4 = ?

 

A really strong anchor in any times table is 10 because the 10 times table is so easy

 

Lets use this as an anchor

 

10 X 4 = 40

 

now subtract a 4 from the 40 (that because we have 10 lots of 4 and need to go down to 9 lots of 4) we get:

 

40 - 4 = 36

 

therefore 9 X 4 = 36

 

here are some popular anchors

 

2 X  (from this we can work out 3 X or 4 X)

5 X (from this we can work out 4 X or 6 X)

10 X (from this we can get 9 X)

11 X (can be used as another way to get 12 X)

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Anonymous's picture

thanks you are best one day sir ha test in oral i have no lear a table thanks thanks thanks

Anonymous's picture

Hi, I have found this really helpful and I love that I found it. However I am very confused over the 3 times table as it say's use the 2 times table then add 3 but this does not work at all. For example 8x3=24, 8x2=16+3=19 not 24. Am I missing something?

Anonymous's picture

thank you sooo much

Anonymous's picture

thank you sooooooo much :)

swood's picture

I could try but as I say I'm no Math Teacher.

but if you think about it the 'teens' are just the 10 times table added to one of those that you have just learned. For example:

13 is the 10 times table + the 3 times table

14 is the 10 times table + the 4 times table

15 is the 10 times table + the 5 times table
 
and so on.
 
So really just nail these and your on your way.
 
Good luck
 
Anonymous's picture

Thanks so much! This has helped me prepare for the huge test tomorrow so thanks! And if you could, would you be able to go above 12's? If not then that's fine.

Anonymous's picture

thank you this is really help full. i didn't even know my times table and i'm in year 9

Anonymous's picture

grrreaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous's picture

really bad even though am in year 6

Anonymous's picture

I still don't get it I need to learn my 8, 6 and 4s

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