How to Get Lightning Quick Times Tables

In the QTS Numeracy Test, one of the biggest challenges for many people is answering the mental arithmetic questions under time pressure.

In this section of the test, you will hear twelve questions through headphones. Each question will be read twice and then you will have eighteen seconds to work out your answer.

Often this requires performing a couple of calculations – and it is vital to save seconds wherever you can. One of the best ways to do this is to have instant recall of your times tables.

Here are three strategies to get razor sharp on your times tables:


1. Practice the Hard Bit

It sounds obvious, but some times tables questions are harder than others. Many people can recall the 2,5 and 10 times tables easily. Focus on learning 6×6, 6×7, 6×8, 7×7, 7×8, 8×8, 6×12, 7×12, 8×12 and 12×12. Put just these ten questions on cards and keep turning them over at random and shouting an answer until it is second nature to you.


2. Learn the Hand Trick For Your Nines

There is a super-cool trick for the nine times table that gives you the answer instantly on your fingers. This YouTube video takes you through how it works.


3. Go Higher if You Can

Most people stop learning their times tables once they have learned up to 12. You do get asked quite often to multiply by 13, 14, 15 or 16. If you are confident on times tables up to 12, then try to learn these higher ones too – it will save you a bunch of time.

The bottom line is to practice, practice, practice (and if you want to make a game of it, try this website).