One of the most important (and challenging) basic mathematic skills is the knowledge and use of the multiplication table. At first, it seems like learning multiplication facts might be useless or unnecessary once we leave elementary school, but think about all the things you do in a day that require multiplication, such as measurement, shopping, budgeting, and cooking. These basic daily tasks require us to have automatic recall of multiplication facts, which is why we should learn these facts (preferably at an early age). You can learn your multiplication facts in less than 15 minutes by following the steps below!
The first step in learning the multiplication table is to practice each fact individually. Practicing your multiplication facts is the only way to get enough exposure to the information for it to become automatic. Remember the phrase, "Practice makes perfect"? It applies here, as it does with any multi-step skill that you would like to learn. Most students learn best by writing facts on a sheet of paper, beginning with the 1's (or math facts involving the digit 1), and ending with your 10's (or facts involving the digit 10) multiplication facts. The whole process of writing your multiplication facts should take about 7-8 minutes. If you would like to cut time off of your practice session, eliminate certain facts such as 1's, 2's, 5's and 10's. These are the most commonly known facts and require less practice than other facts.
The second step in learning your multiplication tables is timing yourself. By timing yourself, you are creating an automatic recall of your multiplication table to grow stronger. Without automatic recall, your knowledge of the multiplication table will be useless, because too much time is required to use the facts. Start by timing yourself for all facts. Give yourself 1-2 minutes to get through each set (1's-3's, 4's-6's, 7's-10's). The final test of one minute should be on the facts that you miss or are unable to complete in the other timed tests. The key is to try not to spend too much time on any one multiplication fact. If it one fact becomes a problem and you cannot remember it, you need to go back and write the fact 5 times. This helps anchor that information in your mind and the repetitive nature of the activity gives you extra time to look at the fact and memorize it.
When you've completed your multiplication table practice and timed recall activities, you will have learned a very important skill that you will most likely use often. After following these simple steps, you will find that your knowledge of multiplication facts is stronger, more automatic, and extremely useful in your everyday life.