Mastering Times Tables
Eleven-Plus Preparation Specialists
There are various strategies that can be employed to master your times tables. In this guide, we’ll consider a general strategy as well as some specifics for each times table.
The Multiplication Grid
You should look up multiplication grids and become familiar with them. Quite quickly, you’ll notice that there are some repetitions. Essentially, the grid is divided diagonally by the square numbers – that’s the numbers 1,4,9,16,25,36,49,64,81, and 100. On either side of this diagonal line, the numbers are the same. If you’re a very visual learner, this can be a very handy way of remembering an entire set of times tables. Remember also that the 10X table is just the 10s in order, whilst the 9 times table has the 10s increasing by 1 each time whilst the units decrease by 1 each time – e.g. 27 is followed by 36, and 54 followed by 63.
The Two X Table
The two times table is very simple – almost as simple as the one times table! To think about whether a number is in the two times table, just consider whether it is even or not. An even number is one that can be divided by two and not leave a remainder. If a number therefore ends in any of 0,2,4,6,8 then it is in the two times table. Remember also that multiplying by two is the same as ‘doubling’ a number and that dividing a number by two is the same as ‘halving’ it.
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The Three X Table
The best trick for the three times table is using the digit sum of a number. Essentially, if you need to know whether a number is in the three times table, you must add up all of its digits. If the sum of the digits is 3,6, or 9, then it’s in the three times table. Let’s look at some examples:
18 is in the three times table as 1+8 = 9
144 is in the three times table as 1+4+4 = 9
12 is in the three times table as 1+2 = 3
17 is NOT in the three times table as 1+7 = 8.
You can do this for much larger numbers too. Think about the number 159. This adds up to 15. You can then break this down further: 1+5 = 6.
The Four X Table
All numbers in the 4X table are even. They end with 0,2,4,6, or 8. To work out a number in the four times table, you can double the number twice. E.g. 8 * 4 is the same as 8 * 2 * 2 = 16 * 2 = 32.
The Five X Table
All multiples of five end in either 0 or 5. If it doesn’t end in a 0 or 5, it’s not in the 5X table! When looking to find out what a specific number is when multiplied by 5, there’s a simple workaround – you can multiply it by ten, and then halve it. As an example, 423 * 5 could be done by 423 * 10 = 4230, then divide by two to give 4115.
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