Skip to content

How To Learn Math Fast: A System For Success

Updated: June 19, 2024 | Published: June 8, 2020

Updated: June 19, 2024

Published: June 8, 2020


Many people struggle with math. It tends to be one of the most common subjects that people have trouble with. But with the right training, practice and effort, it can become easier. For those who want to learn how to be good at math, it may require extra practice. Here are a few best practices to learn math fast.

Begin With Foundations

Math is a subject that relies on the foundations when introducing sequential topics. For example, you’ll start with the basics like adding, subtracting, dividing, and multiplying. Then, as you build on your knowledge, you can master harder subjects in math like algebra, geometry, and calculus.

If you have no idea how to divide or add, then algebra will certainly be confusing. And you won’t be able to advance to calculus without a solid foundation in trigonometry and algebra. That’s why it is imperative to understand the foundations and build from there.

The Importance Of Number Sense

A lot of people start learning math by memorization. This means that they’ll take a times table (multiplication) and memorize what 9×9 is, for example. While this tactic can work, it could also cause problems in the future. If you’re taking a test and have a sudden burst of anxiety, you may forget whatever you have memorized.

Instead, it’s useful to have a grasp on number sense. Here’s an example of one method that makes this work. If you want to understand what 9×9 is, you may take 10×9 and know that it’s 90. Then, since you’re looking for nine groupings of nine, rather than 10, you’d subtract 9 from 90 to get to 81.

There’s more to number sense than that, but that’s the general idea. You want to really grasp how numbers and mathematical functions work over memorization.

Set Goals

Once you’ve mastered the basics of math, you can set goals as to what you want to focus on. If you’re looking to be good with algebra, then there’s no need to focus on geometry. Once you know what type of math you need to master, you can find the shortest path and spend energy getting good with those topics.

math equations
Photo by Antoine Dautry on Unsplash

Tips And Tricks To Learn Math Fast

Math is diverse, so there’s no one method for how to be good at math. However, there are tried and true best practices to help you improve with each step along your journey.

Let’s take a look at what they include:

1. Practice

As with any subject or discipline, the best way to get better is to practice. You can find practice problems online or in workbooks. Also, if you’re currently in school and enrolled in a math class, be sure to do all your classwork and homework. There’s no doubt that your teacher will serve as a good resource to give you extra practice problems.

2. Understand Mistakes

Math is one of the subjects where your work really matters to get to the solution. It’s also entirely objective, as in there’s only one right answer because it’s based in numbers. As such, you’ll want to really understand your mistakes within your process of solving problems. This way, you can rectify errors and potentially arrive at the right solution.

3. Grasp Concepts

While math is based in numbers, there are broad concepts to help understand different types of math problems. Sometimes, students make the question harder than it actually is. Be sure to read math questions slowly and make sure you grasp the question before starting to work on the solution.

4. Get Help When Needed

It’s okay to ask for help. Even if you think you know the concept and understand the question, you may need extra guidance to lead you in the right direction. Consider getting a math tutor, asking a peer, or seeking help from your professor/teacher.

Number Tricks

Here are a few specific number tricks for foundation math to help you learn math fast.

5. Round When Adding

Adding more than two numbers at a time can become tricky to do mentally. One quick way to add numbers is to round them first. For example, say you want to add 317 and 518. You can round these up for 320 and 520 and more easily see that the sum is 840. Then, you’ll just have to deduct the difference between 320-317 (3) and 520-518 (2), so 3+2=5. The answer would be 840-5=835.

6. Multiply By 5s

There’s a specific trick for multiplying by 5 and it goes like this:

  • For 5* even number, take half the even number and add a 0 to the side. Example: 5*6 — half of 6 =3, add a 0 to make it 30. 5*6=30
  • For 5* odd number, deduct 1 from the odd number and take half of it, then add a 5 to the side. Example: 5*7 — one less than 7 is 6, half of 6 is 3, add a 5 to the side then the answer is 5*7=35

7. Multiplying Numbers That End In 0

When numbers end in 0 and you are multiplying them, simply multiply the digits that are not 0s and then add the total number of 0s back on the end. For example, if you want to multiply 1,000×4,000, then you’d take 4*1=4 and add 6 0s which would make the answer 4,000,000.

Educational Tips And Tricks

When you’re enrolled in school, whether it’s primary, secondary or higher education, you’ll want to practice these educational tips and tricks.

Following these tips will help you in math and any subject you’re trying to master.

8. Don’t Skip Class

Even if you are enrolled in online college and can more easily miss out on attending lectures, it’s not a good idea! This is especially true when it comes to math because missing just one class can cause you to miss the foundational lesson that each sequential lesson will build upon.

9. Repeat Work At Home

With any subject, but especially math, it helps to redo classwork at home. This will aid in better understanding the problems and solutions. Additionally, it’s an extra type of practice.

10. Get Extra Help

Math tends to be a subject that requires extra aid outside of the classroom. This may be in the form of hiring an outside tutor or attending online math classes. While there is always one right answer for math problems, there may sometimes exist multiple ways to reach the right answer. Perhaps the method you learn inside your class isn’t the best method for you. That’s why outside tutors or help may be just what you need to learn math fast.

11. Break The Question Down

If a problem seems hard to approach, try to break it up into its components. For math, this would be: arithmetic, algorithms or geometry. Do as much as you can within a solution and then seek help if needed.

Woman teaching math
Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

The Bottom Line

No matter what subject you’re trying to master, learning takes time and everyone has different methods that work for them. However, when it comes to learning math fast, the primary requirement is to have a strong hold of the basics. Then you can work on building upon each concept with practice, extra help, and useful tips and tricks.

At UoPeople, our blog writers are thinkers, researchers, and experts dedicated to curating articles relevant to our mission: making higher education accessible to everyone.