Memorizing Multiplication Tables

by thememorypage

2.4 • Multiplcation Table

Memorizing the multiplcation table is a special case. The other memory techniques on this web site give ways to memorizing things using pictures or other neat tricks. For example, you could, potentially, memorize multiplication using peg words. For 9 x 8 = 72, you could use the peg word bee for 9, ivy for 8, and can for 72, then think of a little story: a bee lands on the ivy, but the ivy must be poisonous because within moments it falls dead into a tin can placed at the bottom of the ivy (along with other insects).

Now, is this story easy to remember? Yes! Can you think of 72 if you think of the bee and the ivy, assuming you previously memorized the fact that can is 72? Yes! There’s just one problem here. It’s not fast enough. If we’re trying to recall the capital of Pakistan, and we use pictures in our mind, that’s no problem, especially since we recall the capital of Pakistan very infrequently. But if you were trying to multiply some numbers on a math test, it would take forever!

So in this special case we forget peg words or other pictures and just memorize by brute force… by saying “6 x 9 = 54” over and over again to yourself. This is not easy! It will take a lot longer than the other methods given in these web pages. But in this case we have no choice. Fortunately, only a few things have to be memorized this way… and, once you have it memorized, you have it for life!

The bottom line: Consider each memory problem on a case-by-case basis, and decide what the best method is. Consider things like: How often does this information need to be recalled? How quickly must it be recalled? How much time to I have to memorize it? Is it vital that I memorize the information perfectly, or is it okay if I miss an item or two? I can’t give you a magic table that will lay out what method should be used for what situation… it would vary depending on the person, anyway! But if you learn a bunch of different techniques on this web site, and if you practice a lot, then you’ll get better and better!


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