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How to Learn Times Tables

Updated on February 3, 2017

Times Tables Are Easier Than You Think

Many people of all ages struggle with learning their times tables. If they have to learn up to the ten times table, they picture the 100 facts they have to learn and are overwhelmed by the task. Many people learn up to the five times table and then are intimidated by the larger numbers.

This fear is not necessary. If you have learned up to your 5 times table, you can learn all the way up to the ten times table in no time at all. In fact there are just 6 key facts to learn:

  • 6 x 6 = 36
  • 7 x 6 = 42
  • 8 x 6 = 48
  • 7 x 7 = 49
  • 8 x 7 = 56
  • 8 x 8 = 64

This doesn't seem to make sense, but when you want to learn multiplication facts you have to divide and conquer!

More Good News: If you check the bottom of this article, you'll see I've found some tricks, rhymes and a video that will help you to remember these 6 key facts.

How to Learn Your Times Tables Fast

Times Tables: Divide and Conquer

Multiplication is a commutative operation. This means that you can reverse the order of the numbers and the answer will be the same. So for example:

  • 8 x 6 = 48 and
  • 6 x 8 = 48

So when you are learning your times tables you get two for the price of one. When you are learning your times tables up to the five times tables, this helps you learn the one to 5 times tables more quickly. In addition, once you have learned up to the five times table, you will know half of the six, seven, eight, nine and ten times tables.

Knowing Times Tables up to 5 Gives You Half 6-10 Times Tables

First Learn Your Times Tables Up To 5 Times Table
First Learn Your Times Tables Up To 5 Times Table | Source

Everyone Knows Their 10 Times Table and a Trick to Learn Their Nine Times Table

Continuing the theme of divide and conquer, we can conquer the nine and ten times tables. I guess that everyone knows their tens times table and most people know a trick to learn their nine times table.

If you don't know a nine times table trick, there are a number to choose from. Some involve very easy mental arithmetic, others get you to use your fingers. It's best to choose the trick that works for you. Just google "nine times trick" and pick your favorite. if you take the time to go through one or two examples and make the choice, it will stick.

9 and Ten Times Tables Conquered Just Leaves 9 Facts!

Learn a trick to conquer the nine times table
Learn a trick to conquer the nine times table | Source

But Really It's Only 6 to Learn

If you remember that multiplication is commutative. If you know 7 x 6 = 42 you know 6 x 7 = 42 and if you know 8 x 6 = 48 you know 6 x 8 = 48 and if you know 8 x 7 = 56 you know 7 x 8 = 56 and you will be able to reduce the number of facts left to learn down to the final six mentioned at the beginning. You might even find that you have already learned some of these final six just by reading this article.

  • 6 x 6 = 36
  • 7 x 6 = 42
  • 8 x 6 = 48
  • 7 x 7 = 49
  • 8 x 7 = 56
  • 8 x 8 = 64

If you read this article 2 or 3 times you will be surprised how much you will retain. Here is the final grid truly divided and conquered!

I developed this method when I was writing up my maths GCSE blog and my children found that it helped them. What do you think? Do you know any other tricks that I should in include in my maths blog?

The Final Grid Only Six To Learn

Only 6 Key Multiplication Facts to Learn
Only 6 Key Multiplication Facts to Learn | Source

Extra Tricks for the Final 6 Facts

Even though we've narrowed the challenge down to just 6 facts, I thought I'd share some neat tricks or rhymes to help:-

8 x 8 = 64

Thanks to Kay (see comments below) for a simple way to remember 8 x 8. Kay writes:-

8 x 8. I ate and I ate until I was sick on the floor. 64

As I replied to Kay, once spoken, never forgotten.

7 x 8 = 56

I also came across a little trick for 7 x 8 (or 8 x7) , just reverse it so instead of 7 x 8 = 56, think about:-

56 = 7 x 8 - Do you see? That's just 5,6,7 and 8

There's also a comment below to help with the 6 times table. It's best explained by walking through each fact:

6 x 6 = 36

The trick is to first subtract 5 from the number you are multiplying:-

6 - 5 = 1

Then multiply this number by 6:-

1 x 6 = 6

Then just add 30:-

6 + 30 = 36 and there's your answer 6 x 6 = 36

This method can be used for any part of the 6 times table from 6 x 6 upwards.

