5 Simple Math Tricks for Faster Computations!

Don’t be discouraged if the tricks seem difficult at first. Learn one trick at a time. Read the description, explanation, and examples several times for each technique you’re learning. Then make up some of your own examples and practice the technique.As you learn and practice the tricks make sure you check your results by doing multiplication the way you’re used to, until the tricks start to become second nature. Checking your results is critically important: the last thing you want to do is learn the tricks incorrectly.

1. Multiplying by 9, or 99, or 999

Multiplying by 9 is really multiplying by 10-1.

So, 9×9 is just 9x(10-1) which is 9×10-9 which is 90-9 or 81.

Let’s try a harder example: 46×9 = 46×10-46 = 460-46 = 414.

One more example: 68×9 = 680-68 = 612.

To multiply by 99, you multiply by 100-1.

So, 46×99 = 46x(100-1) = 4600-46 = 4554.

Multiplying by 999 is similar to multiplying by 9 and by 99.

38×999 = 38x(1000-1) = 38000-38 = 37962.

2. Multiplying by 11

To multiply a number by 11 you add pairs of numbers next to each other, except for the numbers on the edges.

Let me illustrate:

To multiply 436 by 11 go from right to left.

First write down the 6 then add 6 to its neighbor on the left, 3, to get 9.

Write down 9 to the left of 6.

Then add 4 to 3 to get 7. Write down 7.

Then, write down the leftmost digit, 4.

So, 436×11 = is 4796.

Let’s do another example: 3254×11.

The answer comes from these sums and edge numbers: (3)(3+2)(2+5)(5+4)(4) = 35794.

One more example, this one involving carrying: 4657×11.

Write down the sums and edge numbers: (4)(4+6)(6+5)(5+7)(7).

Going from right to left we write down 7.

Then we notice that 5+7=12.

So we write down 2 and carry the 1.

6+5 = 11, plus the 1 we carried = 12.

So, we write down the 2 and carry the 1.

4+6 = 10, plus the 1 we carried = 11.

So, we write down the 1 and carry the 1.

To the leftmost digit, 4, we add the 1 we carried.

So, 4657×11 = 51227 .

3. Multiplying by 5, 25, or 125

Multiplying by 5 is just multiplying by 10 and then dividing by 2. Note: To multiply by 10 just add a 0 to the end of the number.

12×5 = (12×10)/2 = 120/2 = 60.

Another example: 64×5 = 640/2 = 320.

And, 4286×5 = 42860/2 = 21430.

To multiply by 25 you multiply by 100 (just add two 0’s to the end of the number) then divide by 4, since 100 = 25×4. Note: to divide by 4 your can just divide by 2 twice, since 2×2 = 4.

64×25 = 6400/4 = 3200/2 = 1600.

58×25 = 5800/4 = 2900/2 = 1450.

To multiply by 125, you multipy by 1000 then divide by 8 since 8×125 = 1000. Notice that 8 = 2x2x2. So, to divide by 1000 add three 0’s to the number and divide by 2 three times.

32×125 = 32000/8 = 16000/4 = 8000/2 = 4000.

48×125 = 48000/8 = 24000/4 = 12000/2 = 6000.

4. Multiplying together two numbers that differ by a small even number

This trick only works if you’ve memorized or can quickly calculate the squares of numbers. If you’re able to memorize some squares and use the tricks described later for some kinds of numbers you’ll be able to quickly multiply together many pairs of numbers that differ by 2, or 4, or 6.

Let’s say you want to calculate 12×14.

When two numbers differ by two their product is always the square of the number in between them minus 1.

12×14 = (13×13)-1 = 168.

16×18 = (17×17)-1 = 288.

99×101 = (100×100)-1 = 10000-1 = 9999

If two numbers differ by 4 then their product is the square of the number in the middle (the average of the two numbers) minus 4.

11×15 = (13×13)-4 = 169-4 = 165.

13×17 = (15×15)-4 = 225-4 = 221.

If the two numbers differ by 6 then their product is the square of their average minus 9.

12×18 = (15×15)-9 = 216.

17×23 = (20×20)-9 = 391.

5. Squaring 2-digit numbers that end in 5

If a number ends in 5 then its square always ends in 25. To get the rest of the product take the left digit and multiply it by one more than itself.

35×35 ends in 25. We get the rest of the product by multiplying 3 by one more than 3. So, 3×4 = 12 and that’s the rest of the product. Thus, 35×35 = 1225.

To calculate 65×65, notice that 6×7 = 42 and write down 4225 as the answer.

85×85: Calculate 8×9 = 72 and write down 7225.

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2 thoughts on “5 Simple Math Tricks for Faster Computations!

  1. I love these tricks and actually use them all the time — but I didn’t know about the last one. I just did 145-squared in my head and got the right answer, thanks to your tip. Thanks!

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