Last Updated on April 1, 2022 by Editorial Team
Please Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure (link) for more info.
Mental math means doing calculations without the use of pen and paper or counting fingers. It is developed through practice which leads to mastery. Several resources both offline and online, such as activities and games can improve mental maths skills. But, the books have got a place of their own in the education space. In this post, let’s focus on the most effective books that can boost mental math skills.
How mental math can be improved?
As stated earlier, practicing is the main source for getting perfection in mental math. You have to tease your brain in several ways to make it fluent in calculations. Just like in reading you read the sight words without realizing that you have scanned a word, fluency in mental maths means popping up of answer in mind the moment you see two numbers and an operation. Here are a few ways you can develop this level of fluency in calculations:
- Solve a lot of math puzzles: Puzzles, math reasoning questions and riddles on maths provide a good pretext for ample practice in calculations. Kids love the idea of arriving upon an entirely unimaginable solution by using a usual method; this curiosity drives them to practice more with passion.
- Play quizzes: Quizzes on numbers and numeric calculations involve some or the other topic of basic math. Finding smallest ratios, or guessing the next number in the series are some of the quizzes that drive kids to do calculations mentally.
- Look for numbers and numeric relationships around you: Haven’t the numbers at the back of the cars caught your attention and drove you to calculate the sum of digits? It is nothing but your brain doing math calculations mentally. You can do several other operations like subtraction or division, or find whether the numbers are odd or even by applying mental math.
- Practice math questions in a time-pressed manner: Challenge each other to solve math questions the fastest when practicing math calculations in groups. It prepares mind to think faster and be fluent in calculations.
All these activities become much easier to do when you have a readymade collection of such math problems in your hand. To save your time searching for calculations’ shortcuts, questions, and puzzles to boost mental math, we have curated here a few of the most talked-about books.
Books to boost mental math abilities
1. Secrets of Mental Math
How to make mental math pure fun? The question finds the right answer in this incredible resource for improving mental maths. The fluency in mathematical calculations is nothing but calculating in a lightning-fast manner. This book introduces you to several number tricks to apply in mental calculations. It has an impressive collection of calculations that usually people think almost impossible to do.
The book is written by the famous mathematician Arthur Benjamin who shares his techniques of doing calculations real fast. You can improve on calculations based on fractions, roots, cubes, squares, etc. which usually leaves students anxious. Melt away all math worries by learning techniques from this book; it replaces stress with the fun of learning!
2. The Magic of Math: Solving for x and Figuring Out Why
Befriending kids with math calculations becomes easier when they are taught this activity in a way that intrigues them. Magic tricks have always been a thing of fascination for kids. Mathematician Arthur Benjamin uses various delightful examples to explain calculations of arithmetic, geometry, Algebra. The book helps fill the gap caused by the lack of tricks and calculation methods, which are missing in the curriculum’s books. You can be from any age or phase of life; it helps you pick the lessons on mathematics from the point you left the schooling.
The book contains enticing magic tricks revolving around things of common use like ice-cream scoops of poker hands. Thus, students appreciate the fact that math is quite relevant to our daily life and is a constant phenomenon happening around us.
3. Multiplication and Division Math Workbook
We need a lot of practice to attain perfection and for that ample material for practicing should be within reach. Multiplication and Division Mathbook is one of the enriched learning resources to wield for doing everyday practice. Beginners of multiplication and division methods can be more accustomed to these calculations based on cooking. The expertise in these calculations is required for doing more complex math problems like ratios, percentages, profit & loss, etc.
The book is ideal for 3rd, 4th, and 5th standard students who need to learn step-by-step procedures for multiplying or dividing a group of people, things, etc. When you want to adopt a no-nonsense approach to cultivate math skills, this book serves with the right solution. Practice questions as many times as desired and see the fluency building eventually.
4. Math Made Easy
Now is the time to ditch the calculator and become a mental math nerd. If you ask ‘how’, the solution is available in this book. An amazing work by Reed Lerner, the book is a storehouse of several practical tricks. Using tricks can speed up your calculations and yield results instantly. With regular practice, you will see the anxiety around solving complex problems melting away. This book is the ultimate teacher that offers a novel approach to solving classic math problems.
Creating easier equations in mind saves a lot of time doing calculations. This book focuses on improving equation-building capacity. Whether you are just a starter or a math champ, you can benefit from this book in myriad ways and attain mastery in doing math calculations mentally.
