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
So let’s start with 10 times table
The 10 times table is the absolute easiest times table there is and requires no understanding of how the times tables work at all.
To multiply any number by 10 put a zero on then end of it....That’s it.
Take a look at the ten times table below. Can you see that a zero has been added to the number we are multiplying? It has been highlighted in bold.
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
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 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 time we get bigger by 5 (starting at 5) the next number will be a ‘10’
To get the ‘10’ bigger by 5, take the zero off the 10 and replace it with a 5, and so on as shown below:
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
If you understand this move on to the 2’s, if not, read on and I’ll explain how we split the 90 in half.
The closest we can get to splitting 90 in half using 10’s is 50 + 40
The difference between 50 and 40 is 10
If we take the ten off of the 50 we have 40 - 40 and the spare - 10
If we divide this spare 10 in half (so we can share it out to both 40’s) we get two 5’s
Add the 5’s to each of the 40’s and we get 45
So half of 90 = 45
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
Up to 9 the 11 times table is really easy because the answer is in the question. “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 sum into two 10 X 11 = 110 and 1 X 11 = 11 then add the two together = 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
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
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 19 20 21 22 23 24
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.
Eventually, with practice, I promise you will be able to count in twos, but this doesn’t really help if someone asks, “What is 9 X 2”? You would have to quickly count up in two’s.
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 and you get the answer 6 X 2 = 12
Can you see how I haven’t thought about multiplying at all, just some simple adding, but I got the right answer.
This will work with 7, 8 and 9 times 2.
7 X 2 = 14 (split 7 into 5 and 2 and add them together as with the 6 above)
8 X 2 = 16 (split 8 into 5 and)
9 X 2 = 18 (split 9 into 5 and 4)
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. The teacher humiliated me by making me stand in front of the class and fail in front of all my friends. After shouting at me he threw the blackboard rubber at me which missed and hit a kid sitting behind. I hated that teacher and I hate the four times table. 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
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Comments
I think this is realy useful thanks
8 X 8 is easy if your say: I ate (8) and I ate (8), and I was sick on the floor (64) ie. I '8' and I '8' and I was 'sick on the floor' Therefore 8 and 8 is 64
im in year 5 and this was no help AT ALL! Its way to confusing.... well for me
thank you ....sylvia
Loved some of your ideas but please a multiplication calculation is not a sum!! "even sum 6 X 6 = 36" Not sure about the apostrophes separating the numbers and a 's' - 12's, 8's. Maybe I am getting old but surely it matters?!!
Thanks iringerninja
It's good to start getting all of these tips together in one place. I like this one, patterns are such a good memory jogger.
Steve
1x8=8
2x8=16
3x8=24
4x8=32
5x8=40
6x8=48
7x8=56
8x8=64
9x8=72
10x8=80
11x8=88
12x8=96
13x8=104
14x8=112
15x8=120
The red numbers go down in 2s until the blue numbers and then the pattern goes over again. When you are at the blue the following 10s will be the same unit and then the 10s go up in 1.
ACTUALLY THIS REALLY HELPED ME YEA!!"£"££%&)(*&^%$£"
There's no easy route to learning your times tables these are just some hints and trick. What works for one doesn't work for another as my own children will testify. My Son loves to use the partitioning method for everything, he wants to learn one system and apply it. My dusghter likes the visual method as she gets a sore head trying to do the mental math of partitioning.
If you let me know what your struggling with I'll try to get some better visuals together. What have you tried, what's working for you and what do you not like.
All the best
Steve
Have you seen the http://www.khanacademy.org they are great, worth watch the whole video and the all the other videos good too, also worth reading the comments. Good Luck.