Let's do it for 7 x 6 and 8 x 6:-

7 x 6

7 - 5 = 2

2 x 6 = 12

12 + 30 = 42

8 x 6

8 - 5 = 3

3 x 6 =18

18 + 30 = 48

So now for the last six facts we have tricks or sayings for:

  • 6 x 6 = 36
  • 7 x 6 = 42
  • 8 x 6 = 48
  • 7 x 8 = 56
  • 8 x 8 = 64

That just leaves 7 x 7 = 49

But good news! I came across this ingenious little video on YouTube (see video below) that shows how you can use your fingers to do any multiplication from 6 x 6 = 36 right through to 10 x 10 =100. It's a fun video and I think most children would actually enjoy using their fingers in this way.

Even better, the first multiplication fact that is demonstrated on the video is 7 x 7 = 49!

I'm really pleased to have found these little tricks (and thanks to everybody that pointed me in the right direction). Some people may say: "Why all this messing around? Just learn your times tables!" I think just the act of working through these tricks (perhaps they should be called techniques) and sayings implants the facts in your memory. The funnier or more absurd the trick the more likely you are to remember.

"Finger" Trick for Times Tables From 6 X 6 Right Through to 10 X 10

At What Age Did You Learn Tour Times Tables (up to the ten times table) ?

See results

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    • profile image

      Amihai Shapira 2 months ago

      My daughter had a hard time learning the times table.

      So I wrote an android application to assist her :)

      Each exercise kids solve helps them to feed the cute panda.

      You can get daily reminders to feed the panda (solve exercises) and kids get rewarded with trophies upon goals completion.

      Using this application my daughter learned the whole times table without noticing :-)

      * Currently the application is only for Android phones *

      https://goo.gl/9QutZx

    • profile image

      Tzuyu 4 months ago

      Have you heard of www.beanbeanbean.com? It's a time tables quiz website that donates beans to charity for each question you answer correctly. My students have an absolute blast playing it!

    • profile image

      Lianne 12 months ago

      Thanks for the helpful tricks. The video is very insightful. I think it would be useful to organize some of this information into a visual memory aid to help student struggling with multiplication.

    • profile image

      Sarah 12 months ago

      My 3rd grader is dyslexic and struggles with rote memorization. I'm excited to have found this information. He begins learning multiplication in a few weeks. This will give us a great start!!

    • profile image

      rizwanyounis516 23 months ago

      I didn't undersatand this one , can any one help me to understand?

    • profile image

      rose 3 years ago

      you do your thing, I'll do mine. 7 x 7 is 49 Learned that in 3rd grade. One of the few I never struggled with

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 4 years ago from Isle of Man

      A useful hub but at the end of the day there is no substitute for rote learning of tables. It is a self discipline every child would benefit from. All the tricks in the world cannot substitute for just applying the mind to learning what we need to know. Without knowing your tables you are committing self sabotage to your study of Maths. Thank you.

    • mathsmaster profile image

      Hassan Shahbaz 4 years ago from Islamabad, Pakistan

      Helpful (y) :)

    • profile image

      ronniece booker 4 years ago

      The video wis good

    • profile image

      mathteacher 4 years ago

      Thank you for making the blog and video.

    • profile image

      Maggie 4 years ago

      Lily age 10: multiplying by 11 is the easiest one of all because any number less than 9 multiplied by 11 is just repeated digits (see below).

      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

      after that it's not as simple you'll have to come up with another trick to remember these.

      10 x 11 = 110

      11 x 11 = 121

      12 x 11 = 132

      I don't have any tips for multiplying by 12 I just learned it by thinking about time and the hours in a day (half a day is 12, full day is 24, 36, 48, 60, etc...) Good Luck!

      Also, just to really drive the point home, it drove me crazy every time the word sum was used because it is confusing and irresponsible to use the wrong terminology in a video that is meant to be used as an aid in mathematics.

    • profile image

      Lily age 10 4 years ago

      I have to learn up to 12 :(

    • profile image

      Grandytoon 4 years ago

      If you know your sixes to 5 groups of 6 = 30, then all you need to do is add 30 to the ones you know to get the higher sixes, same with all even numbers.

      I used to teach third grade and the only fact my students needed to memorize was 7 x 7, if they knew their nines (which I taught after the fives) and their even numbers up to their fives, then all they had to do is add to the tens column.