5. Be a Human Calculator: Mere Observation – No Magic
It is certainly not possible to mug up all tricks in the world; after all, our memorizing capacity is limited. This book shifts the readers’ focus from memorizing strategies to building their own strategies. It digs deeper into how strategies are formulated so that the readers can have a trick in their hands to try. The book adopts a practical approach towards learning calculations and fits the readers searching for a lot of practice material.
By practicing with perseverance, you are quite likely to observe a decent increase in the fluency of mental calculations. The book helps achieve fluency by encouraging students to learn the concept behind the trick and work around it as per the need and circumstances.
6. Vedic Mathematics Made Easy
Vedic Maths Made Easy is one of the top-selling books that familiarizes readers with various techniques of speeding up calculations. The book teaches magical tricks to guess the birth date of a person or the money in his pocket, introducing kids to the magical side of doing mental math. It serves the needs of the candidates preparing for various competitive exams, which require them to do math-reasoning based questions.
Knowing concepts of mathematics is one thing, but their applying is an entirely different feat to conquer. This book for mental math teaches how to apply concepts and arrive at the answers speedy fast. The major outcome will be an increase in confidence while dealing with complex math problems like cube root of bigger numbers and similar ones.
7. The Trachtenberg Speed System of Basic Mathematics
This incredible book by Trachtenberg is known to have transformed the students lagging in math into calculation nerds. The book comprises several tricks and techniques useful for speedier calculations. All techniques give ample workout to the brain and prepare it to process numbers real fast. There is an enhancement in confidence levels achieved from doing mathematical calculations accurately.
The book boosts the feeling of satisfaction and enthusiasm among children as the ease of doing longer calculations helps them perform better. Secondly, since all math is being done mentally, the little learners experience a considerable enhancement in their memory and concentration levels as well.
8. A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science
What if there were multiple methods to solve a mathematical problem? The truth is actually there are! It just takes an analytical and creative brain to think of more than one way; the faster the better! How to Excel At Math and Science is written by Barbara Oakley who herself suffered due to poor math skills. When she could not find any way out to learn and achieve her goals without math, she returned to school and retook the challenge of mastering math. And yes, she succeeded and the ways she learned are shared in this book so that others can enlighten themselves too!
Therefore, if you are looking for some tried-and-tested techniques to master math problems, it is the resource for you! The beauty of this book is that it inspires us to be analytical and open-minded in all fields of studies. It teaches how to relax the brain and let it be more creative in thinking for solutions when it gets stuck on a particular problem.
9. Mental Math: Tricks To Become A Human Calculator
Shifting from the pen and paper method to doing mental calculations saves a lot of time. This quality helps immensely in solving questions of competitive exams like GMAT, SAT, GRE, etc. Students usually feel lost while performing arithmetic operations on three-digit and four-digit numbers. The tricks to perform these operations super fast can help improve scores in exams and boost mental power too. You can have a plethora of doable calculations to practice as the book does provide lots of different questions based on subtraction, multiplication, division, etc.
In addition to solving all questions, you may also learn the trick to check the answers’ correctness. Many tricks used in this book offer added bonus of mental calmness and better concentration. Summing up, the book is a valuable resource you’d wish you had in your school days.
10.Speed Math for Kids: The Fast, Fun Way To Do Basic Calculations
Learning is possible at any age; all you need is a zeal for the activity! This book offers a rewarding experience to learners belonging to all fields and age groups. Numbers could be entertaining too, you will get this feel by exploring this book enriched with a multitude of styles of questions and math problems. How to multiplication tables within minutes, or master basic number facts and arrive at the solutions the fastest are some of the answers this book provides.
While appearing in exams, you have to be speedy in calculations and confident about the correctness of outcomes. The book helps you achieve both objectives in an interesting manner. You are most likely to move from one problem to another and fall in love with numbers instead of being wary of them. Get the ample dose of mental maths with this book and see yourself becoming more confident than ever in solving arithmetic-based questions.
Math has been a source of worry for a sizeable population across the world. About 6% of students are found to be dyscalculic or having its milder forms. Having the right resources like mental math books is one of the doable solutions one can try to change the situation. The books mentioned above are designed to melt away mental worries with tried-and-tested techniques. So, give these books a try and create a firm learning base; you are quite likely to tackle all math worries head-on with mastery gained.