Some strategies to help people improve their mental math abilities include practicing addition at grocery stores, multiplication at the gas pump, division determining the price per unit, and percentages determining taxes on bills. Mental math is an important skill to have because it saves time, enables people to make estimations and helps them determine if their pen and paper calculations are correct. Mental math abilities are also helpful when taking standardized tests.
People can practice their mental addition by trying to calculate a running total of the prices for the items they are buying at the grocery store. The prices do not need to be exact but can be rounded to the nearest whole number. Multiplication abilities can be improved while pumping gas by multiplying the number of gallons that the car holds by the price per gallon.
Shoppers can practice division at stores when they are purchasing an item that comes in several sizes, which helps them find the best deal. Dividing the size of the item by its cost accomplishes this. Percentages can be practiced by calculating in one's head how much a bill will be after taxes are added. People can also practice percentages by calculating how much to tip wait staff after a meal at a restaurant.