      2 x 6 = 12; 7 x 6 = 42 (12 + 30 = 42)

      3 x 6 = 18; 8 x 8 = 48 (18 + 30 = 48)

      4 x 6 = 24; 9 x 6 = 54 (24 + 30 = 54)

      If you look at the ones column, you will see the same digits. This works for all even facts, not just the sixes.

    • SuffolkJason profile image
      Author

      SuffolkJason 5 years ago from Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom

      Hi Brenda- the video is designed not to have sound. I decided that silence would be better than my voice or some boring background music.

      Some people have said that they like to watch the video while listening to one of their favorite tracks. At just over 2 minutes the video is a perfect length to do this.

      I've had a few complaints about the video being too slow and a few that it's too fast! What to do!

      On balance I think most of the video is ok to watch at a fairly fast pace, there might be one or two parts that your child would like to read more slowly. May I suggest two solutions:-

      1) Watch the video a few times. You will be surprised at how much your child retains.

      2) Pause the video on any part that your child would like to study carefully.

      I hope this helps, and thanks for reading and watching!

    • profile image

      Brenda Vincent 5 years ago

      There is no sound on this video. It goes to quickly to read, and my child loses interest. Yes, our volume is up and the video is not muted. Please help.

    • SuffolkJason profile image
      Author

      SuffolkJason 5 years ago from Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom

      Kay - LOL - I love it! Once read never forgotten.

    • profile image

      Kay 5 years ago

      8x8. I ate and I ate til I was sick on the floor. 64.

    • profile image

      bell 5 years ago

      thank you it has got my students all trained with their times table

    • SuffolkJason profile image
      Author

      SuffolkJason 5 years ago from Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom

      BettySue- I think "sums" works better in this context. According to the online free dictionary there are 2 definitions for "sum" used in mathematics. I used "sum" or "sums" as per the second definition "an arithmetic problem"- see the definitions below:-

      1. Mathematics

      a. An amount obtained as a result of adding numbers.

      b. An arithmetic problem: a child good at sums.

      Take my opening two sentences:-

      "Many people of all ages struggle with learning their times tables. If they have to learn up to the ten times table, they picture the 100 sums they have to learn and are overwhelmed by the task."

      I believe, in this context, "100 sums" works better than "100 products"

    • SuffolkJason profile image
      Author

      SuffolkJason 5 years ago from Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom

      Thanks Anneleen that 9 times table trick is very similar to the one I show in the video embedded in this article. Check it out!

    • profile image

      anneleen 5 years ago

      i think it's helpful!

      one other tip, I never knew as a kid... the table of 9: the numbers always make 9 9=9 /// 18=1+8=9 /// 27=2+7=9 ...

    • SuffolkJason profile image
      Author

      SuffolkJason 5 years ago from Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom

      Thanks peeples! I'm sure it helps to break them down in this way.

    • peeples profile image

      Peeples 5 years ago from South Carolina

      I'm teaching my 8 year old the times table. This is very helpful.

    • SuffolkJason profile image
      Author

      SuffolkJason 5 years ago from Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom

      What don't you understand? Please let me know and I will try to help. The basic message of this hub and the video, is that when you look at all the sums you have to learn it seems scary but if you break it down (by using a couple of tricks and by realising that for every sum you learn you get one free- i.e 8 x 6 is the same as 6 x 8) then its not half as bad as you think. In other words the way to learn multiplication is to divide and conquer!

    • profile image

      Siam nei 5 years ago

      Thankyou but I don't really understand

    • SuffolkJason profile image
      Author

      SuffolkJason 5 years ago from Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom

      I'm pleased you found it helpful and thank-you for your comment.

    • profile image

      lillyaudreywatt 5 years ago

      thank you i know now how

      to do a lot of my time tables

    • profile image

      lillyaudreywatt 5 years ago

      hellow and thanks

    • SuffolkJason profile image
      Author

      SuffolkJason 6 years ago from Ipswich, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom

      Thanks lydocia, I'm so pleased you found it useful. It's great to get such positive feedback.

    • lydocia profile image

      lydocia 6 years ago from Belgium

      This is actually a very interesting hub page! :)

      I am a 22 year old student, studying to become a secondary school teacher. By the time children end up in my class, they are supposed to already know their tables. Personally, I do not have any problems with mine either.

      However, with a ten year old brother and the prospect of eventually becoming a mother, this grid theory will be very effective in helping those children with their tables. My brother surely has his share of problems. He can calculate it, but has to think about things for quite a long time.

      I will translate this and practice it with him! Thank you for this interesting article!